FRIDAY, JULY 14 | JOHN 19
Do you remember a birthday, a Christmas, or some other time where you were completely blown away by a gift? That feeling of just pure joy that comes from knowing that you get to enjoy something that you’ve always desired. That someone else recognized your desire, and sacrificially gave it to you. In today’s reading, Jesus gives a gift that is beyond anything that could ever be given. As you read, recognize the pain and suffering that Jesus went through in order to provide the gift of life to anyone who chooses to accept it.
Read John 19:1-8
While Pilate is often recognized as the man who crucified Jesus because he was the one providing the sentence, do you notice the fear and pain in Pilate’s words as he sentences Jesus to be crucified? How many times did he say that Jesus was innocent? Initially, Pilate flogged Jesus. This was a beating that was either meant to punish, get a confession of a crime, or to weaken someone before being crucified. Could this have been one way Pilate was trying to help Jesus by beating Him so the crowd would be satisfied? Or was this Pilate punishing and weakening Jesus?
Read John 19:7-16
Why do you think Jesus didn’t work with Pilate to figure out a way to set Him free? Jesus was sent to earth to save everyone from their sin by dying on a cross, unjustly, and then resurrecting and defeating death. For this reason, Jesus had to go through with the humiliation and, ultimately, death on a cross.
Read John 19:17-27
When we think of how Jesus was crucified, we often think of one nail going through the feet, legs extended, and one nail through each of His palms. In 1968, scientists discovered the remains of a man who had been crucified near the time Jesus lived. They discovered the man was crucified with three nails, placed in an uncomfortable seated position, legs to the side, a nail just below the heel, and two more nails through the forearms. While we have no proof that this is how Jesus was crucified, it does show that crucifixion was meant to punish and cause a slow and incredibly painful death.
Also, did you notice what Jesus does even as He is being crucified? He notices His mother, standing next to John, “the disciple whom He loved”. Even in His moment of facing excruciating pain, He chooses to focus on the care of those He loves.
Read John 19:28-37
Jesus takes a drink in order to make one final declaration: It is finished. This is not meant to be a declaration of defeat but rather that of a conqueror. Jesus had taken upon Himself the sin of the world. While Jesus knew His fate all along, it was the spiritual suffering taken upon Himself when He died on the cross that truly pained Him. He took the Father’s wrath for all the world, for you and me, in order for us to be set free from sin. This is the greatest sacrifice that could be done. The death of a perfect man to set sinners free.
Read John 19:38-42
The burial of Jesus was done rather quickly because of the preparations needed for Passover, a day celebrated when the Holy Spirit punished the first-born son of every Egyptian family but sparred or “passed over” every Jewish household with the blood of a lamb on the door. However, where Jesus was buried is important. Jesus was laid in a new tomb. Something that would have cost a great deal in that time. Even in death, Jesus was given honor and respect by those who had faith in Him.
This chapter is the cornerstone of what it means to be a Christ follower. It is because of this death of Jesus that we can have the joy in the resurrection to come. We need to live daily in recognition of the sacrifice that Christ died for us. Nothing we can do can make our lives worthy of this sacrifice. Instead, what are you going to do to recognize that you are indebted to Christ? You can choose to live your life according to what He desires for you. As Jesus previously commanded us to love one another, He did not say that we should expect a return or recognition for our love. Rather, we should love sacrificially as this was His example for us. What are practical ways that you can love sacrificially today? Perhaps try loving sacrificially where no one even knows it was your actions that showed them love.