THE KING OF THE JEWS MEDITATION
PASSION SUNDAY – LENT V 2019
Jhn 19:19 – And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Jhn 19:20 – This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
Jhn 19:21 – Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
Jhn 19:22 – Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.
THE KING OF THE JEWS: Written in Hebrew the language of the country, and Greek–the current language, and Latin–the official language.
These were the chief languages of the earth, and this secured that all spectators should be able to read it. Stung by this, the Jewish ecclesiastics entreat that it may be so altered as to express, not His real dignity, but His false claim to it.
But Pilate thought he had yielded quite enough to them; and having intended expressly to spite and insult them by this title, for having got him to act against his own sense of justice, he putting an end to debate refused them.
And thus, amidst the conflicting passions of men, was proclaimed, in the chief tongues of mankind, from the Cross itself and in circumstances which threw upon it a vivid yet grand light, the truth which drew the Magi to His manger, and will yet be owned by all the world!
Jhn 19:23 – Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
The four who nailed Him to the cross took and parted his garments amongst themselves…and also his coat—which would have been a Roman tunic, or close-fitting vest.
And was without seam, woven from the top throughout–“perhaps denoting considerable skill and labor as necessary to produce such a garment, the work probably of one or more of the women who ministered in such things unto Him, Luk 8:3 ”
Jhn 19:24 – They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.
They did cast lots– (Psa 22:18). That a prediction so specific–distinguishing one piece of dress from others, and announcing that while those should be parted amongst several, that should be given by lot to one person–that such a prediction should not only be fulfilled to the letter, but by a party of heathen military, without interference from either the friends of the enemies of the Crucified One, is surely worthy to be ranked among the wonders of this all-wonderful scene.
Now come the mockeries, and from four different quarters:– “And they that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads” in ridicule (Psa 22:7 109:25; compare Jer 18:16 Lam 2:15).
“Ah!”–“Ha,” an exclamation here of derision. “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself and come down from the cross” (Mat 27:39, 40 Mar 15:29, 30). It is evident that our Lord’s saying, or rather this perversion of it (for He claimed not to destroy, but to rebuild the temple destroyed by them) had greatly exasperated the feeling which the priests and Pharisees had contrived to excite against Him. It is referred to as the principal fact brought out in evidence against Him on the trial (compare Act 6:13, 14), as an offense for which He deserved to suffer. And it is very remarkable that now while it was receiving its real fulfilment, it should be made more public and more impressive by the insulting proclamation of His enemies.
[WEBSTER and WILKINSON]. “Likewise also the chief priests, mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others, Himself He cannot save” (Mat 27:41, 42). There was a deep truth in this, as in other taunts; for both He could not do, having “come to give His life a ransom for many” (Mat 20:28 Mar 10:45).
No doubt this added an unknown sting to the reproach. “If He be the king of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him” (Mat 27:42). No, they would not; for those who resisted the evidence from the resurrection of Lazarus, and from His own resurrection, were beyond the reach of any amount of merely external evidence. “He trusted in God that He would deliver him; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him [or ‘delight in Him,’ compare Psa 18:19 Deu 21:14]; for He said, I am the Son of God” (Mat 27:41-43).
We thank you, O ye chief priests, scribes, and elders, for this triple testimony, unconsciously borne by you, to our Christ: first to His habitual trust in God, as a feature in His character so marked, next, to His identity with the Sufferer of the twenty-second Psalm, whose very words (Psa 22:8) ye unwittingly appropriate, thus serving yourselves heirs to the dark office of the Messiah’s enemies; and again, to the true sense of that impressive title which He took to Himself, “THE SON OF GOD,” which He rightly interpreted at the very first (see Jhn 5:18) as a claim to that oneness of nature with Him, and dearness to Him, which a son has to his father.
“And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming to Him and offering Him vinegar, and saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save Thyself” (Luk 23:36, 37). They insultingly offer to share with Him their own vinegar, or sour wine, the usual drink of Roman soldiers, it being about the time of their midday meal.
In the taunt of the soldiers we have one of those undesigned coincidences which so strikingly verify these historical records. While the ecclesiastics deride Him for calling Himself, “the Christ, the King of Israel, the Chosen, the Son of God,” the soldiers, to whom all such phraseology was mere Jewish jargon, make sport of Him as a pretender to royalty – “KING of the Jews”, an office and dignity which belonged them to comprehend.
“The thieves also, which were crucified with Him, cast the same” ( Mat 27:44 Mar 15:32). Not both of them, however, as some commentators unnaturally think we must understand these words; as if some sudden change came over the penitent one, only did scoffs proceed from the passers-by, the ecclesiastics, the soldiery, but even from His fellow-sufferers.”
Jhn 19:25 – Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene.
Jhn 19:26 – When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
Jhn 19:27 – Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
BEHOLD THY MOTHER!–What forgetfulness of self, what filial love, and to the “mother” and “son” what parting words!…
from that hour. . . John took her to his own home–or, home with him; for his father Zebedee and his mother Salome were both alive, and the latter here present (Mar 15:40).
“Now from the sixth hour (twelve o’clock, noon) there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour” ( Mat 27:45 ). No ordinary eclipse of the sun could have occurred at this time, it being then full moon, and this obscuration lasted about twelve times the length of any ordinary eclipse. (Compare Exd 10:21, 23 ).
Beyond doubt, the divine intention was to invest this darkest of all tragedies with a gloom expressive of its real character. “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried, ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI. . My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Mat 27:46 ).
As the darkness commenced at the sixth hour, the second of the Jewish hours of prayer, so it continued till the ninth hour.
“FATHER,” was the cry in the first prayer which He uttered on the cross, “Father” was the cry of His last prayer, for matters had then passed their worst. But at this crisis of His sufferings, “Father” does not proceed from His lips, for the light of a Father’s countenance was then mysteriously eclipsed.
It is thus the cry of conscious innocence, but of innocence unavailing to draw down, at that moment, the least token of approval from the unseen Judge—innocence whose only recognition at that moment lay in the thick surrounding gloom which reflected the horror of great darkness that invested His own spirit. There was indeed a cause for it, He must taste this bitterest of the wages of sin “who did no sin”. “Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias” (Mat 27:47).
Jhn 19:28 – After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
now accomplished–that is, the moment for the fulfilment of the last of them; for there was one other small particular, and the time was come for that too, in consequence of the burning thirst which the fevered state of His body occasioned (Psa 22:15).
…that the scripture– (Psa 69:21). might be fulfilled saith, I thirst.
Jhn 19:29 – Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth.
put it to his mouth–Though a stalk of this plant does not exceed eighteen inches in length, it would suffice, as the feet of crucified persons were not raised high.
“The rest said, Let be”–[that is, as would seem, ‘Stop’ “let us see whether Elias will come to save Him” (Mat 27:49). This was the last cruelty He was to suffer, but it was one of the most unfeeling. “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice” (Luk 23:46).
Just as even His own dying saints, particularly the martyrs of Jesus, have sometimes had such gleams of coming glory immediately before breathing their last, as to impart to them a strength to utter their feelings which has amazed the by-standers, so this mighty voice of the expiring Redeemer was nothing else but the exultant spirit of the Dying Victor, receiving the fruit of His travail as about to be embraced, and immediately following the words of tranquil surrender, in Luke:
“FATHER, INTO THY HANDS I COMMEND MY SPIRIT!” (Luk 23:46). Yes, the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. His soul has emerged from its mysterious horrors; “My God” is heard no more, but; “As the Father receives the spirit of Jesus, so Jesus receives those of the faithful” (Act 7:59) And now comes the expiring mighty shout.
Jhn 19:30 – When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
But, –What is finished? The Law is fulfilled as never before, nor since, in His “obedience unto death, even the death of the cross”;
Messianic prophecy is accomplished; Redemption is completed; “He hath finished the transgression, and made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness, and sealed up the vision and prophecy, and anointed a holy of holies”;
He has inaugurated the kingdom of God and given birth to a new world.
Jhn 19:31 – The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
Jhn 19:32 – Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
Jhn 19:33 – But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
Jhn 19:34 – But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
Jhn 19:35 – And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
Jhn 19:36 – For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
Jhn 19:37 – And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
IT IS FINISHED…
Jhn 19:38 – And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
Jhn 19:39 – And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
Jhn 19:40 – Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.
Jhn 19:41 – Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
Jhn 19:42 – There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Last weeks Sunday school class: http://www.stmichaelsanglican.org/2019/03/27/passion-of-christ/