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JOHN - The Light Shines in the Darkness
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to John
PART 4 - Light Overcomes Darkness
A - Events From the Arrest to the Burial (John 18:1 - 19:42)
4. The cross and the death of Jesus (John 19:16b-42)

c) Christ's word to his mother (John 19:25-27)

JOHN 19:24b-27
24b Therefore the soldiers did these things. 25 But there were standing by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 Therefore when Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour, the disciple took her to his own home.

John does not record Jesus’ first word from the cross, forgiving the whole world. Nor does he mention the continued mockery of the Jews, or Jesus’ pardon of the robber at his right hand. These events were already familiar in the church when John wrote.

When the priests left the site of the cross without hearing his supplication and his plea for the Father’s forgiveness, the crowds also left, rushing to Jerusalem to sacrifice Passover lambs. The time for preparation was short. The religious rulers also went to carry out the ritual for the great national feast. The bugles were sounded from city walls, the lambs slain at the temple, and blood flowed profusely. The temple resounded with praises. Outside Jerusalem hung the holy Lamb of God on the accursed tree, forsaken and despised. The pagan Roman guards were guarding the three on the crosses.

At that time, some women approached the cross quietly, and stood in silence. The preceding events baffled their minds. The Almighty was hanging over their heads in great pain. Words of comfort were not forthcoming, and hearts could hardly pray. Perhaps some were whispering texts from the Psalms.

Jesus heard the heartfelt cries of his mother and understood the tears of his beloved disciple John. He did not think so much of his state, despite the approach of his death. Suddenly they heard his voice, "Woman, behold your Son."

Christ’s love was to the uttermost, caring for the welfare of his loved ones in the midst of his suffering to ransom the world. What Simeon had predicated for the Virgin was fulfilled, that the sword would pierce her soul (Luke 2:35).

Unable to provide his mother with money or a home, he offered her the love he had poured into his disciples. John had come with Christ’s mother (Matthew 27:56), yet he does not mention his own name or the Virgin’s, so as not to detract from the honor due to Christ in this his hour of glory. When he addressed John and committed the mother to his care, then only did the disciple enter himself into the radiance of the cross. He embraced Mary and received her into his home.

The rest of the women witnessed this concern. The Lord had rescued one of them from seven devils. That was Mary Magdalene. She experienced Jesus’ victorious might in her soul. She loved her Savior and followed him.

d) The consummation (John 19:28-30)

JOHN 19:28-29
28 After this, Jesus, seeing that all things were now finished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I am thirsty.” 29 Now a vessel full of vinegar was set there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop, and held it at his mouth.

John, the evangelist had the gift of saying a great deal in a few words. He tells us nothing about darkness that covered the land, nor do we hear Christ’s cry of dereliction in God’s wrath over our sins. But we are informed, that at the end of his mortal struggle, lasting three hours, he sensed the approach of death. John did not regard death as having swallowed Jesus, but that Jesus had willingly yielded to it. His soul was exhausted in completing the universal work of redemption. Jesus saw the perfect salvation available to all, how his death would free millions of sinners from their guilt and bestow on them the right to come to God. He saw the harvest and the fruit of his death beforehand.

At this point, a sigh escaped his lips, "I thirst." He, who had created the universe and walked on water that was compounded of oxygen and hydrogen, is thirsting. Love incarnate was longing for a Father’s love who had hidden His face from His Son. This is a scene of hell, where man thirsts, body and soul, and cannot find refreshing. Earlier, Christ had mentioned the rich man in hell with a mighty thirst in the infernal fires who begged Abraham to send Lazarus to put his finger dipped in cold water and soothe his swollen throat. Jesus was a true man, enduring natural thirst, but he did not admit his thirst till the work of salvation was accomplished. Then, the Holy Spirit revealed to him that his redemptive ministry had been announced a thousand years earlier in Psalm 22:13-18, drinking vinegar was also mentioned in Psalm 69:21. We do not know if the soldiers offered Jesus the drink as wine vinegar or mixed with water, either as contempt or in lament. We know it was not pure water. The man Jesus, who is God’s Son, was at this juncture helpless.

JOHN 19:30
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished.” He bowed his head, and gave up his spirit.

After Jesus had tasted the vinegar of wrath, he uttered the word of victory, "It is finished!" A day before this cry of triumph, the Son had asked his Father to glorify him on the cross for our ransom, that the Father, Himself, might be glorified. The Son acknowledged in faith that this prayer would be answered, that he had completed the work the Father had given him (John 17:1,4).

How pure is Jesus on the cross! No word of hatred escaped his lips, nor a sigh for pity or a cry of despair, but he pardoned his foes holding on to God’s love, who seemed like an enemy for our sakes. Jesus knew he had finished the work of redemption because God made perfect the pioneer of our salvation through suffering. No one can fathom the depths and heights of Trinitarian love, for the Son offered himself to God through the eternal Spirit, without stain, a living sacrifice (Hebrew 9:14).

Since the final cry of Christ on the cross, salvation is complete, not needing to be more perfect. It is not our contributions, our good works, our prayers, our sanctification which bring about our righteousness or added holiness in our lives. The Son of God has done all this once for all. By his death, a new age has dawned and peace reigns, because the Lamb of God slain has reconciled us with the Father in Heaven. Whoever believes is justified. The Epistles are the commentary on the words of Jesus, final and divine, "It is finished!".

Jesus bowed his head, finally, in reverence and majesty. He committed his soul into his Father’s hands who loved him. This love drew him to the throne of grace, where he sits today at the right hand of the Father, one with Him.

PRAYER: O Holy Lamb, who has lifted the sin of the world; you are worthy to receive might, riches, wisdom, power, honor, glory, blessing and my life also. Lift my head to look up to you, O Crucified One, seeking pardon from you for all my guilt, and trusting, you will make me holy by your grace and blood.


  1. What are Jesus’ three words?


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