October 17, 2015.
Daily Reading: John 19-21.
Background: John 16-18.
Concepts and Connections.
The crucifixion and burial: As we enter the final stage of Jesus’ trial before Pilate, we find a man who seems to be deeply conflicted, torn between the fear of the Jews and the fear of Jesus. Pilate has Jesus flogged and places a crown of thorns and a purple robe in mockery, but then brings Him out and makes it known that he finds no guilt in Him. But he tells the Jews to take Him and crucify Him. The Jews tell Pilate of Jesus’ claim of being the Son of God, and at this, Pilate is more frightened. What if He actually was? Perhaps even more frightening would be Jesus’ lack of response when Pilate questioned Him about this. Mere men would have answered, probably in a way of getting out of it or talking around it. But Jesus remained silent, until Pilate tried to state his authority over Jesus, to which Jesus promptly informed him from whom his authority came. It seems that Pilate at least considered that Jesus was telling the truth, for he continued to seek how to release Him. The Jews were relentless, however, and finally Pilate brings Jesus before the judgement seat and delivers Him over to be crucified. The fear of the Jews had won out. Bearing His own cross, Jesus was brought out to Golgotha, that is ‘the Place of the Skull’, and He was crucified between two others. Pilate had written an inscription on the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”, than many saw, which brings out the irony of the story. Jesus really was the King of the Jews- their Messiah that they had been waiting for for hundreds and even thousands of years. And here He was, hanging on a cross. It is truly amazing the messianic prophecy that is fulfilled in this chapter. When He was on the cross, the soldiers divided His garments and cast lost for His tunic (see Psalm 22:18). When He cried I thirst, they gave Him sour wine (see Psalm 69:21). When the Jews asked Pilate to break the legs of those being crucified, the soldiers pierced the side of Jesus and found He was already dead, so they did not break a bone (see Zechariah 12:10 and Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12 concerning the passover lamb, see also I Corinthians 5:7). When He died, a rich man came to claim the body (see Isaiah 53:9, Matthew 27:57-61). Written hundreds of years before Jesus came, all fulfilled that we might believe. So, Jesus was crucified, and Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, the man who came to Jesus by night (see John 3), took Him and laid Him in a new tomb. The devil had bruised His heal; however, the other half of this fist messianic prophecy (see Genesis 3:14-15) was about to change the world forever.
The resurrection and appearances of Jesus: Early in the morning on the first day of the week, we find Mary Magdalene coming to the tomb while it was still dark. Much to her surprise, the stone that had sealed the tomb had been rolled away. She immediately runs to tells Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved (most likely John) that the stone had been taken away and the body of Jesus was gone. We get a small insight to Peter and John’s personalities here, as John out runs Peter to the tomb and stops to look in, but Peter is a bit more rash and goes straight in to the tomb. When they see that the body is gone, they believe Mary, but they still don’t fully understand that the scriptures had said that Jesus would rise from the dead (see Psalm 16:10). Then there are several accounts of Jesus’ appearance to different people that John records for us. First, he records His appearance to Mary Magdalene. She was unable to recognize who He was until He said “Mary.” Then He makes an interesting statement, which would seem to mean that Mary had a job to do (telling the disciples) before He ascended (see Acts 1:6-11). He then appears to His disciples (excluding Thomas), coming through the locked door and sending out His disciples with the Holy Spirit. Next, we see the rather famous story of doubting Thomas, who had told the disciples that unless he saw the mark of the nails and put his hand in His side, he wouldn’t believe. Jesus appears to the disciples again eight days later in the same manner He had done previously, and turns to Thomas and grants him this very thing. Thomas believed because he saw, but Jesus blessed those who would believe even though they had not seen. This is the purpose of this book, that we might read of Jesus and believe in Him, and in believing in Him, we might have life in His name.
Jesus appears to seven disciples: The last thing that John leaves us with is Jesus appearance to Peter, Thomas, Nathanael, James, John and two others as they were fishing. In this story, Jesus appears to the disciples here in one of His last appearances as He did His first call of them, when they were fishing (see Luke 5:1-11). In the same way, the disciples had caught nothing all night, and Jesus tells them to cast their nets down on the other side. Their catch is so large that they could not carry it in, and they immediately knew who Jesus was. Peter, not waiting to row ashore, put on his garment and dove into the sea to get to Jesus as the others disciples came with the fish they caught. When they got to land, Jesus had already been preparing a fire and He invited them to bring some of the fish they had caught, and they shared breakfast. We see here Jesus’ interactions with Peter, where He asks him three times if Peter loved Him, and when Peter replies, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you,” He tells him to feed His sheep. Peter is grieved on the third time that Jesus asks him, perhaps because he has told Him twice, or perhaps even more so because Peter makes the connection that he had denied the Lord three times prior to His crucifixion. But now he and the rest of the disciples had a job to do, and that job was to bring the message of the gospel to the world. Jesus tells Peter how he is going to sacrifice his life for Him, and how he will die for Him. It seems that Peter feels uncomfortable in this, and he tries to gain comfort in company, asking about how John will die. But this was not his information to know, as it was not his life or his will that mattered. It was the will of God that mattered, and Peter was to focus on how he would serve the kingdom. John makes it clear that Jesus did many other things, so much so that the worlds books couldn’t contain them, but as he told us at the end of the previous chapter, these things were recorded that we might believe in Jesus, the Son of the Living God.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Hebrews 9-10.
Hail, Lord Jesus.