Lessons from John 19: The Way, The Truth, and the Life
John 14:6 tells us that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Jesus.
Have you accepted this truth as your own? Or are you still sitting on the fence? There is no fence-sitting in heaven! You are either for God and He is for you or you are against Him and His way and His people and therefore He sets Himself against you!
And if you have indeed believed in Jesus as your Savior and Lord, why are you still dredging up your sins! Jesus died that we might be forgiven of our sins and that means that we no longer carry the burden of them either. Confess your sins sister and then walk in the freedom that Christ so freely gives.
You have been reconciled, your sins have been forgiven and forgotten! So put up a no fishing sign for yourself and for the Devil and get on with God!
Jesus death on the cross not only opened up the way for reconciliation with God but also with others. So who is it that God is asking you to make amends with?
It takes the more spiritually mature to admit they were wrong! Or maybe you weren’t wrong, maybe you were right. Jesus was right! But He laid down His rights that we who were wrong might be reconciled to Him and to His Father!
Next, we will look at the provision for Jesus burial~~~John 19:39-42
John’s emphasis, unlike the other writers, is not so much about the manner in which Jesus was buried, but rather about the honor in which Jesus was buried.
So, after the soldiers had completed their cruel and gruesome work, it appears that Jesus followers took over. And from this point on, as far as it is recorded anyway, no unbelievers touched the body of Jesus.
It was customary that if any family or friends came forward for the body, the Romans would gladly hand them over, in order to have completed their job and be on their way.
So, apparently sometime later verse 38 tells us that when Joseph of Arimathea came forward and asked Pilate for the body of Jesus, Pilate gladly granted Joseph’s request.
Now, who was Joseph of Arimathea?
Well, if you were to put all the scripture references about Joseph of Arimathea together, you would learn that Joseph was a rich man and a prominent member of the Jewish Council. Luke tells us that Joseph was a good and righteous man. A man of justice who did not consent to the death of Jesus Christ. He is said to have been a member of a small minority of Jews who had been praying for the Messiah to come and he believed in the resurrection of the dead, which meant that he was a Pharisee. (Mark 15:43)
He was also a member of the Sanhedrin so he was among a very small number of people who were considered the religious ruling authorities. And here in verse 38 we learn that Joseph had become a disciple or believer of Jesus Christ, but secretly because we are told that he had feared the Jews. You see, Joseph risked everything including excommunication by being identified with Jesus and so up until now Joseph had let his fear of the Jews and what they could or would do to him override his faith in Jesus.
Yet, Joseph found out he was not alone in his faith or fear. For we are also told that Nicodemus who had come to Jesus previously during the night had also come to believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah! Nicodemus was also a wealthy man, who was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin and he too had defended Jesus before the Sanhedrin and was ridiculed.
Yet, though both of these men had feared what the Jews might do to them, the death of Jesus and their love for Him causes them to come together and step out in faith and risk it all in order to care for Jesus body and prepare Him for a proper burial.
Now apparently Joseph and Nicodemus took the body of Jesus away to a new tomb that Joseph himself had cut out of the rock and Nicodemus had brought with him 75 pounds of spices, enough for a royal burial.
I want to stop for a moment before we miss this. Why do you think Joseph of Arimathea (which was about 20 miles NW of Jerusalem) would have recently craved out a new tomb so close to a place of execution? Most Jews wanted to be buried within the Holy City, but a rich man like Joseph could have certainly afforded a better site for his final resting place. Especially in light of the fact that his relatives would likely come to pay their respects after his death. Would he really want them to come so close to an execution site to do so? To be near the like of criminals being executed on the cross and to hear all that was going on as these people died in such a horrific way?
And why was it that Nicodemus just happened to have 75 pounds of spices. Just enough for the royal burial of a king?
We aren’t told the answers to those questions! But could it be, just maybe, had these two men who had studied the scriptures, the OT scriptures and not only seen but acknowledged what the others failed to do, that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, the Promised Messiah and would be offered up as the Lamb of God for the remission of the sins of the world? Had they been prepared by God Himself in some way to know? Had they hid themselves in the tomb not far away from the crucifixion site in order that they might be ready when the time was right to step out and see that Jesus would indeed have a burial fit for a king!
I don’t know, but it is interesting to think about it! Isn’t it?
Whatever the case, they were used by God to fulfill what the scriptures said about Jesus being buried in a virgin tomb.
Whatever the case the two had to work quickly, because the sun was just about to go down and it was against the law for any Jew to handle or touch the body of a dead person without being considered defiled, though their participation in Jesus burial had already caused them to forfeit their part in the Passover and Sabbath Celebration.
And so the two began to wash Jesus bloodstained body in order to cleanse it, before wrapping His body in strips of linen layered with the mixture of aloe and myrrh that was customary for a Jewish burial.
Don’t you wonder what they thought? Did they speak to each other? Did they weep? Or was there just no words to express their feelings at that time and so in silence, utter silence and in reverent awe they worked together, side by side, caring and preparing Jesus body for a burial fit for that of a king.
A burial not only fit for the King of the Jews but a burial fit for the King of the world.
From now on these men would suffer for their faith in the cause of Christ in the world they lived-in. They would have surely been excommunicated or at least exonerated from their positions on the Jewish Council, they would be condemned by others as outcasts, as followers of Jesus. Though I think that they, like Paul, would have counted it all as nothing, compared to everything they received as they began to live their new lives in Christ.
These two men learned what it meant to count the cost and I believe they never turned back! They never had a moment of regret! They allowed God to overcome their fear with faith and they not only blessed God, who had their names included in His precious word, they also bless us by revealing that fear is overcome when we place our fear in God’s hands and trust Him with it and then begin to walk by faith, not by sight.
You see fear paralyzes us. It keeps us from becoming who God is calling us to be! It stunts our spiritual growth and it builds a barrier or breaks our relationship with God.
Yet, faith causes us to grow and to be shaped by God into the person He is calling us to be. Faith doesn’t mean there is not fear, it just means that we choose to love God more than we choose to love our fear. It means that we place our faith or trust in the hands of the Almighty and we choose to believe that greater is He that’s in me than he who is in the world. It means that like Jeremiah 29:11 says we choose to exercise our belief that God knows the plans He has for us. Plans to prosper and not to harm, plans to give you hope and a future, an eternal future.
So what’s the principle here? It’s simply this: Believers are to allow their love for God to grow deeper than their fear of others.
How do we do this? We do this by knowing who God says He is and then trusting that what He says is true. We do this as we exercise the truth of His word and living holy and pure lives before Him.
There is nothing that God cannot do! There is nothing too great or too small! The only thing holding you back is your faith or lack of it!
So won’t you confess your unbelief or lack of faith in whatever situation you find yourself in! Whether it be your health or the health of a loved one. Or maybe it’s a fear of losing your marriage or the fear of never getting married! Maybe its the fear of not ever having a baby, or a degree or the job of your dreams! I don’t know what you fear is but God does! Won’t you take it to Him in prayer and confess your lack of faith in Him to change the situation or circumstance and ask Him to exchange your fear for faith and see, just see what He does!
Jesus Christ overcame death on a cross, to reconcile us to God, His Father and now that heavens doors have been split wide open God desires to grow your faith and overcome your fears!