John 19* Christ condemned and crucified. (1-18) Christ on the cross.(19-30) His side pierced. (31-37) The burial of Jesus. (38-42)1-18 Little did Pilate think with what holy regard thesesufferings of Christ would, in after-ages, be thought upon andspoken of by the best and greatest of men. Our Lord Jesus cameforth, willing to be exposed to their scorn. It is good forevery one with faith, to behold Christ Jesus in his sufferings.Behold him, and love him; be still looking unto Jesus. Did theirhatred sharpen their endeavours against him? and shall not ourlove for him quicken our endeavours for him and his kingdom?Pilate seems to have thought that Jesus might be some personabove the common order. Even natural conscience makes men afraidof being found fighting against God. As our Lord suffered forthe sins both of Jews and Gentiles, it was a special part of thecounsel of Divine Wisdom, that the Jews should first purpose hisdeath, and the Gentiles carry that purpose into effect. Had notChrist been thus rejected of men, we had been for ever rejectedof God. Now was the Son of man delivered into the hands ofwicked and unreasonable men. He was led forth for us, that wemight escape. He was nailed to the cross, as a Sacrifice boundto the altar. The Scripture was fulfilled; he did not die at thealtar among the sacrifices, but among criminals sacrificed topublic justice. And now let us pause, and with faith look uponJesus. Was ever sorrow like unto his sorrow? See him bleeding,see him dying, see him and love him! love him, and live to him! 19-30 Here are some remarkable circumstances of Jesus' death,more fully related than before. Pilate would not gratify thechief priests by allowing the writing to be altered; which wasdoubtless owing to a secret power of God upon his heart, thatthis statement of our Lord's character and authority mightcontinue. Many things done by the Roman soldiers werefulfilments of the prophecies of the Old Testament. All thingstherein written shall be fulfilled. Christ tenderly provided forhis mother at his death. Sometimes, when God removes one comfortfrom us, he raises up another for us, where we looked not forit. Christ's example teaches all men to honour their parents inlife and death; to provide for their wants, and to promote theircomfort by every means in their power. Especially observe thedying word wherewith Jesus breathed out his soul. It isfinished; that is, the counsels of the Father concerning hissufferings were now fulfilled. It is finished; all the types andprophecies of the Old Testament, which pointed at the sufferingsof the Messiah, were accomplished. It is finished; theceremonial law is abolished; the substance is now come, and allthe shadows are done away. It is finished; an end is made oftransgression by bringing in an everlasting righteousness. Hissufferings were now finished, both those of his soul, and thoseof his body. It is finished; the work of man's redemption andsalvation is now completed. His life was not taken from him byforce, but freely given up. 31-37 A trial was made whether Jesus was dead. He died in lesstime than persons crucified commonly did. It showed that he hadlaid down his life of himself. The spear broke up the veryfountains of life; no human body could survive such a wound. Butits being so solemnly attested, shows there was somethingpeculiar in it. The blood and water that flowed out, signifiedthose two great benefits which all believers partake of throughChrist, justification and sanctification; blood for atonement,water for purification. They both flow from the pierced side ofour Redeemer. To Christ crucified we owe merit for ourjustification, and Spirit and grace for our sanctification. Letthis silence the fears of weak Christians, and encourage theirhopes; there came both water and blood out of Jesus' piercedside, both to justify and sanctify them. The Scripture wasfulfilled, in Pilate's not allowing his legs to be broken, #Ps34:20|. There was a type of this in the paschal lamb, #Ex12:46|. May we ever look to Him, whom, by our sins, we haveignorantly and heedlessly pierced, nay, sometimes againstconvictions and mercies; and who shed from his wounded side bothwater and blood, that we might be justified and sanctified inhis name. 38-42 Joseph of Arimathea was a disciple of Christ in secret.Disciples should openly own themselves; yet some, who in lessertrials have been fearful, in greater have been courageous. WhenGod has work to do, he can find out such as are proper to do it.The embalming was done by Nicodemus, a secret friend to Christ,though not his constant follower. That grace which at first islike a bruised reed, may afterward resemble a strong cedar.Hereby these two rich men showed the value they had for Christ'sperson and doctrine, and that it was not lessened by thereproach of the cross. We must do our duty as the present dayand opportunity are, and leave it to God to fulfil his promisesin his own way and his own time. The grave of Jesus wasappointed with the wicked, as was the case of those who sufferedas criminals; but he was with the rich in his death, asprophesied, #Isa 53:9|; these two circumstances it was veryunlikely should ever be united in the same person. He was buriedin a new sepulchre; therefore it could not be said that it wasnot he, but some other that rose. We also are here taught not tobe particular as to the place of our burial. He was buried inthe sepulchre next at hand. Here is the Sun of Righteousness setfor a while, to rise again in greater glory, and then to set nomore.
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