Just think: God Almighty came down the stairways of the stars and lived that perfect life, and then went deliberately to an ignominious death of extreme, exquisite suffering on the cross.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again dear radio friend, how in the world are you? Yes, I used the word friend in its singular form, because I think of you as, not as a great mass of faceless people, but as individuals, many of whom I know and cherish in Christian friendship and love, living here and there all across the country. And I am, you know it, I am your friend.
Well, this is Bob Cook and we’re back together again sharing from the Word of God. We’re looking at John 19. We’re in the midst of the crucifixion scene. I was just telling my Heavenly Father that I feel so inadequate to talk with you about so stupendous an event as our Lord’s crucifixion. Any way you approach it, it baffles the mind and breaks the heart. To think that God Almighty came down the stairways of the stars, and lived that perfect life, and then went deliberately to an ignominious death of extreme, exquisite suffering on the cross. And then on top of that, all of the sin of all of the world piled upon Him, as the Holy Father in that instant turned His holy face away from His Son, Who had become, literally, become sin for us.
“He hath made Him to be sin for us. He Who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Oh, cross of Christ. Oh, Golgotha. Oh, the nails, and the spear, and the thorns and the suffering. What does one say about all this? You can understand my perplexity in coming to you in these brief moments, but we’ll trust the Holy Spirit to give us something that, ultimately, will be practical. My purpose always in sharing with you, is to give you something practical, a handle that you can get hold of. I want to just remind you that several times in this 19th chapter of John, you find the phrase, “In order that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” The first time it occurs in this chapter is in verse 24. They said, as they parted His garments… In all probability our Lord Jesus hung naked on the cross. “They parted His garments, made four parts, to every soldier a part, and also His coat.” Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. “And they said therefore among themselves, ‘Let’s not tear it. But cast lots for it. Whose it shall be?'” They gambled for the possession of our Lord’s coat.
I wonder how the person who won that toss felt as he put on the seamless robe. I wonder whether he ever got convicted of his sin, and whether he ever turned in faith to the Savior. You know, of course, that the centurion, as he looked upon the scene… Another Gospel says, “When he saw that Christ so cried out, and so dismissed His Spirit, he said, ‘Surely this was the Son of God.'” And in another record it has him saying, “Surely this was a righteous man.”
So there were some there, some among the soldiers, obviously, who were impressed with our Lord Jesus Christ. Maybe the one who won His seamless robe. Who knows. Well, we’ll find out when we get to the glory. “That the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, they parted my raiment among them, and for My vesture, they did cast lots.” It’s a quote from Psalm 22 as you know. Then the next reference to fulfilled Scripture is in verse 28. “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, and that the Scripture might be fulfilled,” said, “I thirst.”
That’s a quote from Psalm 69:21. “They gave me vinegar and gall, mingled with gall to assuage my thirst,” you have in Psalm 69; I’ll turn the page and get to it here in a second. I’m way over in Proverbs, I can’t find it that way, can I? [chuckle] Well, pages stick together and I’m not always as quick. We used to have Bible drills when I was in Sunday school. Did you ever have that? To see how quickly you could find a passage. “They gave me also gall for my meat, and in My thirst, they gave Me vinegar to drink.” That’s the prophetic utterance that Jesus fulfilled in that moment when He said, “I thirst.” “Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar, and they filled a sponge, and put it upon hyssop,” that’s kind of a reed, “and put it to His mouth.” And later on when the soldiers came to make sure that these three who had been crucified were dead, they saw that our Lord Jesus already had dismissed His Spirit. And so they did not, as they did to the two, break their legs. “And these things were done,” verse 36, “that the Scripture should be fulfilled, which says, ‘A bone of him shall not be broken.'” And another Scripture, referring now to the pierced side, “They shall look on him whom they pierced.”
You see, God keeps His word. You can depend upon God’s promises. All of them concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, His earthly life and now His atoning death. Each prophecy fulfilled. God keeps His word and you can depend on Him for coming days. You and I don’t know what’s around the corner, even of today or tonight; for some of you listen close to the midnight hour, I know that you don’t know what’s around the corner. But you do know that God is there. Francis Schaeffer wrote about “The God Who Is There.” Oh yes.
And because that’s true, you can trust His promise. He never fails. He’ll never drop you. He hasn’t brought you this far to dump you now. He won’t drop you, He won’t forsake you and He will keep His promises, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
Now I’m impressed by the fact that in the midst of this exquisite suffering… By the way, do you know about crucifixion? Do you know what it really involved? You and I talk about the nail prints, that means nails, spikes really, through wrists and ankles, or the instep of the foot. But they did this slightly bending the knees, so that the entire weight of the individual came upon the arms and shoulders, and thus compressed the diaphragm making it difficult to breathe.
And so the crucified person had, literally, to lift his own weight by straightening his legs every time he wanted to breathe. Some people lasted actually for days, but they died ultimately, not of their wounds, the spikes, but of suffocation. They simply could not muster the strength to lift that body one more time, to take one more breath. Now that’s the background then of the command to break the legs of these people. Why? Well, if your legs are broken, you can’t lift your body and that means you won’t be breathing very long, hanging as you are, in a position that makes it impossible to draw a breath normally. You get the logic of that? Our Lord Jesus had already dismissed His Spirit. He was gone, back to God the Father. And so they didn’t break His legs, but one of the soldier says, “Well, we’ll make sure.” And with his spear, he thrusted into His side. And the evidence of a broken heart came out, “Forthwith came there out blood and water.” And John says, “I saw it and my record is true.” John said, “I saw it.” He stuck there, right there to the end.
Now I’m also impressed about the fact that the Lord Jesus, in the moment of extreme agony, about which I’ve just explained, took time to be concerned for Mary His mother. “Jesus therefore saw His mother and the disciple standing by whom He loved,” that’s John. “He said unto His mother, “Woman, behold thy Son.” And He said to the disciple, “Behold thy mother.” What was He saying? John you take care of her. I’m not gonna be around; I can’t do anything. Now I’m turning her over to you. You take care of her. His concern for this dear woman, who under the power of the Holy Spirit, had brought from her virgin womb a baby whom she and Joseph named Jesus. “For He shall save His people from their sins.” And she’d seen through the 33 years of His little boyhood, and growing up days, and His manhood ministry, she’d seen all that had happened and now she was there by the Cross.
Oh, mothers suffer, I think more than any of the rest of us men know. That mother heart was just breaking for her firstborn. She had had other children. And the evidence seems to point to the fact that Joseph, her husband, had maybe now passed away, because our Lord Jesus asked John to take care of her.
And he took her to his own home from that moment, so Joseph may well have passed away. And now, standing alone there, except for the company of John and a few others perhaps, their heart breaking and the Lord Jesus took time to say a word of love and compassion.
Let me say this to some of you who are heavy-hearted, and you’ve got troubles, and your heart seems just to break sometimes. Maybe right now the tears are flowing and you think to yourself, “Cook, he can’t understand! Cook doesn’t know how I feel.” And of course you’re right, aren’t you? Because I don’t live inside your skin, and I can’t really reduplicate your feelings. But I know somebody Who does. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” You are His special concern. And even as the Lord Jesus, looking down from that agonizing height on the Cross, took time to make Mary His special concern.
So today He’s in the glory. And He makes you, beloved, His special concern. “He ever liveth,” the Bible tells us, “to make intersession for them that come unto God by Him. Do you pray to the Heavenly Father in Jesus name? Yes, many of you do. Know this, then, that when you come to God in Jesus name, He represents you before the very holy Presence of a triune God. “He ever liveth to make intersession for them.” You are His concern. It’s a beautiful truth, isn’t it? We’ll get back to some more of this the next time we get together.
Dear Father, help us to understand something of the greatness of Thy Calvary love, and to live for thee today, in Jesus name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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