Cursed upon a Tree

Monday: John 19:16-18

Jesus was the long Awaited One.  Every prophet pointed to Him.  Daniel called him Messiah.  Moses called him Prophet.  David called him Savior and so did Isaiah, over and over again. They all saw Him as God come in the flesh.   And when He finally does come, what do men do with him? *


They crucify him.  


David’s well-known Psalm 23 sees Him as the Shepherd in green pastures. His lesser-known, but equally powerful, Psalm 22 sees him clearly as the Savior on a cross.  

For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;” (Psalm 22:16, NKJV) 


There were four ways the Jewish people practiced execution: stoning, sword, strangling (hanging by the neck) and burning.   And yet David saw Christ pierced in the hands and feet, four hundred years before crucifixion was invented and one thousand years before Christ was crucified. 


Surely, the Jewish leaders thought, Jesus was a cursed man.  They called him “This man” or “as for this fellow.”   They would not even use his name on their lips when bargaining for Barabbas, whose rebel name they had no problem saying. Psalm 16:4, John 18:40   


Moses declared that anyone hung on a tree was cursed.  Deuteronomy 21:23   Paul saw Jesus Christ as being cursed for us that we might redemption. He is our substitute that satisfies legal wrath.  

Don’t we all rejoice when a bad man is caught and brought to justice?  Here now is something for us to rejoice in: We are the bad men and bad women deserving the consequence and the curse--but Jesus took our place!  


Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),” (Galatians 3:13, NKJV) 


There are many who have died for their so-called gods. But only in Jesus Christ does God die for man. 


He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:25, TNIV) 


*Daniel 9:25, Psalm 106:21, Isaiah 19:20, Isaiah 43:3, Isaiah 45:21, Deuteronomy 18:15, Isaiah 7:14 

The Title of Christ

Tuesday: John 19:19-22

Pilate attached the offense and title of Jesus upon the cross with Him: Jesus of Nazareth. The King of the Jews.  

His crime was his cardinal virtue: He was King.


Not only King of the Jews, but of all nations.  Pilate, under God’s own influence, had written it in Hebrew, Greek and Latin. These are the most known languages of the world at that time--so that all could see and know. 


And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!” (Revelation 15:3, ESV) 


The chief priests complained, “Do not write, ‘King of the Jews’, but "he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’”  Pilate told them, essentially, “it is what is.”


Pilate did not quibble on the many accusations the Jewish leaders made. Only one, and he asked Jesus plainly about it: “Are you the King of the Jews?” John 18:33   If He was leading an insurrection on Rome, that would be a legitimate issue.  But Jesus answered clearly, “My kingdom is not of this world.”  


Pilate knew he was no threat to Rome


Pilate is a better preacher than most preachers.  Three times he said, “I find no fault in Him!” 18:38, 19:4, 19:6   He was right. The Savior was blameless.  An “ungodly” Gentile saw what the “godly” priests and leaders couldn’t.    


Pilate said, “Behold the man!”  This is every right preacher’s goal, to show Christ.   That is my purpose as a pastor: To get you to look off of every other thing and to look to Christ; that you might desire Him, hope in Him and believe in Him.   


“Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” (Isaiah 45:22, NKJV) 


Pilate doesn’t let off on the title given to Jesus.  Not only does he say, “Behold the Man!”. He says, “Behold your King!”   vs 14.  

He does so with some derision, but he also testifies to who, in fact, He is really is!  Didn’t the ungodly Caiaphas prophecy truth about Jesus when justifying why Jesus should die rather than risk their status quo with Rome? 

“Better for one man to die for the people…” John 11:49-52

Pilate and the Chief Priests, though no friends of Christ, unwittingly testified to his veracity. 

"Surely the wrath of man shall praise You; With the remainder of wrath You shall gird Yourself.” (Psalm 76:10, NKJV) 


One last note on Pilate’s declaration of Christ’s title: He gives us the Name we know him by, as though it is his first and last name:  Jesus Christ


Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!”” (Matthew 27:22, NKJV) 

They gambled for his clothing

Wednesday: John 19:23-24

They stripped him of his clothes and crucified him.  This wasn’t the first time he was shamed in nakedness. When he was mocked earlier by the guards he suffered the same indignation. 


They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,” (Matthew 27:28, TNIV) 


Adam and Eve felt shame in their nakedness.  The Lord slew an animal to give them covering. This was the first sacrifice in the Bible.  Hebrews 9:22  Jesus was stripped that we might be clothed.    


It is worth noting that the only possession Christ left behind was what he wore.   And even that was gambled for by greedy and earthly-minded men.  Given the fact that Christ has been scourged and re-clothed, the garments must have been stained in blood.  I wonder, did that man feel “lucky” when he went home with his prize and hung it in his closet?


In any event. Scripture is yet again being fulfilled.  Psalm 22:18


Leonard Ravenhill told a story about John Wesley. "John was used by God to begin the Methodist Movement that shook three continents for Christ.  When he died, he left a handful of books, a faded Geneva gown that used to preach all over England. He had six silver spoons and six single pound notes. He instructed that each of those six notes be given to the “poor men who carry me to my grave.”  He left something else. Oh yeah…he left the Methodist Church!"


That was possible because Jesus did it first. He left that which could not be re-possessed or contained by any man. He left the church!  And he will come again to receive it, that is us, to Himself!  


And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3, TNIV) 

Arrest: Scripture Fulfilled

Thursday: John 19:25-29

The scripture tells us that Jesus is reduced to one friend, his mother and aunt and a converted prostitute.   In his pain and final moments, he thought not of himself, but of others. Joseph must have died in the intervening years. He assures his Mother to the care of the disciple John. One receives a mother, and a mother receives a son. As we saw last week in the Luke Gospel, he attends to the soul of a repentant thief. In dying, he is giving life. 


But He is now the end is near.  The Scripture tells us something of the closing timeline: 


Jesus knows all things were now accomplished…”


Isaiah saw this moment in Isaiah 53:11: 


When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.” (Isaiah 53:11, NLT) 


The King James renders it: 

He shall see the labor of His soul and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:11, NKJV) 


It speaks to the fullness of and satisfaction of many things:  


The fulness of sin.  There is a measure of sin that is reached and then wrath is tipped over.  Abraham was told that the Amorites were seemingly undisturbed by God in their sin, but God was waiting for them to fill up their sin to a certain measure, and then! 


But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”” (Genesis 15:16, NKJV) 


forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.” (1 Thessalonians 2:16, NKJV)  

Jesus is now filled up to the uttermost with our sin and its adherent wrath. 


The fulness of anguish. Isaiah testifies that the Father has witness sufficient anguish and then redemption is accomplished. “He shall justify many…”    


The fulness of wrath.  Jesus knows wrath is nearly accomplished. It is almost over.  Revelation 15 sees an ending to the wrath that will come upon earth: Famine, War, Pestilence and Death.  These are followed by seven plagues and then it is over. 


Then I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous: seven angels having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete.” (Revelation 15:1, NKJV) 


Finally, the fulfillment of Scripture. And it is in this context that Jesus, seeing that all things were now accomplished, there was yet one more scripture in the suffering phase, His thirst and the vinegar offered to Him. 


my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death.” (Psalm 22:15, ESV) 


They also gave me gall for my food, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” (Psalm 69:21, NKJV) 


It is remarkable to me that Jesus did not complain in the scourging, or the pounding of the thorny crown upon his brow. He does not say,  “My back!” “My head!”  But now he says, “I thirst!”  It is his only complaint. It is certainly real and it certainly and finally accomplishes scripture.  But in this declaration we might also see Christ thirsting for God's will to be done.  

In any event, Christ is seeing to the Word that it should be perfectly fulfilled. 


 And so everything was filled up and perfectly satisfied for the accomplishing of our salvation. 

It is finished!

Friday: John 19:28-30

The same word as accomplished in verse 28 is now used in Christ’s final cry upon the cross: “It is finished.  It is a word that means fulfilled. Some have rightly noted that the word was used in ancient times to mark a bill of sale as fully paid.  In most of our Bibles it is rendered: Finished.  


And we say “Amen” to that. 


The scriptures are accomplished and finished concerning His suffering and death.  The betrayal, the kiss, the arrest, the scourging, the piercing of hands and feet. The gambled clothing, the gall and the vinegar.  All is accomplished and finished. 


The ceremonial law and the Old Covenant with obligation to it—finished!  


Jeremiah saw such a day: ““Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—” (Jeremiah 31:31, NKJV) 

And that New Covenant is in the cup of Christ's blood. 


Sins that hold sway—finished.  Daniel saw such a day! 


“Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.” (Daniel 9:24, NKJV) 


The sins of the world taken away by a forever priest, once and for all--Finished.

He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.” (Hebrews 9:26, NKJV) 


By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10, NKJV) 


The law fulfilled.

Satan dealt a death blow.

The undertaking is over. 

Sins is satisfied and all wrath. 

Man’s redemption and his soul’s redemption. 




Let all that suffer for Christ and with Christ, comfort themselves with this: in just a little while these shall say “It is finished.”