That Scripture Might Be Fulfilled

Isaiah Quote

Reading the Word

John 19:31–37 (ESV)

31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus was crucified on a Friday, which meant the Sabbath was at hand. That particular Sabbath was considered especially important (a “high day”) because it followed the Passover. In order not to defile the Sabbath, the people requested that the bodies of the crucified be taken down and buried. This request was in accord with Deuteronomy 21:22-23.

It was usual for Romans to leave bodies hanging and decaying for days, but they also tried to accommodate religious observances at times. In this case, they did not wish to offend the Jewish people so they decided to make sure the three would die quickly by breaking their legs. This would make it impossible to use the legs to push up and take a breath. Surprisingly, Jesus’ legs were not broken because he had already died. This fulfilled a prophecy found in Psalm 34:20 that said that none of his bones would be broken, which also applied to the Passover lambs during the Exodus (cf. Exodus 12:46).

Instead of breaking Jesus’ legs, a Roman soldier plunged a spear into his side to ensure he was truly dead. This too fulfilled a prophecy found in Zechariah 12:10.

It is an amazing thing to think about how many prophecies written hundreds of years prior that Jesus fulfilled. Many argue that he simply set out to fulfill them, but this does not account for the ones he had no ability to fulfill on his own. The events surrounding his birth and his death were completely out of his control to manufacture. Go back and re-read the Gospel accounts and make note of how many times that we are told that Jesus fulfilled an Old Testament prophecy. Go back and read those prophecies in the Old Testament. Then marvel at how Jesus fulfilled the Scriptures.

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It Is Finished

Cross in Red

Reading the Word

John 19:28–30 (ESV)

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus hung on the cross for about six hours. It is no surprise that he became thirsty, but we are told that his statement “I thirst” was in fulfillment of Scripture. This fulfillment likely points us back to Psalm 69:21, which reads, “and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.” After receiving the sour wine (different from the wine mixed with myrrh in Mark 15:23), Jesus said, “It is finished” and died.

The mission that Jesus had come to fulfill was now complete. He had come as the promised Messiah, lived a sinless life, proclaimed repentance and the forgiveness of sins, performed miracles, confronted the hypocritical religious leaders, and now given his life as a substitute for those who would trust in him. Jesus had come to redeem mankind and show the way to the Father and his mission was finished. He had accomplished all that he had come to do.

Jesus’ death was a part of the plans and purposes of God. He died to bring salvation to many. And when he dealt with our sin, it was once and for all. It was finished.

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Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Orange Cross Title

Reading the Word

Matthew 27:45–50 (ESV)

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Each of the four Gospels give us different details about Jesus’ last moments on the cross. We will look at each over the next few days. Matthew tells us that Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is a direct quote from Psalm 22:1 Many misunderstood Jesus’ words and thought he was calling out for Elijah (the words in Aramaic sound similar). The crowd continued to mock Jesus by saying “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” After crying out again, we read that Jesus died.

What was it like for Jesus? We get a sense as he quotes from Psalm 22:1. He felt abandoned and forgotten by God. He was innocent, but he was suffering as if he were guilty. How could God allow such a thing? Psalm 22 was written by David who, on at a certain level, felt the same. God had abandoned him to his enemies. As we read on in Psalm 22, we also see that David continued to trust in God for his deliverance. As Jesus quoted from David’s psalm, we should take the time to read it all, knowing that Jesus was also trusting in the Father even in the midst of his suffering.

Psalm 22:1–31 (ESV)

1  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
2  O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest.

3  Yet you are holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel.
4  In you our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and you delivered them.
5  To you they cried and were rescued;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

6  But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
7  All who see me mock me;
they make mouths at me; they wag their heads;
8  “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him;
let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”

9  Yet you are he who took me from the womb;
you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts.
10  On you was I cast from my birth,
and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11  Be not far from me,
for trouble is near,
and there is none to help.

12  Many bulls encompass me;
strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
13  they open wide their mouths at me,
like a ravening and roaring lion.

14  I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint;
my heart is like wax;
it is melted within my breast;
15  my strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to my jaws;
you lay me in the dust of death.

16  For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
17  I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
18  they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.

19  But you, O LORD, do not be far off!
O you my help, come quickly to my aid!
20  Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog!
21  Save me from the mouth of the lion!
You have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen!

22  I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you:
23  You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him,
and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
24  For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.

25  From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
my vows I will perform before those who fear him.
26  The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
those who seek him shall praise the LORD!
May your hearts live forever!

27  All the ends of the earth shall remember
and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
shall worship before you.
28  For kingship belongs to the LORD,
and he rules over the nations.

29  All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30  Posterity shall serve him;
it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31  they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn,
that he has done it.

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He Cannot Save Himself

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Reading the Word

Matthew 27:33–44 (ESV)

33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.

Parallel Texts: Mark 15:22-32; Luke 23:33-38

Understanding and Applying the Word

As Jesus hung on the cross, the mocking and verbal abuse continued. The religious leaders were offended that Pilate had placed a sign above Jesus that read “King of the Jews.” However, Pilate would not remove or change it. Instead, many made fun of Jesus’ claim to be the Messiah by telling him to “come down from the cross” with a promise to believe if he did so.

The religious leaders mocked because they did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah or the Son of God. But they were wrong. Jesus was who he claimed to be. He could not come down from the cross because his death was needed to bring salvation to the world. However, in just a couple of days, he was going to do something greater than coming down from the cross. Jesus was going to rise from the grave. Yet, even with the miracle of the resurrection, many would refuse to believe.

Jesus made many grand claims while he was on this earth. He claimed to be the Messiah and the Son of God. Such claims are difficult to believe, but the resurrection is the evidence of the truth of his claims. However, even with this evidence, many continue to reject Jesus. Why? Because if he is who he claimed to be, then our lives can never be the same. Our sin must be dealt with. We must repent and turn to Jesus for forgiveness.

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Father, Forgive Them

1 John 19 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Luke 23:32–34 (ESV)

32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.

Parallel Texts: Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:27; John 19:18

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus was crucified as a criminal though he was innocent of any crime. An innocent man hung on a cross between two men who were truly criminals. But this was the plan and purpose of God. Jesus knew this. He knew he had to die as a sacrifice for our sins. So, when he looked out from the cross at those who were responsible for his suffering, he did not seek vengeance. He said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus sought forgiveness for the guilty, which was his mission from the very beginning.

Today, Jesus seeks the same for you and me. We too have sinned against God and are guilty. We deserve the wrath of God. However, Jesus gave himself as a sacrifice for our sins to pay the penalty that we cannot. When we repent of our sins and turn to him in faith, Jesus says, “Father, forgive them.” And the Father does. What a wonderful and merciful Savior!

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Take Up Your Cross

brown wooden cross

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Reading the Word

Mark 15:20–21 (ESV)

20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.

21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.

Parallel Texts: Matthew 27:31-32; Luke 23:26

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus had been flogged multiple times in the previous hours. Those beatings left him battered and too weak to carry his cross to the execution site. Therefore, the Roman soldiers drafted a man named Simon to carry Christ’s cross for him. We really know nothing more of Simon other than this incident. Some speculate that Simon’s son, Rufus, may be the same Rufus that Paul mentions in Romans 16:13. If so, perhaps this encounter had a profound impact on him. However, there is no way to be sure.

Jesus calls on all of his followers to take up their cross and follow him (Matthew 16:24-26). We are called to not simply be spectators of Christ’s pain and suffering, but we are called to live out Jesus’ teachings and to expect the same kinds of rejection and suffering that Jesus received. It is a small price to pay to belong to Christ and it is a great honor to follow in his steps.

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A Crown of Thorns

crown of thorns

Reading the Word

Matthew 27:27–31 (ESV)

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. 28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.

Parallel Texts: Mark 15:16-20; John 19:2-3

Understanding and Applying the Word

The soldiers mocked Jesus. The dressed him in makeshift attire to present him as a ridiculous and pathetic king. They put a crown made from thorns on his head. They put a reed as a scepter in his hand. They put a scarlet robe on him. And they bowed down before him, not to worship, but to laugh at and make fun of Jesus. They called out “Hail, King of the Jews” and then spit on him and hit him with the reed. When they were finished with their fun, the soldiers stripped him of his scarlet robe and put him back in his regular clothes before leading him off to be crucified.

This event fulfilled what Jesus had told his disciples in Matthew 20:19. None of this came as a surprise to Jesus. He knew that he would be rejected by all people, both Jew and Gentile. Jesus, the Messiah and Creator, visited mankind, but was rejected, mocked, and murdered. Little did the people realize what would soon take place. Jesus would rise victorious from the dead in a demonstration of his power and authority. And one day he will return as promised to this world and every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. There will be no mocking on that day, only recognition of who Jesus is: the King of kings and Lord of lords.

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Motivated by What Is Right

The Flagellation of Christ

The Flagellation of Christ – Public Domain

Reading the Word

Mark 15:15 (ESV)

15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Parallel Texts: Matthew 27:26; John 19:16

Understanding and Applying the Word

In this single verse, we read of how an innocent Jesus ended up on a cross for crucifixion. Pilate, the Roman governor, wanted to please the crowd. The motivation was not doing what was right, but doing what was popular and best for himself, even if an innocent man had to die.

Sinfulness causes us all to do terrible things. Imagine what the world would be like if our political leaders did what was right rather than always looking to score political points. Imagine what the world would be like if we all were motivated by righteousness and justice rather than selfishness and personal gain. Our sin is why Jesus had to die. Our sin out him on the cross and his death was the solution to our sinfulness. Christ the Just was sacrificed as payment for our sins. All who repent of their sin and trust in Jesus will be saved and that salvation is the promise of a new world where sin and evil are no more.

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The Difference a Few Days Can Make

black calendar close up composition

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Reading the Word

John 16:16–22 (ESV)

16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 22 So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

Understanding and Applying the Word

Jesus told his disciples of his coming death and resurrection, but they did not understand him. He told them, “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” They would not see him because he would be dead and buried. However, they would see him again as he would be resurrected on the third day. The disciples would weep over Jesus’ death while the world celebrated that he was gone, but the disciples would experience great joy when they saw him alive again!

Imagine the emotional roller coaster that the disciples experienced when Jesus was first crucified and buried, but then rose from the dead. At his crucifixion, the disciples would have felt that the time they had spent with Jesus was all for nothing. They thought he was the promised Messiah, but now he was dead and nothing had changed. Then, when they saw him alive again, there would have been great joy and final confirmation that Jesus was who he had claimed to be.

The disciples were so emboldened by the resurrection that they went into the world telling everyone about it. They proclaimed the name of Jesus at the cost of beatings, imprisonments, and death. Why were they so driven and willing to die? Because they knew that Jesus had changed the world. He had made forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God possible. They had to preach this news! It was too important to keep quiet. We too should be emboldened because our Savior is risen! Christ has come and his life, death, and resurrection have changed everything. The news is too good to stay quiet.

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Oh, How He Loves Us

John 131 [widescreen]

Reading the Word

Mark 14:12–17 (ESV)

12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him, 14 and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.” 16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover. 17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve.

Parallel Texts: Matthew 26:17-20; Luke 22:7-14

Understanding and Applying the Word

As Jesus approached the cross, we are reminded that he was fully aware and fully in control of the events at hand. The disciples asked about preparations for the Passover. Jesus sent them ahead with very specific instructions regarding who would give them a place to gather and also what words to speak to the man. The disciples found everything just as Jesus had told them they would and they prepared the Passover.

When Jesus went to the cross, it was not because he had failed. It was the central part of God’s plan to redeem mankind. Jesus went to the cross willingly, knowing exactly what lay ahead, just as he knew about the man who would give them a place to prepare for the Passover meal. By doing this, he continued to show his gracious love for his people. He knew he had to suffer and die and he was willing to do it for each of us. Praise the Lord!

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