JOHN 19:28-37 SO WHEN JESUS HAD RECEIVED THE SOUR WINE, HE SAID, “IT IS FINISHED!”

15Mar

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!" 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. 31 ¶ Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should 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 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was 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 immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. 36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken." 37 And again another Scripture says, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced."

 Here we see the final prophecy being fulfilled as Jesus knows all else has been fulfilled, He says I thirst. He has completed everything else He was supposed to do and then He fulfills one last Scripture by saying He thirsts and they give Him the sour wine. He says it is finished and gives up His spirit. It is finished is an accounting term that means your debt has been paid in full. Jesus paid for all our sins on the cross. He suffered 3 hours spiritually when it was dark and He was taking our hell for us as our substitute during that time period. That is why the old song can say Jesus paid it all. There is nothing left for you and I to do but to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved Acts 16:31. Have you done that? If not, you need to because no one will make it to Heaven unless they trust in what Jesus did on that cross and add nothing to it to be saved. It was the day before the Sabbath and the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross so that they might not defile themselves. These people cared more about their rituals than about killing Jesus. Lastly we see that the soldiers came and fulfilled two more prophecies by piercing Jesus side and not breaking his legs. We see the water and the blood comes out and it proves without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is dead. To find out about the symbolism behind the water and the blood you will have to listen to the message..

 I am amazed at the words of verse 28. Jesus knew that everything was completed. He was no helpless victim, powerless, and therefore subject to the whims of those who had arrested Him. Jesus was aware of every Scripture that spoke of His atoning death as the promised Messiah. In the last few weeks especially, Jesus has been orchestrating events so that His death would perfectly fulfill all these prophecies. In the final moments of His life, Jesus takes note of the fact that every prophetic detail has been arranged for so that He now may proceed to complete His mission, in a way that fulfills the remaining prophecies concerning His death.

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!"

Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished.

Now how did He know that? Why, He knew it because He had omniscience. He knew everything. Jesus Christ was on a divine schedule with an omniscient eye moving step at a time and fulfilling every detail of prophecy. He knew exactly where He was; and He was saying to Himself, Well, I know that all things are now accomplished, except for one Scripture, Then He says at the end of verse 28, "...I thirst," Jesus, in total awareness of every fact in the universe, knew that in God's plan everything was done except one Scripture was left unfulfilled. Psalm 69:21 was that Scripture. Psalm 69:21 said of Christ in His death, And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.." He knew that that had not yet been fulfilled. At the beginning of the cross they had tried to give Him vinegar. Really, gall, which is a sedative; but He wouldn't take it so He could suffer without any kind of deadness but suffer the total pain, But now He knows that Scripture needs to be fulfilled, so He says, " I thirst." Jesus refused this because He insisted on drinking the “cup of God’s wrath” to the full (John 18:11). Now the soldiers didn't have to respond, they did because they were under divine motivation; God was moving to fulfill the prophecy.

29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. Mt 27:48

The hyssop reference may simply be a detail in the testimony of an eyewitness to Jesus' crucifixion. However, 1 Cor. 5:7) it's interesting that hyssop, a long reed with kind of a little more bushy end is what they used on this occasion because hyssop is very famous to all Jews, It takes them immediately back to Exodus 12:22. You remember that the angel of death was going to pass over Israel, and God said to the people of Israel, You take hyssop and take the blood and sprinkle on the doorposts and the lintel. Any time hyssop appears to the Jewish mind it's reminiscent of the great sacrifice of the Passover lamb, How fitting that hyssop should be the tool at this sacrifice of that final and greatest Passover Lamb. So they give Him to drink, and with that Jesus fulfilled every single prophecy. He was in full knowledge of every detail; He was in full control of everything He did and everything the soldiers did

The “wine” Jesus now accepts is a cheap wine. It did not deaden any of His pain. Our Lord’s thirst and His partaking of this “wine” seems to have served a two-fold purpose. First, it fulfilled Scripture:

My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death (Psalm 22:15, NKJV).

I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God Psalm 69:3,

There’s a spiritual thirst.  And I believe this, of course, is what Christ is screaming out and shouting out; that He’s thirsting spiritually. 

Second, it would seem as though the vinegar-like wine served to help clear the throat of our Lord, so that He could end His life triumphantly, with a shout. So far as John informs us, the “shout” is not, “It is completed,” but rather as Luke informs us, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). These two statements must have come in close proximity to each other, however. The words that John records were no doubt spoken first, and then were followed by the words that Luke records. John simply tells us that Jesus “said,” “It is completed.” Jesus declares that His work is completed, and then He gives up His Spirit.

30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

Joh 17:4

"Papyri receipts for taxes have been recovered with the word tetelestai written across them, meaning 'paid in full.

Paul would write in Second Corinthians 5:21, “He became sin for us.  He was made to be sin for us to finish that work.  Nothing more needs to be done.”

It really has been completed, hasn’t it? Everything for which John has been preparing us in this Gospel has now been accomplished by our Lord. John 1 declares that Jesus is the eternal Son of God, who called the world into being. He is the One sent to earth by the Father, in order to reveal Him to men. He is the One who “came unto His own place and to His own people,” and yet those who were “His own”—the Jews—rejected Him. He was “lifted up” so that He could draw all men unto Himself (3:13-18). He came to do His Father’s will (4:34) and has now completed it. He came to declare His Father’s Word, and He has proclaimed it (8:26-28, 38; 12:49-50; 14:10). He came to glorify the Father, and on the cross, He has done that (12:23, 28, 41; 13:32; 17:1, 4). It truly is finished; His task has been completed.

And because all of His prerequisite work has been completed, our Lord can now die. His life is not taken away from Him; He voluntarily gives it up, just as He had indicated earlier:

John 10:14-18 - 14 “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold. I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice, so that there will be one flock and one shepherd. 17 This is why the Father loves me—because I lay down my life, so that I may take it back again. 18 No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again. This is the commandment I received from my Father”

The phrase “bowed His head” is also a marvelous phrase.  It’s found in Matthew 8:20 and in Luke 9:58.  The phrase “bow His head,” you go back in your mind when they asked Jesus where He’s staying.  And He says what?  “The foxes have holes, the birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head.”  Same phrase.  The one place Jesus found to finally lay His head was on Calvary and He does it willfully, He does it obediently.  He does it in control.

The phrase “gave up” I’ve mentioned to you a number of times as we’ve gone through John for a deliberate reason.  The word “delivered, handed over” and the word used for Judas when he betrayed Him, when he delivered Him up.  “Delivered, handed over and/or betrayed”:  paradidomiSame word Jesus says here.  He delivers up His spirit.  What looks like a betrayal, what looks like handed over to the police, handed over to the Roman guard, handed over to the Jewish authorities.  What looks like He’s being delivered up, He Himself delivers up His spirit.  And I believe John uses this to illustrate, again, Christ is in control.  Nobody else is pulling the strings on this deal, Christ is the one who delivers up His spirit. 

Notice there is darkness, separation, and intense thirst, these all will be found in hell.

Simon Greenleaf years ago wrote a collection called The Testimony of the Evangelists. He was an attorney and, a student challenged him.  He was sort of notorious for vilifying Christians and how stupid they were; and some student challenged him, “Why don’t you use the same case law analysis that you teach to prove or disprove the resurrection?”

And this was sort of a novel idea and evidently Greenleaf took some time off from teaching, spent two years of his life tracking this thing down; and at the end of it, again, he wrote the book Testimony of the Evangelists saying that if the death, burial and resurrection of Christ was put on trial today there would be more than enough evidence to convict it.  In other words, to prove, that it actually happened and it brought Simon Greenleaf from an antagonistic person toward to Gospel to belief in Jesus Christ.  And there’s a Simon Greenleaf School of Law.

  1. We have a faith built on the inspired Word of God, notice the prophecies.
  2. It is a finished faith;.
    1. A cry of victory

This set of verses is unique to the fourth Gospel

31 ¶ Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should 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.

De 21:23; Mr. 15:42; Joh 19:42 These Jews considered sundown the beginning of a new day. In this case the new day was a Sabbath. This Sabbath was an extra special day because it fell during Passover week. The Jews wanted to get the bodies down off their crosses so they would not defile the land. The Mosaic Law instructed the Jews to allow no one to remain hanging on a cross overnight because this would defile the land. Such a person was under God's curse (cf. Deut. 21:22-23; Josh. 8:29). To allow someone to remain overnight on a Sabbath would be especially offensive.

De 21:2 "If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 "his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.

Time was running out for The Jews. They had been forced to go through the formalities of a trial and to obtain Pilate’s cooperation in the crucifixion of Jesus. They were still under great time constraints because this was the day of preparation; they must be done with this crucifixion by evening so they could begin to observe the Sabbath by evening. Normally, death by crucifixion would take much longer, and this was no problem to Rome. While the Romans liked to leave the bodies of those crucified exposed for some time, to serve as a warning to all, the Jews could not allow these bodies to remain exposed after nightfall. The men would have to die more quickly than normal so that their bodies could be taken down.

Rome had a solution for this situation.  A heavy hammer was used to crush the bones of the victims’ legs. This would make it impossible for those being crucified to push up with their legs in order to facilitate the breathing process. Once their leg bones were broken, the victims died within a short time. The soldiers therefore set out to break the legs of all three. For some reason, they started on the outside, waiting to deal with Jesus last. (Is it possible that having seen and heard the events of that day—such as the three hours of darkness—they were now reluctant to do further bodily harm to Jesus?) When they came to Him, it was apparent that He was already dead. There was no need to break His legs.

32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was 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 immediately blood and water came out. 1Jo 5:6,8

One of the soldiers must have wanted to make absolutely sure that Jesus was dead, so he thrust his spear into our Lord’s side. Immediately, both blood and water gushed out, a fact to which John gives special significance

Ex 17:6 "Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink." And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.

And much is made of this whole issue of blood and water.  Some think it has to do with the sacraments; others see a mystical reference to it.  All sorts of things. I do think the one thing John wants us to know for sure is that Jesus Christ really died.

I think, that John evidently intends to describe the incident as something entirely unexpected and marvelous, and that this explanation better suits the solemn asseveration of ver. 35. That the fact had a symbolic meaning to the Evangelist is evident from 1 John 5:6.[i] 6 This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.

1Jo 5:8 And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.

There may also be a symbolic meaning: the blood speaks of our justification, the water of our sanctification and cleansing. The blood takes care of the guilt of sin; the water deals with the stain of sin.[ii]

The blood and water illustrate two aspects of salvation: blood to atone for the guilt of sin, and water(symbolic of the word) to wash away the stain of sin. The blood speaks of justification and the water of sanctification. The two must always go together, for those who have trusted the blood of Christ to save them should live clean lives before a watching world.[iii]

Eph 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,

Tit 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

Eph 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

In the baptism of Christ He identified with sinners, didn't He?  He identified with sinners.  You see, baptism was baptism of repentance.  It was baptism of repentance.  He didn't have anything to repent of.  But there in that most unique way He told John, "You have to baptize Me."  John said no, the reverse is true.  And He said, "No, you have to baptize Me.  I need to fulfill all righteousness."  And there He was in His baptism identifying with sinners and defining the reason He came.  And the Father gave witness, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."  Jesus arrives from Galilee where He's been with His disciples and desires to be baptized by him, by John. Even though there is no sin for Jesus to repent of, and there's no need for Jesus to be washed on the inside, God requires this of all His people and I will do all that God requires.  I will do it in order to fulfill all righteousness.  Whatever it is that God requires of His people, I will do."  He was fully human and He obeyed God's Law in full.  That was the perfection of His life, which by the way, as we know was imputed to our account.  And so He says, "I must fulfill all righteousness. the gospel of John, I always think it's an interesting note, chapter 1 verse 32, "And John the Father says to him, "The one on whom the Spirit descends, this is the one who is coming to baptize with fire."

 And the second divine testimony was given at His blood, as it were, or at His death, that at the end of His ministry...at the end.  That too defined His ministry because as He had identified with sinners in going into the waters of a baptism of repentance, He fully identified with sinners at the cross by taking their punishment.  Those are tremendously defining events, two monumental experiences bracketing His ministry of redemption.  And so the Father says, "I gave testimony at His baptism, testimony at His death."

Second half of verse 6, quite interesting, just in case you missed it, "This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and with the blood."  Well what a strange thing to say.  Why, did You think we were going to deny the second one?  Did You think we were going to say that You only gave testimony at His baptism, that only at His baptism did You identify with Him?  Only at His baptism was He Your Son?  Only at His baptism did You say, 'This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased,' and that You didn't affirm Him, You didn't give testimony to Him, You didn't witness to Him at His death?  Did You think we were going to say that?  And is that why You said, "With the water, not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood?"  Exactly right...that's exactly what I knew you'd say. By the end of the first century when John wrote this, sometime after 90 A.D., a serious heresy had already developed which said that Jesus was God's Son at His baptism, but not at the cross.  That the Christ's Spirit descended on Him at His baptism and left Him before the cross so that Jesus came by water, the Christ's Spirit came by water, not by blood.  That is that His baptism was a revelation that He was the anointed of God but the Christ who was baptized was very different than the Jesus who was killed.  The Christ's Spirit who came upon that man at His baptism departed before the cross and the Jesus who was crucified was nothing but a mere man.

35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. Purpose is John 20:20-21

1Jo 1:1 ¶ That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—

2Pe 1:16 ¶ For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.

Same in 1 John 5 The purpose of God's witness, God's witness through the water & the blood, , the purpose of all of God's witness that essentially is the New Testament, is that you might have eternal life and this life is in His Son.  Go down to verse 20, right toward the end of this epistle, "We know the Son of God has come."  How do we know that?  Because of the testimony of God now recorded on the pages of the inspired Scripture.  "And has given us understanding in order that we might know Him who is true and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ, this is the true God and eternal life...and eternal life."  It's always about eternal life.

36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, "Not one of His bones shall be broken."

Ex 12:46; Nu 9:12; Ps 34:20

Once again, John wishes us to see that the things which took place at Calvary were the very things God had prophesied.  Jesus, by giving up His life earlier than expected, was spared from having His legs broken. John sees in this a fulfillment of prophecy. Though the Old Testament text that is fulfilled is not indicated, very likely it comes from Exodus 12 or Psalm 34:20, or both:

Exodus 12:43-46, 43 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it. 44 But every man’s servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he may eat it. 45 A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it. 46 In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones”

Nu 9:12 'They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones. According to all the ordinances of the Passover they shall keep it.

Psalm 34:20, He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken (NKJV).

37 And again another Scripture says, "They shall look on Him whom they pierced." Ps 22:16-17; Zec 12:10; Re 1:7

What a profound prophesy.  They’re going to see the Christ crucified, the One they’ve pierced, the only begotten, the One and only and they’re going to mourn.  And then John, when he writes the Revelation writes in Revelation 1:7:
BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, . . . every eye will see Him,

Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn”.

The piercing of the side of our Lord was prophetically necessary, since Zechariah 12:10 refers to the Messiah. And so what John describes is what Zechariah foretold. Everything was truly going according to God’s plan. Not one prophecy failed to be fulfilled.

I am sure that the events which occurred at the cross had a great impact on those who witnessed the death of our Lord. The centurion was convinced from what he saw that Jesus was the Son of God. Some of those who heard Peter preach at Pentecost may well have witnessed our Lord’s death at Calvary. Luke 23:48 tells us that the multitudes, when they beheld this sight, went away beating their breasts. It was a horrible day for those who thought it might be entertaining. I wonder how many of these folks were later saved.

If you are a Christian, you should be stirred in your soul every time you read of our Lord’s death. We should never tire of remembering Him and His death, as our Lord commanded (see Luke 22:19; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:23ff.). We should take every temptation to sin seriously, knowing what our sin cost Him at Calvary. We should never cease to preach Christ crucified, for this is what the gospel is all about.

Thirty years later, on this very spot, judgment was pronounced against some of the best citizens of Jerusalem. Of the 3,600 victims of the governor’s fury, not a few were scourged and crucified! Judas died in a loathsome suicide, the house of Annas was destroyed some years later, Caiaphas was removed a year after the crucifixion, and Pilate was soon after banished to Gaul and there died in suicide. When Jerusalem fell, her wretched citizens were crucified around her walls until, in the historian’s grim language, ‘space was wanting for the crosses, and crosses for the bodies.’ The horrors of the siege of Jerusalem are unparalleled in history.

In the Synoptic Gospels, we read a great deal concerning the mockery of the crowds, of the Jewish religious leaders, of the Roman soldiers, and even of the two thieves. But John passes these matters by. Why? I think there is a good reason, one that makes a lot of sense once you stop to think about it—John wants our Lord Jesus to be central and preeminent in his account of the death of the Savior at Calvary. Jesus is center stage in John, as He ought to be. Calvary is about a cross, the cross of Jesus Christ. It is He alone, through His cross, who saves sinners. Let us never lose this focus. We need to see that the punishment that He took is the punishment that we deserved. Totally.  Every time a sacrifice occurred in the Old Testament, even up until Christ’s time, I think there’s great importance in putting your hand on that animal and slaying him.  That should be you.  It should be your blood.  You should pay for this.  And He did it for us.  Therein is, I think, the compelling part of the human conscience.  Someone else took my penalty.

Lu 23:49 But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Mr. 8:36 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

 John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. Have you trusted Him as your Savior? He can Save you if You ask Him based on His death, burial, and resurrection for your sins. Believe in Him for forgiveness of your sins today.

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“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  -John 8:32

The world is trying to solve earthly problems that can only be solved with heavenly solutions.

[i] Vincent, M. R. (1887). Word studies in the New Testament (Jn 19:34). New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

[ii] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Jn 19:31). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[iii] Wiersbe, W. W. (1992). Wiersbe’s expository outlines on the New Testament (265). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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