John 19 - Part III
Final Words of Jesus
While on the cross, Jesus made seven statements, but not all of them are recorded
by all four writers of the gospels. These will be considered in the order and
context as best as can be determined, and hopefully will broaden and deepen
our spiritual understanding of the event.
The last statements (he was crucified at the third hour - Mark 15:25):
1. Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34 - 3rd to 6th hour).
2. Verily I say to thee today, thou shalt be with me in the paradise (Luke 23:43 - 3rd to 6th hour)
3. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. (John 19:26-27 - 3rd to 6th hour)
4. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34 - 9th hour)
5. I thirst (John 19:28 - 9th hour); (then He received the vinegar - or sour wine)
6. It is finished. (John 19:30 - 9th hour)
7. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46 - 9th hour)
There is a significance to the order of the statements, and a progression. The first words of Jesus on the cross were to forgive his enemies - those crucifying him. Jesus demonstrated by example, the principle of love that he taught when he summed up the law: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself (Matthew 22:37, 39).
The second statement concerned the dialog of the two thieves crucified with him: Luke 23:32, 39-43: 32. And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. ....39. And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him saying, If you be the Christ, save thyself and us. 40. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Do not you fear God, seeing you are in the same condemnation? 41. And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man has done nothing amiss. 42. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when you come into thy kingdom. 43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee today, thou shall be with me in paradise. I see the two thieves as figures of all humanity (John 10:8). In verse 43, translators put the comma after “thee.” However, Jesus did not go to heaven that day, as is taught by many. So, the correct place for the comma after the word “today,” which corrects the meaning of the verse - I say to you this day,...
The first thief clung to the general teaching of the Jews that the Messiah would destroy Israel’s enemies and set the nation up to rule the world. Because Jesus received the same treatment as a thief and a murderer, he doubted him to be the Messiah. He could not see past the doctrine he was taught concerning the kind of Messiah to expect. It is the same principle today, when Christians are believing and expecting a different Christ.
The second man acknowledged his sinful condition, and asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom. Likely, the second man believed the same thing as the first, but realized that Jesus was different, and unjustly treated as a thief. When Jesus responded he used the word paradise instead of kingdom. We know that a kingdom in inward, and each kingdom is different. i.e. Our kingdom is our individual understanding, and we reign over it, just as Jesus reigns over his spiritual kingdom. Jesus responded with the word “paradise” because he referred with a figure, to a special place, like a well watered garden. Jesus was making a promise to the thief: Revelation 2:7: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. The tree of life is Christ (Proverbs 3:13, 18) and the garden of Eden is the mind of God (Ezekiel 28:13; Isaiah 58:11).
Next, Jesus provided for his aging mother via the apostle John, and which today, can be viewed as a type. John 19:26-27: 26. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27. Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. A woman in scripture is used as a symbol for a way of thinking: Galatians 4:26: Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. John is the only disciple who stood at the foot of the cross. He is a type of those who will come to understand the Father and Son before the return of Jesus, and be perfected in the Father’s character (name - Revelation 14:1). Then, the mother of Jesus is a type for new Jerusalem or the mind of Christ. Philippians 2:5: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
In the final hours of Jesus’ life, when he begins those last statements, something unusual happens - darkness covers the land from the 6th to the 9th hour. It is not caused by the moon passing between the earth and sun, as it is a time of full moon, when the sun is opposite the moon. It must have been something God brought about for the specific reason that, as we behold the cross and the events, we can receive an understanding.
The 4th statement and 1st after darkness covered the land: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46). Where do you put the emphasis in that statement, and why was Jesus feeling the darkness of separation? The next statement of Jesus was I thirst - i.e. help me understand this situation and why You are forsaking me.
There is a Psalm which reveals the answer to Jesus’ question. Here is a portion of it, beginning with the question: Psalms 22:1-5: 1. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2. O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you hear not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3. But thou art holy, O you that inhabit the praises of Israel. 4. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and you did deliver them. 5. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
Do you see the contrast here? Why have you forsaken me? You are not helping me and not listening to my cries for help. I cry day and night and you do not hear me. They cried to you, and you delivered them.
Psalms 22:6-8: 6. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8. He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
Worm: Isaiah 41:14: Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel...; Isaiah 66:24: And they (the righteous) shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh. Jacob is a type for the unconverted (whose name has not been changed by wrestling with the angel, Genesis 32:24-28), who have not changed from their way of thinking to God’s. Therefore a worm is a symbol for the old man (cf Ephesians 4:20-32). Those rejecting Jesus have made him to be just like themselves. They laugh at me, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him. (implying the Jews concept of a worldly deliverance from Rome)
The phrase shoot out the lip is similar to shooting arrows (Psalms 64:3) or speaking bitter words, as they shake the head from side to side in a negative way, another indication of rejection.
Psalms 22:9-13: 9. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: you did make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. 10. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly. 11. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. 12. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. 13. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
Bashan (Baw-Shawn h1316): In ancient Hebrew, the name means sandy soil. The concept is defined in Psalms 69:22: The Lord said, I will bring again from Bashan, I will bring my people again from the depths of the sea: As John stood on the sand of the sea, what did he see rising out of the sea? A beast with a mouth like a lion, feet like a bear and spots like a leopard (Revelation 13:1-2). They rend me with prideful words, like lion tearing its prey.
Psalms 22:14-15: 14. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. 15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd (clay pot); and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
Dust covers the earth, or the natural man. After Adam’s fall the Lord, told him that he was dust and would return to dust (Genesis 3:19). Everyone expects to die, but the death of which Christ speaks, and to which he is being brought, is death to self, or the death of the old man. The foundation of the natural man is in the dust (Job 4:19). But, with the water of His word, God will wash away the dust of the earth (Job 14:19).
Psalms 22:16-18: 16. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. 17. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. 18. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. (clothing = character: explain Christ’s character different ways).
Dog: Proverbs 26:11: As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly. Isaiah explains what this means: Isaiah 28:7-8: 7. But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. 8. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean. Peter refers to a type of people as “wells without water, reserved in darkness” (2Peter 2:17-22), who once knew the truth, but returned to their old ideas. Judas is a type of those who are given the truth, even teach it. But in the end, return to their own way of believing, referred to as vomit.
Psalms 22:19-22: 19. But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me. 20. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power (h3027) of the dog. 21. Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. 22. I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
There begins a change and Christ is asking for deliverance from what he is doing. The proper Hebrew for power (h3027) is hand, a symbol for power or works. Deliver my soul from my sharp words (sword); my only one - the Father (darling), from my works. Save me from the lion's mouth - Shut the lion’s mouth that is within me.
Unicorn is the Hebrew word reym (h7214) appearing nine times. Apparently scholars do not know what it means. In the KJ it is rendered as unicorn, but in other versions as wild ox. The root (h7213) means to rise, lift up but in a negative way. Young translates the noun as high places. I believe the word abstractly refers to the high places of Baal worship (Numbers 22:41; 1Kings 12:32; 13:32). The root of the word for horn (h7161) is qaran (h7160), a word meaning to shine. Figuratively, a horn is a projection of light (Habrews 3:3-4). The beast in Revelation 13:1-2 has 10 horns, a figure of projecting its own light and own authority, which it gets from the dragon. Verse 21 above should actually read: Save me from the lion's mouth; from the horns of the high places: you have heard me. i.e. You have heard me projecting the high places. You have heard me in my pride projecting my own understanding. Philippians 2:7-8: 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
John states: John 19:28-30: 28. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost (literally - yielded his breath - i.e. he expired).
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, or the sour wine, he said, It is finished. When you think about the words in Psalms 22, Jesus was saying in his heart, “I want to be like God. I want the people to worship me the same way they worship the Father.” In the final moments of his life on the cross, he saw his own desires (vinegar - sour wine) as a contrast to what God desired. Is that not how the natural man conducts his personal life - opposite to the way of God? The whole point of the cross is so that by God allowing his Son to be put to death by sinful men, demonstrates that He loved us as much as his Son. A second point is that when we obtain a correct and full understanding of the cross we can see that, inwardly, Jesus was without blemish; outwardly, he was portraying the natural man - thorns: cares of the world that bring guilt; naked: shame for what we have done; strips: the things done to us by others; nailed to a wooden cross: by our perverted understanding, we have made God like unto ourselves.
Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38. And the
veil of the temple
was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. 39. And when the
centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave
up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. Only
the high priest could enter the last veil, which is a type for the flesh that
covers our understanding (2Corinthians 3:12-18), and preventing us from seeing
the Father. Until we enter the experience of our high Priest, Jesus Christ,
will continue to cover our land. But when we enter, then, like Jesus, we can
say: Luke 23:46: ..."Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And
having said this he breathed his last (RV). When we fully commit our spirits
to God, then will the last bit of self be breathed out, and we will be one
with the Father and the Son, in answer to Jesus’ prayer (John 17:20-21),
and we can say, Truly this man was the Son of God. Amen.