John 19:16-42 – Are We Living or Dying?
Yesterday, I taught my second to last class on the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke). We discussed the crucifixion and the resurrection.
What is interesting to me about John’s gospel is the things he notes about Jesus during the crucifixion. Jesus is deeply concerned for his mother. Jesus also pronounces “It is finished.” That phrase in the Greek denotes that a transaction took place.
The transaction was one that paid the debt of sin, through the exchange of a perfect life for the lives of imperfect humanity. The other Gospels draw out Jesus’ death; whereas, John shows the ways Jesus fulfilled OT Scriptures in his death. John also shifts the tone in his writing. Normally his Gospel is laden with emotion, but for this series of verses, John is presenting facts.
In V. 35 John even writes, “The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.” John is using this tone shift to say, “this is reality, and I’m using this reality to lead to an even greater reality that is harder to believe.” (We will look at that next time)
John wants us to take in the reality of Jesus’ death while we contemplate the implications. And while we contemplate he writes about the two men, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, who prepare his body for burial.
Without being morbid or long-winded, I want to say a word about death because in about 2 months I will be entering a vocation where I am expecting to become more familiar and perhaps more comfortable with it. I believe the only way to be comfortable with death is to take away its sting.
I think that is done through restitution, eager expectation of eternity with Jesus, and gratitude. I also think living life not afraid of death or rejection is liberating.
My prayer is to be a person that shows others that death does not have the last word, rather our life in Christ echoes after a last breath.
Chapter 19 concludes with Jesus’ body being laid in a tomb. It is written with a sense of rest in order to prepare us for the final two chapters which recount resurrection life. The suffering and death Jesus endured made room for life.
Now we live it until we’ve finished.