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John 20





If the Gospel of John were any ordinary biography, it would have ended after chapter 19.  If it were any ordinary biography there wouldn’t have been anything else to say after the person of the biography had died.

But this is no ordinary biography.  It is not an ordinary biography because its subject is no ordinary man.  It is not an ordinary biography because the story of the man continued in a most miraculous way after His death.  Indeed, His story continues even today.

It is important to remember that the Christian faith is based upon two facts.  One of those is the empty cross.  The other is the empty tomb.  

The cross must necessarily be empty because the wages of sin is death.  Because it is Jesus had to die on the cross to pay the debt for and absorb the wrath of our sin.  If Jesus were still alive on the cross, we would most certainly still be in our sin.

The tomb must necessarily be just as empty.  If Jesus is still in the tomb, He is still dead.  If He is still dead, He has not been resurrected.  If He has not been resurrected, He is not who He said He was.  If He is not who He said He was, then we have believed a gross lie.  And, as the Bible says, we are most miserable people.  

But because the cross and the tomb are both empty, we have undeniable proof of the salvific work that Jesus accomplished, that only Jesus could accomplish.  What a Savior!  O what a Savior.

Of course, throughout the ages there have been many theories put forth to undermine the reality of the resurrection.  One of those is the Jewish religious leaders came and took the body.  Of course, this is ludicrous.  The last thing they would have wanted is anyone believing that Jesus was actually raised from the dead.

Another theory was the disciples came and took the body and hid it.  This one falls apart on a couple of levels.  One, if they did that, why did they go to the tomb on that Sunday morning to look for the body?  Two, with a Roman guard stationed at the tomb, it would have been impossible for the disciples to defeat those soldiers, get into the tomb, and steal the body.

A third theory is that Jesus didn’t actually die but “swooned” on the cross.  This theory goes one to say that he somehow revived while in that tomb, was able to get that huge rock rolled away from the tomb’s entrance, and escape with the Roman guard seeing Him.  That is just as ludicrous.

All of that leaves us with just one possibility.  Jesus is indeed alive.  He was raised from the dead.  And His resurrection indisputably proves His identity.

I would leave you with this.  Notice that as the chapter progresses, Jesus appeared three different times.  The first was an appearance to Mary and her tears of grief were turned to tears of uncontainable gladness.  The second was an appearance to the disciples locked away in the upper room and their fear was turned to uncommon fearlessness.  The third was an appearance to Thomas and his doubt was turned to double assurance.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

John 19





There is so much in this chapter that needs to be talked about.  But there is so little space on this page to deal with it all.  For example, we could talk about how so many prophecies were fulfilled in this chapter.  And so many of them were fulfilled by people who were pagans.  In verse 11, we could talk about the concept of a “greater sin” which must mean there are lesser sins which must mean there are degrees of punishment in hell.  We could talk about the staggering statement made by the Jewish religious leaders in verse 15: “We have no king but Caesar”.  They not only rejected Jesus in that statement.  They literally turned their back on the one, true God that they were so convinced they were defending in this fiasco. 

But where I would like to spend some time today is in verse 30.  It is in this verse that we read not only about the death of Jesus but also the last words He spoke.  After a swallow of sour wine or vinegar, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  That is one word in the Greek language: Tetelestai.  It was on one hand a very common word of the day.  On the other hand, it is most uncommon because of how much it revealed.

The word tetelestai means “It is finished.  It stands finished.  It will always be finished.”  In Romans 6:10, the Bible says that Jesus died “once for all”.  In other words, He died one time.  He will not die again.  And the death that He died He died for “all” – all the sin of all the people of all time.  When you compare that to the daily animal sacrifices the Jewish people participated in, you begin to get some idea of just how amazing what Jesus accomplished is.  And when you think about the fact that all that animal blood never resolved the sin issue but just covered it up, you begin to get some idea of just how awesome what Jesus accomplished is.

But I want to get back to the word tetelestai.  Although most of us are quite unfamiliar with that word, it was a very common word when Jesus walked on the earth.  It was actually used by various people in a variety of settings.

For example, a servant would have used it when reporting back to his master that he had finished the work or the task that he had been given.  Jesus actually spoke to that in John 17:4.

Another example is that a priest would have it used when after inspecting an animal submitted for sacrifice and found it faultless and acceptable for a sacrifice.  Jesus, of course, was the perfect Lamb of God, totally acceptable to God as the ultimate sacrifice.

A third example is when an artist would complete a painting or a writer would complete a manuscript, he would say, “Tetelestai”.  In other words, the effort is completed and the project is done.

A final example came from merchants and financial transactions.  Once a debt owed to a merchant was paid in full, he would declare it “Tetelestai”.  Jesus paid our sin debt in full.  

There is one last thing I want you to think about from this passage, particularly in verse 30.  The last phrase in this verse: He “gave up His spirit”.  There is much in this simple phrase.  But the main thing, for me anyway, is that no one killed Jesus and no one took His life.  He gave up His life.  While it is true that He was beaten, mutilated, and crucified, He allowed that to happen or it would never have happened.  Jesus gave up His life for us.

What a Savior!  Oh, what a Savior!


Posted by Joe Ligon with

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