Bible Reading Day 164
Today we read John’s account of the last hours of Jesus’ life. Nailed to the cross after being scourged, He is about to complete His mission!
First the soldiers divide His garments and gambled for His robe, so it would not be torn apart. This fulfilled Psalm 22:18. Then Jesus looks at John and His mother Mary, and tells them that from now on theirs will be a mother/son relationship. John will take care of Mary.
Even at the point of knowing His mission is accomplished, Jesus is obediently fulfilling prophecies – “I thirst” brought fulfillment to another prophecy in the Psalms: Ps 69:21. After tasting the vinegar and gall, Jesus says “It is finished” and releases His spirit. Even in death, the Son of God is Lord of all!
Since the religious leaders did not want the bodies hanging on the cross on the Passover Sabbath (the next day, which started at nightfall), they ask Pilate to order that the legs of the three men be broken to hasten their death. But the soldiers find Jesus already dead, and check this by piercing His side with a spear, releasing blood and water (a sign of death). John tells us this as an eyewitness, so that we can believe Jesus truly died. Even this act by the religious leaders caused two more prophecies to be fulfilled.
Then Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus get permission from Pilate to take down Jesus’ body. They wrap the body in linen cloths, with spices for embalming, then place it in a new tomb (which was most likely Joseph’s own burial plot). This was close, so they could complete their task before the sabbath began.
Clearly Nicodemus and Joseph also knew Jesus was dead – and treated His body the way anyone would for a dead friend. At this point no-one knew what we now know – that this was the beginning, not the end!
Have a great day!