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What I have Written, I have Written, Part 1

From the series Jesus Unfiltered - Testify

One of the reasons crime, and law and order shows do so well is because we love to judge for ourselves whether or not the accused is innocent or guilty. Chip dives into one of the most controversial trials in all of history by revealing the evidence and examining some of the testimonies of eye witnesses.

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Message Transcript

I don’t know about you, but I often get the mail, and when you bring in the mail, you tend to shuffle through it. And as you shuffle through the mail, every now and then, not very often, but every now and then you get an envelope.

Official document – do not destroy. And about ninety-nine percent of the population,

when you see this and then you see where it says the next two words, you groan, right? “Jury duty.”

And then you open a letter and you open this letter, and all of your mind goes to, as you glance at the date, what and how can I get out of this? And then, in the letter, it lists like fifteen ways that, no, that won’t work. That won’t work. That won’t work. That won’t work unless this, this, this, this, and this – it won’t work either. And you just realize, Ugh. I’ve got jury duty. Now, I understand we need good juries, but most of us don’t want to serve on them. But I have had the unique opportunity of serving on three.

And if you get there, first of all, you get called. And then, especially if you get chosen for the jury, the judge will be very clear, “This is my role.” Then he will explain the attorneys and the defense attorney, prosecuting attorney.

And then they talk about the role of witnesses, the role of you as the jury, and then they will give a charge and they will bring someone in who has been accused of, usually, a very serious crime.

And it will say, “You twelve have the responsibility to come back with a verdict. He is being charged with this.” And then those classic words, “Can you find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?”

And then you sit in a room with eleven other people and you listen to witness give testimony after testimony after testimony and you do two things: what are the facts? What are the implications of the facts? And then, what is the verdict? What is true? What is not true? Is this person guilty or not? And in John chapter 19, John is going to finish up the section of these testimonies.

As you open your notes, here’s the question: is Jesus the unique Savior of the world, or not? He has been making the case for eighteen chapters. Is He guilty of this or not? And what we are going to see is that section of Scripture where Jesus is going to be sentenced to be crucified, we will actually witness His crucifixion, and then His actual death.

And what you’ll see is in this chapter, there are four very specific testimonies from very different sources.

I want you to actually follow along, read with me, because I want you to see what’s here. Chapter 19. Jesus is sentenced to death. “Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and they put it on His head. And they clothed Him in a purple robe and went up to Him again and again, saying, ‘Hail, O king of the Jews!’ as they struck Him in the face, and mocked Him as a king. Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, ‘Look, I am bringing Him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against Him.’”

And then imagine this picture and imagine who this really is. He has been beaten within an inch of His life, He has this purple robe, He has thorns that pierce through His skull. Blood under His hair. And Pilate says, ironically, and in semi-jest and disgust, “Here is the man!” The response of the Jewish leaders and officials, “‘Crucify! Crucify!’ But Pilate said, ‘You take Him and crucify Him. As for me,’” notice again, “‘I find no basis for a charge against Him.’ The Jews insisted, ‘We have a law, according to the law He must die,’” – well, why? “because He claimed to be the Son of God.”

Equivalent, He claims to be God. “When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside,” and he is going to interrogate Jesus one more time. Pilate says, “‘Where do you come from?’ he asked. Jesus gave no answer.” Pilate, indignant, “Do You refuse to speak to me? Don’t you realize I have power either to free You or to crucify You?”

And Jesus, far from the victim, with calm and authority, even after being beaten, with full confidence, “‘You would have no power if it were not given to you from above. Therefore, the one who handed Me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’ From then on, Pilate set, and tried to free Him, but the Jews kept shouting, ‘If you let this Man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.’ When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out, he sat down at the judgment seat known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of the Passover week; about the sixth hour. ‘Here is your king,’ Pilate said to the Jews.”

And we know from the other gospels, he washed his hands, publicly, indicating, “His blood is not upon me,” and the other gospel writers will remind us that the crowd said, “Let His blood be upon us and our children.”

“Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!” Pilate, one more attempt, “Shall I crucify your king?” Now, think of this, as a Jew. The number one commandment, “You’ll have no idols. You’ll have no other gods before Me.” And the Jews and the Jewish leaders, “‘We have no king but Caesar,’” notice who answers, “the chief priests answered. And, finally, Pilate handed Him over to be crucified.”

In your notes, I just want you to notice what happened. Number one, He was flogged, then He was mocked by the soldiers, He was rejected by His own people, and twice by the official Roman government He was declared innocent.

If you have done any research or possibly in years past seen The Passion of the Christ, a rather graphic movie, and if you saw, it was a very accurate picture of someone being flogged. They took a pole and they would wrap you around a pole, tie you to the pole. And then they had, it was about a two-and-a-half-foot stick, and on that stick was rawhide that was anywhere from twelve to fifteen feet.

The last three or four feet would have pieces of bone and glass tied into it. According to Jewish law, you can only have thirty-nine lashes because no one lived beyond that. Forty lashes killed most people. Many people that were sentenced to be crucified, this was a standard procedure prior to crucifixion. And many people did not live through this. So by the time Jesus is brought back, He is, He has been within an inch of His life.

And then think about what happened where they are pretending He is a king and they dress Him in a robe. The other gospel writers say they spit on Him and they slapped Him.

And can you imagine the humiliation? Can you imagine the creation and the creatures that you made are treating you like this? Has anyone ever dissed you? Really dissed you or bullied you or done something to someone you love and everything inside of you just wants to step up and bust them? Well, He had the power to speak a word and He didn’t. See, meekness isn’t weakness. Meekness is power under control.

So, we see that He is sentenced. The next section, He is crucified, picking it up at verse 17. “So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying His own cross,” the way this would happen is, actually, He is carrying His own crossbeam, the vertical post would already be where the crucifixion is going to happen. The crossbeam would be placed on the shoulders and would be tied around His shoulders.

As you would carry this cross, or this beam, there would be someone with a placard, a Roman official, and your crime would be stated and they would go all over the city, as much, they would go through multiple streets for two reasons. One, only criminals or slaves were crucified. A Roman citizen was never bound, let alone crucified. And so, they wanted to let people know, “This is what happens when you violate the Roman government.

Second, which was very interesting, is that if anyone could come to your defense, they would actually pause and they could come out while the person is being processed and say, “This isn’t true; it’s a lie,” and they would do a small retrial, right on the spot.

And so, Jesus is being traipsed through the city, no one is coming to His defense, and then Pilate sort of has his moment back at the religious leaders. He knows it’s out of jealously, he knows it’s not true… and so he writes on, above the cross, in three languages. “‘JESUS OF NAZARATH, KING OF THE JEWS.’

Many of the Jews read this sign, on this place, and the chief priests and the Jews protested. They said, ‘Say that this man claimed to be the King of the Jews,’” and then Pilate has this classic statement, “‘What I have written, I have written.’ When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took His clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from the bottom to the top. ‘Let’s not tear it,’ they said to one another. So they decided by lot,” like dice, “who would get it. And this happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled, ‘They divided My garments among them and cast lots for my clothes.’” That’s from Psalm 22.

“So, this is what the soldiers did. Near the cross of Jesus stood His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdalene. When Jesus saw His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Dear woman, here is your Son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, the disciple took her into his home.”

The last moment was realizing that a single woman could not make it in this culture and the moral responsibility was for the son to take care of His mother and one of His last acts was to the apostle John, “You take care of mom from here on out.”

What you see is He carries the crossbeam, His crime is posted above Him, His clothes are divided. And it’s interesting, the seamless garment, often, this would be something that a mother would give as a gift for her son. In all likelihood, it could have been something that Mary gave Jesus.

Some other scholars who have done some research say that, actually, this was a very expensive garment, the kind described here. And it could have been from His mother or it could have been from some of the wealthy benefactors. And it was probably the most valued.

And what we will see in just a little bit is it’s so interesting that a thousand years before crucifixion was invented, prophetically, David will write in Psalm 22 this actual passage that, “They divided my garments and cast lots.”

It’s really interesting, John is piecing together the evidence. And the God who came to this planet that loves you and me is now taken and laid down and either through just above the wrist they have put the nails, His knees will be bent and turned sideways, overlapped with one another, and they’ll put spikes into those. There will be a small, little pole initially so that He can get up and He will be hung off and His arms will be tied as well.

Crucifixion, what you died was usually from suffocation. And as you would pull down, your body weight is here and then as you would lift up, your legs would rip. Often, crucifixion took two to three days. Gangrene would set in. But then as you would pull yourself up, you would gasp for air, so the desire to survive is so strong that you would pull yourself up, causing excruciating pain and then you would sink down, as you sink down then all your joints – later, your joints fall out of place. They are dislocated.

It has been said it is the most excruciating torture ever invented for human beings upon one another. And so Jesus will experience that and, notice, it’s willful.

Notice the text goes on and we find out what happens. The death of Jesus, verse 28. “Later, knowing that all had been completed,” Jesus was on a mission and an assignment, “and so that,” you might notice, “the Scriptures would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ And a jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge on it, put the sponge on a stalk of hyssop plant, and lifted it up to Jesus’ lips. When He had received the drink, He said, ‘It is finished.’ And with that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

“Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. And because the Jews did not want bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to break the legs of the bodies and the soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those on the other side. But when they came to Jesus, they found that He had already died. They did not break His legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of both blood and water. And the man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies to you, that you may also believe. These things happened so the Scripture would be fulfilled: ‘Not one of His bones was broken,’ and as another Scripture says, ‘They will look on the One whom they have pierced.’”

And so you have this moment where Jesus, first of all, He voluntarily dies. This phrase that all three other gospels say that when He ended His life, He shouted. And it’s in a tense of the verb, it’s in the perfect tense. Something that is done that continues on into the future. And He says, “It’s finished!” And it’s a financial term. In our day, it would be like, “Paid in full.” And that’s what He shouts because that’s what He did. Paid in full.

Because in the moment that He died, the just wrath of God, your sin, my sin, the sins of all people of all time was upon Jesus. And as it was put upon Him, that’s why the other gospel writers tell us He said, “My God! My God! Why have You forsaken me?” Because something happened in the Triunity of God, for the first time in all eternity, is that the Father turned away from the Son because God is holy and allowed the just wrath of God for your sin and mine to be placed, and Jesus would be an offering.

And when He did that, He paid for your sin so that any person in all the earth who would turn from their sin and, in the empty hands of faith, ask God for forgiveness based on the work of Christ, could have their sins forgiven and have eternal life. That’s what happened.