Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Saturday, 15 April 2017
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 spunge 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. 31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
hat an irony it is that the Giver of water of life says, “I thirst”! (cf. John 4:14; 7:38-39). Exhausted by the torture, our Lord cried out, “I thirst.” According to verse 28, He said those words in fulfillment of another prophecy about His suffering (cf. Ps 42:1-2; 63:1). Giving Him vinegar, a sour wine, fulfilled Psalm 69:21. He suffered and died according to the Scriptures. He was truly the promised Messiah.
Then Jesus said, “It is finished,” a single Greek word, tetelestai. It means “It is finished” (not “I am finished”). He meant His redemptive work was completed. The word tetelestai has an interesting usage. It was written across papyri receipts for taxes, meaning “paid in full.” This word on Jesus’ lips was significant. He paid our ransom in full and our salvation is guaranteed.
Then He bowed His head and committed His spirit to God (cf. Lk 23:46). His death was voluntary. He “gave Himself” (Gal 2:20) as a ransom (Mk 10:45), as a sacrifice to God (Eph 5:2), and as a propitiation for sin (1 John 2:2).
Because of the Mosaic Law, His body was not to remain exposed on a tree (or cross) overnight and certainly not on a Sabbath for it would defile the land (cf. Deut 21:23; Gal 3:13). So the Jews sought to remove His body, planning first to make sure that He was dead by breaking His bones. The smashing of the lower leg bones was called in Latin the “crurifragium”, and it caused death fairly quickly by shock, loss of blood, and inability to breathe. This “crurifragium” was done to the two thieves on each side of Jesus. As Jesus had already died, His legs were not broken. Instead, just to make sure, a soldier pierced Jesus’ side with a spear. All these were predicted in the Old Testament Scriptures beforehand (cf. Ps 34:20; Zech 12:10).
(Read Matthew 20:28.)
Lord, I love You and the Gospel of Your cross, where You died for a world of lost sinners.