John 19:28–42: The Death of Jesus
Through the entirety of the Gospel of John up to this point, Jesus has endured ever-deeper humiliation, shame, degradation, and suffering. The entire purpose of Jesus’ birth and entrance into the world was not to receive the praise, love, and adoration of the world, but rather to bear witness faithfully to the truth (John 18:37)—even though bearing witness to the truth would bring suffering upon him. Nevertheless, Jesus obeys his Father’s will by taking one faithful step after another, accomplishing everything that his Father set out for him from before the foundations of the world were laid.
So far, each of those steps have brought Jesus increasingly lower into his estate of humiliation, which now includes even the agony of his suffering on the cross. But in John 19:28–42 as Jesus actually gives up his life and dies, we see a remarkable change in the tone of John’s Gospel. Here, the emphasis shifts from all that Jesus must still do to all that Jesus has now accomplished in full. The death of Jesus is a monumental event in salvation history. At his death, Jesus finishes his work in order to become the firstfruits of a new creation.
1. What are the physical reasons that Jesus must ask for a drink before he dies? What are the prophetic, symbolic, spiritual, and theological reasons that Jesus must ask for a drink before he dies? Why are both necessary as Jesus finishes his work? Why does John tie Jesus’ last drink to the completion of Jesus’ work? What do these things mean for thirsty people like you and me?
2. How does the suffering of Jesus during the course of his life contrast with the rest that Jesus enters into at his death? How does Jesus’ entering into death for us remove death’s sting from harming us? How should the death of Jesus shape the way that we look at the death that awaits all of us?
3. Why does John insist that not only blood, but also water flowed from Jesus’ side? How does this event fulfill the promises that streams of living water would flow from Jesus? What does these things mean for thirsty people like you and me?
4. How does the royal burial of Jesus contrast with his impoverished birth, life, and death? Why does Jesus now receive honor, when he received humiliation throughout the entirety of his life? Why is it important for us, practically speaking, that Jesus has finished his estate of humiliation and that he has now entered into his estate of exaltation?