So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” 23 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 top to bottom. 24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.” This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said, “They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.” So this is what the soldiers did. 25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. 28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Here we have the details of what happened just before Jesus died on the cross. To the onlookers at the foot of the cross and those today who are unfamiliar with the story the situation must look desperately hopeless. They must have been thinking it was over – beyond Jesus control, death was imminent. When Jesus finally says, “It is finished!” I imagine those close by thinking, well you got that right!
My take on this though, is who is in control? Who orchestrated these events? Was it the soldiers? Was it Pilate? Perhaps it was the leading priests of the day? Most of us would probably agree that they all played a role. Or did they? I am struck by the fulfilment of prophesy discussed in this passage. It all came to pass down to the last gruesome detail. The dividing of Jesus clothes, casting lots for his robe and the drink of sour wine passed to him on a sponge. God was in control and Jesus knew it! He was not swayed by the various forms of authority of the day. Jesus Father was and is the ultimate authority and he went on to fulfil all that his Father required of him.
This passage of Scripture is very sobering. Yet, I am encouraged that this was God’s will and it came to pass. There have been times in my life that I felt that I have faced a dead end, that life is out of control etc. I am reminded of the sovereignty of God and that his purposes will come to pass in my life so long as I remain obedient to what he asks of me. Jesus obedience to the point of death is our example!
Dear God, thank you that you are in control of my life at all times. Amen
Written by Ainslie Woods