THE CRUCIFIXION (The Fourth Cup & Lamb of God)
From this point, I will quote mostly from the Gospel of John. The reason I’m going to follow this book so closely, is because Bible scholars will tell you that John stays at the foot of the cross. He records as an eyewitness, that only Mary, Jesus’ mother, John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, Mary of Cleopus, and Mary Magdalene, stay at the foot of the cross. The other disciples were scattered ; they were scared. They were probably watching from a distance. We all know what Peter was doing around this time. He was upset. He had just denied Jesus. The other disciples were not at the foot of the cross, but John stays at the foot of the cross. So John records in a little more detail the words that Jesus said. Matthew, Mark and Luke have also recorded this, but the authors probably weren’t present with Jesus on the cross. They may have gotten the information from other people’s testimonies. Now, I’m not saying that what they recorded is wrong, but more detail of what Jesus said on the cross is found in the book of John. The synoptic Gospels don’t contradict John’s gospel, they just don’t have as much detail in them.
St. John records, “When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, "Let's not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be," in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled (that says): "They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots.” (John 19:23-24) What was Jesus wearing? John describes the clothes. He was wearing priestly clothes. A tunic. He was wearing the vestments that a High Priest was required to wear when sacrificing animals for the atonement of sins. Jesus is not only the unblemished lamb of this sacrifice, but He’s also the high priest over the sacrifice. “After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled…” (John 19:28) We’ll hear this three times. Listen for it. This means it didn’t just happen by accident. It happened “in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I thirst." There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, "It is finished." And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.” (John 19:28-30) Jesus said, “I thirst.” Now keep in mind, His hands are nailed and His feet are nailed. And He stands on the spike that is through His feet. He holds Himself up, right before His death, and says, “I thirst.” Is this a coincidence? No. There’s wine nearby. They get the wine, put it on a sponge, and they put it on a sprig of hyssop. Remember the hyssop branch from Exodus? And now Jesus tastes the wine. It’s recorded that He drank the wine. On the way to Golgotha, He didn’t drink the wine. He said He was not going to drink the wine until He drank it new in the kingdom. Now He drinks the wine. He says the words, “Tel telesti”. He says the words, “It is finished.” He closes the Passover meal that was still open. That’s the same thing as in the example I gave before where the Catholic priest closes Mass after he blessed the St. Joseph’s Altar. Jesus drinks the fourth cup of wine and closes the Passover meal. The meal is completed. Not just completed this time; fulfilled. It’s fulfilled. It’s over, and now we begin a “new covenant,” (1 Corinthians 11:25) with the Lamb of God offered as a perfect sacrifice.
Now we said that Jesus was not just the presiding priest but also the unblemished Passover lamb. And that the lamb couldn’t have any blemishes. So the next day was the Sabbath, and it was the Jewish rule that you couldn’t have a person being crucified on the Sabbath day. When they nailed somebody to a cross, they could live for days. While Jesus and the thieves were hanging on the cross, they wanted to expedite their deaths so they were not hanging on the Sabbath day. The soldiers would take a hammer or a tool, and they would break the legs of the person being crucified so that they couldn’t hold themselves up. And their lungs would immediately fill with water and the person would drown in their own body fluid. They did this to the two thieves being crucified next to Jesus. Now, I’m going to read from John: ”So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs,” (John 19:32-33) Circle that, “They did not break his legs.” No blemishes. “But one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out.” (John 19:34) Circle, “Blood and water flowed out.” John is talking here; he’s an eyewitness. He says, “An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may (come to) believe. For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: "Not a bone of it will be broken." (John 19:35-36) Now, see where we circled, “They did not break his legs”? What would happen if Jesus had suffered broken bones? He would not be a worthy sacrifice. A lance went into His side instead, and “immediately blood and water flowed out.” If you recall, they also stuck the lance in the lamb in Egypt, and the blood and the water flowed out. And this blood was sprinkled on the doorpost at the entrance to your house so that the Angel of Death would pass over. Jesus’ blood represents the blood of the Eucharist, and the water represents the waters of Baptism. I found this information in the footnotes of the New American Bible.
The Roman Empire crucified thousands of people during this time. It was a horrible way of using fear to control the population. The Roman government was recorded to have crucified tens of thousands of people during their reign of power. This was a horrible time to live. Surely it was one of the darkest times up to this point in mankind’s history, and God chose this dark time to bring redemption to the world.
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