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Difficult Verse 6: John 19.30

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When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

This is not really a difficult verse – it’s just that there are a number of similar verses in the four gospels, and unless they are all understood it can seem that the Bible is contradictory or implying something that it never said.  This verse, and Matt. 27.34, have both been used by people to suggest that Christians should be for euthanasia and assisted suicide; that in some way Jesus committed suicide on the cross.  In John 19.30, Jesus is offered wine vinegar while on the cross.  Now the thing to remember is that this is the second time Jesus is offered a drink while he is on the cross – the first time he is offered wine mixed with gall and he refuses it.  If you read Mark 15 from beginning to end, you can see clearly Jesus is twice offered drink.  Luke and John only record the second drink, as per our verse here.

The first drink Jesus is offered is wine mixed with gall.  The second drink is wine vinegar.  So the first drink Jesus is offered (Matt. 27.34) he tasted and refused.  What was this drink?  Gall, or bile, is the product of the gall bladder.  It tastes exceptionally bitter and functions like a painkiller.  While on the cross Jesus was offered wine laced with a narcotic to ease his pain, and he refused.  He was going to go through the full pain of your sin, sickness and suffering on the cross to redeem you.  That just shows again how awesome a Saviour, what a champion Jesus was.  He wouldn’t even take an aspirin while dying for you!  He was going to do it!  He would suffer the fullness of sin to be able to offer us the fullness of redemption.  Jesus was fully aware and conscious while he was dying for you! And he planned it that way!

The second drink was wine vinegar, which was a cheap wine, drunk mainly by soldiers.  It was mildly alcoholic but was the kind of drink you could drink quickly, making it useful to the soldiers as they could quickly quench their thirst.  John tells us that Jesus said he was thirsty while on the cross.  Jesus died as a human, fully human, and on the cross was naked, hungry and thirsty.  He became poor with your poverty so you could be made rich (2 Cor. 9.8).  There is nothing poorer than being thirsty and unable to quench your thirst.  Also, thirsting on the cross was prophesied in Psalm 22.15 that the Messiah would have a parched mouth.  In Psalm 69.21 it mentions that the suffering servant would be offered both gall and vinegar.  This all shows how the death of Jesus was exactly how He and His Father planned it.  Now John is the only gospel writer who let us know Jesus actually received the drink – Luke tells us it was offered, but only John tells us he received the drink.  Now drinking at this stage would have actually prolonged Jesus’ life – making the cross more painful and agonizing!  The drink would have extended his suffering, not shortened it.

By confusing the two drinks, some people see Jesus deliberately medicating while on the cross.  They then say it is ok to over-medicate a patient and actively euthanize people.  Nothing could be further from the truth – Jesus rejected the drink that would have eased his pain, and instead chose a drink that extended his pain and suffering.  Why?  Because he was suffering for you!  He died your death and did it deliberately, made it as difficult as possible, ensured he did it with a sound mind – to make sure that he paid the full price for your sin so you could be the righteousness of God in Christ.

That’s not a difficult Scripture – it’s a powerful one!

 

Romans 1.17

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For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Three books of the New Testament quote Habukkuk 2.4, the just shall live by faith. Romans, Galatians and Hebrews. Romans tells us what the just are, Galatians tells us how to live, and Hebrews explains what faith is. It is clear that the just shall live by faith are the single most important six words in the whole Bible.

Six words all one syllable long and they have changed the world. Without those six words, we would be living in hell on earth right now. It is those words that took the gospel to the world in Paul’s generation and established a church that changed the world, that released us from the world of legalism and wickedness.

Then when the church had fallen for the lies of the devil and was bound in politics, in powerless legalism and useless tradition, these six words grabbed the heart of Martin Luther and brought revival to a generation that is still flooding the church today. Without the Reformation, there would be no Methodists, no Pentecostals, no charismatics and no Word of Faith! These six words have changed your life!

Now it is time for these six words to change your life on a personal level. You are the just. Now the word just is a totally redundant word in the Bible. The word righteous means exactly the same thing. The righteous shall live by faith. You are righteous because of what Jesus has done.

This is what Paul is saying: the gospel is the power of God for salvation because in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed.

Righteousness is no longer something we have to achieve by works, it is something we have to receive by faith.

The gospel is this: Jesus Christ lived a perfectly righteous life. He then offered that righteous life up as an offering for you, taking your sin so you could be made righteous (2 Cor. 5.21). The moment you put your faith in Jesus, you were made righteous. The righteous are bold, the righteous abound in blessings, the righteous enjoy fullness of joy, the righteous pray and their prayers are answered and heard by the Lord. And you are righteous the moment you put your faith in the gospel!

The righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. The Greek says ek pistis eis pistis, which is best translated out of faith into faith.

The gospel reveals the righteousness of God out of faith into faith. What does this mean?

A lot of people have a lot of theories, but my opinion is this: the righteousness of God comes out of the faith of God and into our faith.

God believed that we would be righteousness, and His faith sent Jesus into our world, living a righteous perfect life and offering that life as a sacrifice. Then as we believe the gospel, the righteousness goes into our faith. The moment we believe the gospel righteousness goes into our faith and transforms our spirit. We are transformed so remarkably and totally the only correct term is that we are born again.

To be born again means the same as to be made righteous. We were spiritually dead and spiritually sinful. Then we are born again to spiritual life and spiritual righteousness.

Before Jesus walked the earth, there was no one righteous, no not one.

Then, out of faith the righteousness of God moved from heaven into earth through the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a perfect life, a righteous life, and offered that life up for us on a cross, becoming sin so we could become righteous.

Then, when anyone at all puts their faith in Jesus Christ that righteousness comes into that faith and transforms that person so that they are born again as a righteous man.

Wow! Now you are righteous, how do you live? You live by the same faith that made you righteous.

Stop living by works. Stop living by circumstances. Stop living by experience. Stop living by gifting. Live by faith. Live by the Word of God and confidence that Jesus Christ has redeemed you.

If sickness comes into your body, don’t live by sickness. Live by faith in your redemption by Christ. Live well.

If you are bound by sin, don’t live by experience and how you lived today. Live by faith – faith in the fact that Jesus became that sin and you became righteous with His righteousness.

If you are in debt, don’t live by debt. Live by faith that Jesus became poor so you could be rich.

You are the righteous – so live by faith.

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