January 15, 2019

This I Know

By: Larry Shaffer

Octopus stew. One of Nate’s favorites. Really! A taste he developed in Japan and is now happy to find in Bulgaria.

I ask that you pray for me today as I have the opportunity to teach at the noon devotions at the Men’s unit of the Houston Star of Hope Gospel Mission. Will be about 350 men in attendance.

This I Know 

John 19 

John’s writing is different from the other three gospel accounts. His account of the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus is very succinct. His brief account of it is to prove a premise rather than give a detailed description of the event. 

They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, 19:17, 18.  

I would prefer more specific details to create context, color and emotion. John doesn’t do that. He provides a view into a few events with the purpose of emphasizing the Deity of Jesus. As part of his purpose, John emphasizes fulfilled prophecy rather than creating deeper emotion within his readers by describing the details of Jesus’ brutal and inhumane suffering. Before their eyes, Jesus was fulfilling prophecies written of Him hundreds of years before. Fulfilled prophecy is a validation of Jesus’ claims! 

700 years earlier, Isaiah 53 says, He was despised and forsaken of men…He was pierced through for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities, the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scrounging we are healed. Yet, He was never a victim: He poured out himself to death. Isaiah 53 was fulfilled that day at Golgotha. 

John tells us the story of the soldiers casting lots and says THIS WAS TO FULFILL SCRIPTURE. He tells about how they didn’t break His legs like the other two men on the cross, but rather pierced Him and John says for these things came to pass to FULFILL SCRIPTURE. And verse 28 says, after this, Jesus knowing that all things had already been accomplished to FULFILL SCRIPTURE, said, I am thirsty.  All of the horror of this day was to fulfill GOD’s predetermined plan previously prophesied in scripture. 

John wrote so that we would know the truth. He’s like a lawyer, an advocate, a litigator. He presents a case that demands a verdict. Is He a guilty blasphemer or is He the God the Son, the Savior and Messiah of the world? Who is He?  John provides evidence that demands a verdict. 

  • Pilate called Him the man without fault
  • Napoleon said He was the emperor of love 
  • Philosopher Straus said He is the highest model of religion 
  • John Stuart Mills said He is the guide of humanity 
  • Francis Cobb said He is the re-generator of humanity
  • Dali Lama said He is a reincarnated Buddhist
  • Fredric Nietzsche said He is a fable
  • Gandhi called Him the innocent one
  • Gorbachev said he was the first Socialist 

(From the divine credentials of Christ, John MacArthur)

These verdicts contain some truth but mostly falsehoods. They are earthly perspectives of Jesus. None of them state who Jesus really is and who John is writing about. But we know the truth because John gives it to us with solid evidence. In John’s companion book of I John, he writes,  

And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son…These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. I John 5:12,13 

What is your verdict? Who do you say He is?

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. John writes that you may KNOW and in knowing, that you would BELIEVE!

Thou God of all grace, Thou hast given me a Savior, produce in me a faith to live by Him, to make Him all my desire, all my hope, all my glory. I know my Redeemer lives! He is my Savior, My God and My Lord. Amen.

(From the Valley of Vision. Puritan prayers and devotions)