And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.
Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘He said, “I am the King of the Jews.” ’ ” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
John 19:17-30 NKJV
We have arrived at the moment where Jesus is crucified. It is known that this event must have taken place at 9am, and between midday and 3pm we get the darkness over the land. The other Gospels talk of the earthquake, which also contemporary historians also tell of this earthquake that spread its effect to modern day Turkey.
The Cross is an event of history, but it is also an event in eternity. In that for us who believe the spiritual transformation comes from the finished work of Calvary. The finished and applied work of Calvary disarmed and undid the work of the devil in the Garden of Eden.
Yet my attention is caught as naturally John’s Gospel will focus upon the only disciple to be there in the midst of all this death and torture. Who comforted the mother of Jesus, the other women who were present there.
John has no part in betrayal or flight from association. Peter had denied Jesus 3 times, the others are hiding in the Upper Room, with fear for their lives.
As I meditated upon the intimacy John had with Jesus, and being present in the time of His last words, we see at the end of John’s Gospel the prophetic indication that John would be spared to old age.
Whilst others would be called upon to give their lives, for Christ, John is miraculously spared.
We are also presented with an extensive ministry from Ephesus in Revelation and 6 other churches. So he led them in very turbulent times.
We see John privy to a open encounter with the Glorified Lord and the open encounter in heaven, where the open door invited him to step up into the heavenly realm.
It seems that John being the only one to be present at the crucifixion qualified him to be present in His Glorification. John is endowed with a experience and life which he lived in the heavenly as much as he lived here in the earth.
The intimacy he had qualified him to long life and transmit the greatest understanding of heaven’s programme.
We are seeing a parallel between John the Apostle and Enoch, the old patriarch who walked with God in such intimacy that he walked into eternity so easily.
The experience of John must teach us that for us to come into intimacy with Jesus we must embrace His work of the Cross in our every day life. We look through personal purification, external persecution, perpetual risk of martyrdom.
The identification with Christ in all aspects is not a “Call” widely embraced. It is even resisted by many in modern society because it affords the constant sacrifice inwardly and outwardly.
John shows us that we need to face down the barriers to our being at the Cross fully. There is the stigma of association, the identification and living out difficult personal processes of holiness not understood by our generation.
All this to attain the highest prize, that if you can be with Him in his Gore, you can be with Him in His Glory.
It all depends on how closely you desire to walk with Him. It depends whether you live breaking barriers that would tempt you into self preservation.
John embraced the Cross and was given a heavenly vision.
May we embrace it this Holy Friday!!