Better Late Than Never! John 19:38-42

Text:  “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him (the Lord God Almighty) which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.”

Matthew 10:28.

 Good morning, fearless Christian witness!  There is no such God-ordained role for the ‘secret Christian witness’!  Doing something in ‘secret’ and being a Christian witness are diametrically opposed terms and meanings.  You can either try to fulfil a role in secret, OR you can be a witness - the two are mutually exclusive terms.  Praise God for open and fearless Christian witnesses!

“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto Me (Christ Jesus) both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8)

Dictionary Definition: Witness - someone who sees or has personal knowledge of an event, etc.; someone who gives evidence; someone whose signature confirms the genuineness of a document, or of a signature already added…(something that is) proof or evidence of anything; knowledge brought in proof; testimony of a fact…to give evidence of; to confirm fact of; attest to truth of, etc.  (The Chambers Dictionary page 1920)

The Divinely inspired Scriptures clearly teach us that every Christian must witness in the following manner:  

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)

The clear proof of the Gospel of Eternal Salvation - found only in the Lord Jesus Christ by God’s grace, through faith - is openly revealed in the daily lives of fearless Christian witnesses.  True Christians have not only found secure Salvation in Christ and in His finished Atonement Sacrifice at the Cross, but are not content to keep such Eternally priceless knowledge selfishly to themselves; they must share it with as many other precious souls as possible.

“The fruit of the righteous (made righteous in Christ Jesus) is a tree of life; and he/she that winneth souls (by open Christian witness) is wise.” (Proverbs 11:30)

This is the reason the apostle Paul cried out: “For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel!”  (1 Corinthians 9:16)

Paul had a passion for precious souls - and so should every true Christian!  We are saved by grace in order to serve the Lord Jesus!

Two early Christian believers learned this lesson the hard way and by personal experience - Joseph of Arimathaea, and Nicodemus.

In today’s Bible reading from John’s Gospel account, we learn that Joseph of Arimathaea was indeed a disciple of Christ Jesus - but he tried to be a ‘secret Christian witness', and that was an impossible thing to do.

“And after this (Christ’s Crucifixion and death) Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the Body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him leave.  He came therefore, and took the Body of Jesus.”  (V.38)

To Joseph we can now respectfully say, ‘Well, brother Joseph, better late than never!’  He learned by personal experience the fact that, there can be no such person as a ‘secret Christian’!

However, look what happened when Joseph came out and revealed his love for Jesus.  Immediately we learn of yet another would-be secret Christian coming out in service to Christ also.  Faith in one,  inspires faith in others!

“And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night (in secret?), and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.”  (V.39)

To Nicodemus we can respectfully say, ‘Well, brother Nicodemus, better late than never!’  He also learned the lesson that there can be no such thing as a ‘secret Christian’!

“Then took they (Joseph and Nicodemus) the Body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.”  (V.40)

At the dangerous time in question, these two ‘better-late-than-never’ Christian believers took their stand fearlessly for the Crucified Christ.  They discovered that their love for Jesus was more precious to them than life itself.  

By their fearless public witness, they remain a great encouragement to all true believers today; and they now sit at the feet of King Jesus, forever worshipping Him.

Thought: It’s better late than never - come out, Christian, and serve Christ today!

John, the Eye-Witness Apostle! John 19:31-37

Text:  “And he (John) that saw it bare record, and his record is true; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.”

John 19:35.

Good morning, Gospel-believing Christian!  You and I fully believe the Gospel accounts written in our Bibles; the infallible Word of God Himself - due to the Scripturally enlightened fact that we have been given faith by God to do so.  We believe God’s Word because we are born of God - through trusting in the Sacrifice of His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus.  The Lord God has introduced us to the Eternal Truth - and the Truth has set us free from all sin.  Hallelujah!  What a gracious Lord God we love and seek to serve!

“And ye shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you free.”     (John 8:32)

“Jesus saith unto him (Thomas), I am the way the TRUTH, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:6)

It is crystal clear that the Lord Jesus Christ was, is and forever shall be - God’s TRUTH incarnate.  We believe the Gospel accounts, therefore, because we personally know God’s Truth, Christ Jesus.  This is a solid fact of our faith; we are in possession of Spiritual truth from God that the world knows nothing about, for it is exercised by God-given faith in Christ.

“But the natural man/woman (unregenerate) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him/her; neither can he/she know them, because they are Spiritually discerned.”        (1 Corinthians 2:14)

False Religionists:  The Jewish leadership in today’s Bible reading knew nothing of God’s truth.  They were very religious people; but their hypocritical actions betrayed their sin-soaked hearts.  They wanted to observe every jot and tittle of their RELIGIOUSITY - but had no time nor thought for Christ Jesus.  There are still many such false religionists today.

“The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.”  (V.31)

Strict in their observance of Jewish ritual laws of the Sabbath day, they showed no modicum of compassion for the crucified thieves, and less for the already dead and cruelly Crucified Christ.  They had religious works, but alas, they were utterly devoid of true faith from God.  They were still ‘…dead in trespasses and sins…’               (Ephesians 2:1-10)

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith (religious fervour) without works (Godly works motivated by true faith) is dead also.”  (James 2:26)

True Christians:  On the other hand, the apostle John was personally present at Calvary’s Hill on that Eternally significant Crucifixion Day.  John witnessed with his own eyes every aspect of the day’s events and faithfully wrote a record of that day’s events for all seekers of Eternal Truth that would later search and find Eternal life through the Gospel account of Christ Jesus‘ Sacrifice.  Old Testament prophecies foretold this Divine event.

“And he (John) that saw it bare record, and his record is true; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.  For these things were done that the Scriptures (Old Testament prophecies of Christ) should be fulfilled, A bone of Him shall not be broken.”  (V.35-36) 

“He keepeth all His bones; not one of them is broken.” (Psalm 34:20)

“And again another Scripture saith, They shall look upon Him Whom they pierced.”  (V.37)  (Zechariah 12:10)

Being personally present, an eye-witness of these vital Crucifixion events; and specifically seeing with his own eyes the evidence of Christ’s resurrection - made John an apostle with full authority from the Lord God.  Thus, we can believe his truth concerning God’s Truth - the risen Christ Jesus.  Hallelujah!  God’s Word is truth!

“Sanctify them through thy truth; Thy Word IS Truth.”  (John 17:170

“In the beginning was the Word (Christ Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”    (John 1:1;14)

Thought:  With these Heavenly truths in mind therefore, let us go forth boldly to be witnesses for the Living Truth - Christ Jesus, the Salvation of Jehovah God, to every sinner who believes in Him.  (Romans 10:13)

Accomplished, Fulfilled, Finished! John 19:28-30

Text: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought Me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed Me; the assembly of the wicked have in-closed Me; they pierced My hands and My feet…they part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture.”

Psalm 22:15-18.

          “Yet, it pleased the Lord (God the Father) to bruise Him (God the Son); He hath put Him to grief (upon the Cross); when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed (the redeemed), He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.  He (God the Father) shall see the travail of His soul (God the Son), and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant (Christ Jesus) justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.”

Isaiah 53:10-11.

Good morning, Eternally justified Christian!  God the Father loved you and I so much that He sent His only begotten and sinless Son, Christ Jesus, to suffer infinitely cruel sufferings to pay the Spiritual price necessary to redeem us from our sins.  Now, we who trust in Christ are full justified in God’s Holy sight.  Christ’s Sacrifice - fully accomplished, fulfilled, and finished - was all vital to save and secure our Hell-deserving and never-dying souls.  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour we have in the risen Jesus Christ! 

“It is finished…the Battle is over…it is finished, there’ll be no more war…it is finished, the end of the conflict…it is finished, and Jesus is Lord…”  (Sung by the Gaithers http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGuaJM-JmyI)

Accomplished:  The Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, had come to accomplish God the Father’s Sovereign will in the redemption of the souls He had Himself chosen (elected) to save from before the foundation of the world.

“All that the Father giveth Me (Christ Jesus) shall come to Me; and him/her that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.  For (a conclusion) I came down from Heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”  (John 6:37-39)

Fulfilled:  Christ also came to us in order to fulfil every prophecy concerning Himself as the coming Messiah; manifest every Scriptural attribute noted down by the Spirit of God’s chosen writers; every ‘…jot and tittle…’ of the Law and the prophets.  This He fulfilled to the very letter.  Praise His victorious Name!

“Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the prophets; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.  For (a conclusion) verily I say unto you, Till Heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass for the Law, till all be fulfilled.”  (Matthew 5:17-18)

Israel’s King David , speaking prophetically in Psalms 22:15-18; and 69:21 clearly depicted how Messiah Jesus would die for the sins of the world, and suffer for the sins of ’…His people…’.  Christ Jesus’ death on the Cross fulfilled every aspect of these God-given prophecies.  The prophet Zechariah clearly supports the detail of this Scriptural proof.  (Zechariah 11:10-11)

Finished:  When Christ cried from that Cross ‘It is finished’, it was not the cry of one defeated by suffering and death.  On the contrary, it was the victory cry of One Whom death could never defeat; One Who was Victor over death - because death, ‘the king of terrors’, can only have control over souls that have sinned against the Lord God Almighty.  Hallelujah! 

Jesus is, was, and always shall be completely Holy and utterly sinless!  Glory to His Name!  (Hebrews 4:15)

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil; and deliver them (redeemed sinners) who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”  (Hebrews 2:14-15)

“He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it.”  (Isaiah 25:8)

Christ Jesus ‘…bowed His head, and gave up the ghost…’; nothing, and no one, could have ever taken life away from Him, for He is the Lord of all life.

Do you know this Jesus as your personal Saviour?  I do, and I can testify that He has accomplished, fulfilled, and finished the work of my Salvation.  Come to Him and be saved.

Thought:  In Christ, it is just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned - justified by faith.