John 19:23-27 Jesus Fulfills All Righteousness
Intro to the Text:
Ill: One thing I love about mountain climbing and hiking is that when you take a new trail- even if it’s on the same mountain- you see new side of the mountain. It is as if the place is totally different. The environment may be different. There may be birds and not mamals, lizards and cactus not trees and streams. The same mountain from different perspectives yields different glory.
That is what we have been doing with the cross. We have been looking at it from different angles. Over the past weeks I declared to you that Jesus died as a substitute for sinners, our sins are upon him. He is the innocent Lamb of God slain for us. He suffered for what we deserve as criminals before God’s courtroom.. We focused last week on how Jesus fulfills everything- including God’s infinite Justice! The infinite God took on flesh so he could pay the infinite penalty for sin.
So, we have been clipping along pretty well through the different aspects of the cross, different paths up the mountain. Different ways Jesus fulfills everything!
In verses 23-27 we get a monkey wrench. This text has two sections. 23-25a, About the Soldiers, and 25b-27 about the Mother of Jesus. Notice verses 23-25a -ends with phrase, “Therefore the soldiers did this”- in the first half of v. 25. It is only halfway through the verse.
In 23-25a Jesus dies by the hands of sinful men. Notice the contents: 23 tells us about the distribution of Jesus’ belongings. 24 about the fulfillment of Psalm 22:18, Jesus’ things are divided among the soldiers as a symbol of their apparent victory over him- like soldiers dividing the spoils/trophies of war. Then in 24-25a we read the interpretation that God predetermined this to happen. He predicted it, therefore they did it. Straight up, this is what we have been hearing this week in and week out. Jesus was killed by sinners, and that sinners need to recognize that we deserve that cross!
Then the monkey-wrench comes in 25b-27. Jesus takes care of some personal business. In 25b John mentions the people there with him at the cross. One of them is Mary. In verse 26-27 Jesus looks at John who is standing there and gives him the task of looking out for the welfare of his earthly mother. Basically he fulfilled the 5th commandment, “Honor thy father and thy mother.” Two questions:
Q#1: Why did Jesus put this off? A: It was on purpose! To make a point from the cross.
Q#2: Why bring it up now? To makes the point- a Gospel of only reconciliation-by-sacrifice is incomplete, unfulfilled, not accomplished!
Remember in verse 28 & 30 the whole theme of this passage is Jesus fulfills everything!
Thesis: Jesus fulfills all righteousness. Jesus honored his mother on earth in order to show that he obeys his Father in heaven!
Need: We can deal with the soldiers, that is prophetic and symbolic of Jesus’ suffering for sinners who deserve the death he’s taking. The other verse seems out of place. We can’t deal with it. We don’t know what box to put it in.
Maybe I could preach to you a sentimental sermon about your mother. Maybe I can preach something to the kids about honoring your parents. Maybe I could preach something about how Jesus was responsible with his last will and testament, and this is why we should all go out and make those things.
All of those sermons would miss this shocking point. Without this text, the death of Jesus is incomplete! Something would be missing. There is a vital piece of information here that affects our eternal salvation!
Point: Know that Jesus not only suffered for you, but he obeyed for you!
Main Q: What do we need to know about the obedience of Jesus, that makes it so important for john to include it here?
1) Two Parts of Salvation Make a Whole Salvation
In John 1:29, John tells us Jesus is “The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” He is the one who removed (Literally in Greek: “bore away” like a lamb on the Altar) the sin of the sinners in this world. The OT had animal sacrifices which symbolized the reconciliation between sinners and God by punishing the sins of the sinner symbolically on the animal. This ultimately points to Jesus on the cross, who suffered for the sins of his people. Jesus died as a sacrifice that reconciles us to God. This is why Paul says he (and we) have the ministry of reconciliation (2Cor 5:19-21)- that is, we preach Christ as the only means of reconciliation by punishing the crimes of sinners on the cross, that we go free.
But that is not all the lambs did in the OT. On Yom Kippur The Day of Atonement in Lev 16:7-10 the Priest would take two goats. The one would be a “Sin offering” and would pay the penalty for the sins of the people. The other was a “Scapegoat” which was presented “alive” (Lev 16:10). It was sent into the wilderness to live out its days rejected for the sake of the atonement of sinners.
Not only was the one goat a sacrifice to pay for demerit, but the other lived and went into the wilderness and its innocent life becomes ours too. This is what Jesus did! He not only died, he also earned during his whole life! In vv. 23-25a Jesus acts as the Sin Offering. In 25b-27 Jesus is the scapegoat. He lived his whole life obedient and innocent, denied his own self-interest so that we could go free.
Jesus fulfills all righteousness! In fact he flat out said that is why he submitted to the ceremonial laws, “To fulfill all righteousness” (Matt 3:15). Notice in Heb 10:5-7 the Jesus mission in the OT was to be a sacrifice, and to obey the Father- to do the Father’s will. According to Matthew even the death of Jesus was in obedience to the Father. Jesus prayed to the Father before his crucifixion, “Not my will by thine be done” (Matt 26:39). Paul said in Phillipians 2:7-8, “He was obedient to the point of death, even the death on a cross.”
Jesus fulfills all righteousness means that not only did he die for us, but he also obeyed in your place. Not only was he hanging there on the tree for you, but he was earning your salvation your entire life!
When you believe in Jesus, not only has the Holy Spirit applied Jesus’ blood to you, but he also gave you all his righteousness. Even though you still sin, God sees you as holy and righteous as Jesus. As moral and loving as Jesus. As just and passionate as Jesus. Everything you lack, he has earned.
Think with me about why this is so important.
If Jesus only paid for our sins, but did not earn our salvation. Just paying the penalty for our sins would place us back at that state of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden- in a right relationship with God. Because he would have paid for the penalty of the sins. But, we would need to then keep it up! We would have to not fall into the same sin. We would have to keep totally morally pure for all time. Further, we are not equipped for that moral purity because we have something Adam and Eve didn’t- a sinful nature! We sin all the time! So we would immediately fall again!
Now that’s purely hypothetical, but it is logical! It would be a penalty paying salvation, but If Jesus did not earn our salvation, it would be only half-way. It would only return us to square one!
God it not in the business of hallway, hackneyed anything. When he “accomplished all” salvation in Jesus (28), he thought of everything. Not only did he pay the penalty, but he did so much more. Which leads to the next point!
2) Jesus Earned the Resurrection
Jesus hanged there on the cross. He looked across at his mother and John the disciple. He put Mary in John’s care. Here Jesus fulfilled a very simple command, “Honor thy Father and Thy Mother.” But don’t miss the work of Jesus here. He not only cared for his mother, and obeyed the laws, but in doing all of this Jesus revealed how he ultimately did all this to obey and honor his Father in Heaven. The drama here clearly spells out Jesus’ obedience to the Father. He cared for his earthly mother, because he honored the Father in Heaven!
This is not a throw away passage! The Bible teaches that Jesus not only died and rose by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Bible also teaches that Jesus’ earned that resurrection!
The Resurrection was his reward for obedience. Psalm 8 says, “O what is man that you care about him, and the Son of Man that you are mindful of him? He was made for a little while lower than the angels, but you have crowned him with a crown of Glory!” Lower and then higher than all glory! The Author of Hebrews told us- He earned it by obeying God to the point of death- “because of the sufferings of death [The Father] crowned Him with Glory!” (Heb 2:9). Paul says in Philippians 2:8 he was “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross; for this reason also, God highly exalted Him.”
Jesus himself even prayed for this reward in John 17:5 “I have glorifed you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do. Father, glorify me with the glory which I had which I had with you before the world existed!”
You need to realize, salvation is never earned by us, but it was earned by Jesus. You can never do anything to earn, merit, buy your salvation. There is no stairway to heaven by good works, random acts of kindness. Instead, Jesus earned all merit, all reward, and that reward was the resurrection of the body.
So Paul says, Rom 8:11, “if the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He will also give life to your mortal bodies through the Spirit who dwells in you!” When you believe in Jesus, it is because the Holy Spirit applied to you Jesus’ obedience and death! Paul also says, in 1Cor 15:21, “In Adam all die, but in Christ all will be made alive” like Adam who earned our death, Jesus earned our life!
Jesus earned full salvation! He died and obeyed in your place.
You need to realize that Jesus didn’t just die in your place. He did not only pay the penalty for sin. He also earned total salvation.
Two words you need to remember are reconciliation and restoration. Jesus did both! He reconciled our sins on the cross. He died for all who believe. But he also obeyed for us, and rose again for us, and we rise with him.
Let me make a few applications.
This means comfort! You may know that Jesus died for you, but sometimes in your private thoughts you think, “Yeah, Jesus got me started by removing my sin, but now I need to buck up and do the work myself.” Jesus didn’t just put us back to Square one or needing to maintain perfection, like Adam. He earned total salvation for us, in our place!
This also means discomfort! You should never be comfortable with your sin and your level of growth in the Lord. Because, If you have Christ’s mighty resurrection power working in you, who could you not grow? Rom 8:11-12 says, “But if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead …” Here is the point: you don’t do to earn, you do these things because the one who earned all things is working in you! WOW! What Glory!? You have new life in Jesus’ name now! This is John’s point! John 20:31, by believing you’d “have life in his name!” Not just future eternal life, but the power of Christ in you today! So, he calls you to be discomfortable with your present level of growth in the Lord! But remember, it is not by your merit, but because of the infinite merits of Jesus!
Finally, Jesus-obeyed-for-us means that the resurrection of your mortal Body is an absolute unstoppable truth! This changes all life! Why? Because it frees you to say to your heart, when tempted to sin, “Heart, The Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead with also give life to my mortal body! Therefore, do not live for yourself, but for God!” It gives perspective. It gives hope beyond this life.
Imagine that you did not know Jesus. You are going along your life in the most logical way. Logical tells us that if this life is all there is, and after this life there may be punishment, or may simply be put in the ground to decay, then do what the Pepsi sign on Hwy 94 says, “Life’s short- Drink Pepsi.” Which, I think means, all that really matters is pleasure in this life (Which is kind of funny when you consider that Pepsi admits their product is a guilty pleasure that gives fleeting enjoyment, but is followed by a horrible sense of guilty and eventually leads to cancer… but I digress).
Wouldn’t that be consistent though? If this life is all there is, “Well, I guess I won’t worry about dieting anymore!” But this is what we think every time we sin. Sure, we may not say it, but it is the underlying lie that we all buy into whenever we feel that urge to serve self – not God.
Jesus’ resurrection frees you! The obedience of Jesus frees you from the tyranny of self-service! It frees you to worship and serve God because your heart cannot say, “Get pleasure now, or never when you die!” You can say back to your heart what God says to you, “The Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in me, therefore I am no longer under obligation to the flesh.” (Rom 8:11-12 paraphrase from memory)
Jesus brought in full salvation. He died for you, but he also obeyed for you. Here is comfort in knowing that we can never add or subtract from that great salvation! Here is discomfort with our current level of sanctification and love for God! But most of all, here is the hope certain, unfading, and reserved for us in heaven. Jesus sits on the throne, resurrected! As certain as he is alive in heaven, you will all you who believe in him!