Our Lord's task was accomplished. He had honored the law in life; and now in His suffering and death under the wrath of God against the sin of His people, He had fully satisfied justice (Isa. 53:4-6). That the Scripture might be fulfilled (Psalm 22:15; Psalm 69:21), He cried, "I thirst." He suffered the burning thirst of hell (Luke 16:24) that we might drink the water of life and never thirst (John 4:14).
(Vs. 29-30) This vessel full of vinegar or sour wine was a Roman soldier's drink. They filled a sponge with it, put it on a reed, and dabbed it over His parched mouth and lips (Ruth 2:14). When Christ received the vinegar, He cried, "It is finished," bowed His head, and died. What was finished?
1. The whole will of God in regard to redemption (Heb. 10:7).
2. The whole work His Father had given Him to do (I Tim. 1:15).
3. The Levitical law and all types and ceremonies (Heb. 10:9-14).
4. The righteousness of God performed, perfected, and imputed to believers (Rom. 3:19-24; Rom. 10:4; II Cor. 5:21).
The proof of the accomplishment of all that He came to do was His resurrection from the dead (Acts 17:31). Salvation and eternal life is the gift of God, not of works on our part, but through the Person and work of our substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8-9; II Cor. 5:18-21). "
(Vs. 31) It was late in the afternoon, and the Jews' Sabbath day began immediately after sunset; so they urged Pilate to break the legs of the crucified and hasten their death that their bodies might be taken down and buried before the Sabbath began. This Sabbath was a high day, when all the Jews presented themselves before the Lord in the temple. Dead bodies hanging on crosses would defile their Sabbath and ceremonies (Deut. 21:22-23). What hypocrisy, evil, and inconsistency stand clothed in religion! They were not concerned about crucifying the Messiah, only with defiling their holy day.
(Vs. 32-33) They broke the legs of the two thieves; but when they came to Christ and saw that He was dead, they broke not His legs. This was not out of compassion for Him (as we shall see in the next verses), but that which restrained them was God's Divine providence and purpose.
(Vs. 34-37) A soldier with a spear pierced His side, and there came out blood and water. John wrote that he saw this, and his record is true (I John 5:6-8). The blood and water from the Lord's side signify JUSTIFICATION and SANCTIFICATION.
But all this was done also that the Scriptures should be fulfilled (Exod. 12:46; Psalm 34:20; Zech. 12:10; Rev. 1:7).
(Vs. 38) Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man (Matt. 27:57), an honorable man (Mark 15:43), a member of the Sanhedrin' but he had not agreed to their plot to crucify Christ (Luke 23:50-51) and was a secret disciple of Christ. He was full of fear of the Jews but now shows great courage in asking Pilate to allow him to take the body of Christ and bury it in his own sepulchre. This would certainly identify him as a disciple of Christ and bring the wrath of the Jews upon him.
(Vs. 39-40) To the cross at the same time came another prominent Jewish leader named Nicodemus (John 3:1-3; John 7:50-52), a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews, and a master in Israel. Nicodemus also was afraid to confess Christ earlier, but now, out of love for Christ, brought a costly mixture of burial spices and with Joseph wound the body in linen with the spices and buried the body of Jesus.
(Vs. 41-42) The grave was not a hole in the ground, but much like a cave or a vault in the rocks. On the side of the city where He was crucified was a garden (perhaps belonging to the rich man, Joseph), and in the garden was a sepulchre in which no one had ever been buried. This was necessary that when tie arose, there should be no doubt that it was He and not another who was raised. They rolled a stone over the door of the grave (Mark 15:46), and Pilate sealed the stone and set guards around the grave (Matt. 27:62-66).