When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. (John 19:23-30)
At the foot of the cross where the sins of the world are being condemned and judged and the Savior is down to His last breaths, the soldiers are casting lots for His clothing. They divide and rip up His clothes, but they take care not to sever the tunic. Why tear such a good piece of fabric? Meanwhile, the body of Christ hovers over them, torn and bloodied.
What love! Christ was stripped naked on the cross, so that you and I might be wrapped in His robe of righteousness. Our sin for His righteousness. His death for our life.
In His death Jesus forms a new family. He looks down at His precious mother. The frightened teenager who told the angel, “May it be as you have said” is now the widow watching the life of her beloved Son slowly slip away.
But Jesus does not leave Mary without a family. He says, “Behold your son!”
And for a moment, I suppose Mary must have thought, I am beholding my son. I’m watching You now, my Son, wishing I could hold You in my arms the way I used to, wishing I could sing to you the songs of our people’s hope the way I once did, wishing we could go back to Nazareth and pretend none of this ever happened, wishing the prophecy of old Simeon in the temple that a sword would pierce my heart too was never spoken.
But Jesus wasn’t talking about Himself. He was talking about one of His disciples. “Behold your son.” And then to the disciple He loved, “Behold your mother!” A new family was born.
As Jesus died upon the cross, all those who trust in Him become part of His family. He is our older Brother. We are one with Him, united to Him in His death and resurrection, ushered into the family of God.
Jesus didn’t die merely to save you as an individual, but also to bring you into the fellowship of His family. United to the Son of God, we too can have a relationship with our Father. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We have fathers and mothers in the faith. We are not alone.
Behold the Son of God, thirsty and dying. At the beginning of John’s Gospel, we saw Jesus turn water into wine. The wine was so good everyone commented on it.
“Woman, my time has not yet come,” He told His mother. Now, the time is here, and the wine has gone bad.
Jesus is offered sour wine that fails to soothe the pain or delight the tastebuds. He gave us His best and then took our worst.
Later in John’s Gospel, we see Him meet the woman at the well, a Samaritan who offered Him a drink. Jesus turned the tables and said, “Drink from Me and you’ll never thirst again.” Little did she know that the only way for her to never thirst would be for Him to experience her thirst by dying in her place.
Then in the middle of John’s Gospel, Jesus stands up at a celebratory feast and says: If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink! Streams of living water will flow from the one who drinks from Jesus’ well.
This is the One who turns water into wine, who offers water that quenches thirst forever, water that never runs dry. Yet now, He thirsts. His lips are parched. His throat is raw. He is thirsty, so you don’t have to be.
The blood and water will flow from His side, so that you can eat His body and drink His blood and live forever.
Behold the Son of God who completes the work of new creation. “Finished,” He says. The price of humanity’s sin had been paid.
Piercing through the dark storm clouds and echoing through the valleys surrounding the hill of Golgotha, Jesus cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” announcing that His work was complete.
On the sixth day, God had completed his work of creation. Now Jesus finished His work, as the spotless Lamb who died as our sacrifice. “It is finished” – the victory cry from the cross. The sacrifice had been accomplished. And God saw that it was good.
There is no way to God that does not depend upon nails, thorns, ropes, and wood. The blood of Christ is the witness of God to the triumph of love. The blood of Christ is God’s signature on His new agreement with us. The blood means that God means business and the agreement is valid.