Lesson 95: John 19:18-22 – There’s Two Kinds of People

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

You're listening to Lesson 95 from the sermon series "The Gospel of John" by Pastor Ricky Kurth. When you're done, explore more sermons from this series.



When they crucified the Lord between one thief who believed and one who didn’t, it pictures how the world is divided into two kinds of people, saved and unsaved, with the Cross making the difference.

Bible critics say it is a discrepancy when the different gospel writers say that the sign Pilate posted on the cross said different things (Mt.27:35-37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19). But people remember different details of events that they have witnessed. Plus, the title was in three languages (John 19:20), so perhaps these three languages would account for these three slight differences in what the writers say the sign said.

Pilate no doubt nailed the title to the Lord’s cross. This means that had you been there that day, you would have seen his title, but you wouldn’t have seen what His Father nailed to His cross (Col.2:14). So what was this “handwriting of ordinances” that He nailed to the cross? Well, Exodus 32:15,16 says that the ten commandments were written in the “writing” of God.

But why did the ten commandments need to be blotted out (Col.2:14)? It was because the Law was “against us.” It demanded perfect obedience all the time (Gal.3:10). Colossians 2:14 says it was “contrary to us,” and the word “contrary is used in Acts 27:4 when the wind was blowing Paul away from his destination. People think that the Law is the wind beneath their wings, lifting them to heaven because they are keeping it so well, but on the contrary, it was given to condemn us and show us our need of a Savior.

So people think that the Law will be their defense on Judgment Day, when it will actually be their accuser. With that in mind, it is interesting that Pilate’s sign is called His “accusation” (Mark 15:25,26). The only thing Pilate could find to accuse Him of was saying He was king of the Jews. That should have been His defense. Who would crucify their king? So the thing that should have been His defense was His accusation. In the same way, people think the Law will be their defense because they keep it so well when actually it will be their accuser (John 5:45).

But if the law was our accuser, why’d God nail it to His cross? Because God laid our sins on Him and accused Him of breaking the Law we broke.

Was Christ king of the Jews? Of course! So what Pilate wrote was a copy of the Word of God that he translated into three languages. I believe God used his translation to save one of the thieves. Both started out railing on Him (Mt.27: 41-44), but one ended up expressing faith in His “kingdom” (Lu.23:42). How’d he know the Lord would have a king-dom? I believe he saw Pilate’s sign and asked the Lord if He were a king, giving the Lord a chance to witness.

What’s that tell you about the power of God’s Word, that even though it was copied and translated by an unbeliever God used it? And what’s that tell you about the new Bible versions, some of which were copied and translated by unbelievers? Some say you can’t get saved out of anything but a KJV, but this is limiting the power of God’s Word.

It doesn’t say they took “some” of His garments (John 19:23), so He was probably naked. He bore the shame of spiritual nakedness we should have borne (Rev.3:17,18), and the “contempt” (Dn.12:2) of God and angels. And the contempt of men (Isa.66:23,24 cf. Ps.22:6).

But if they cast lots for His coat, why did they rend His clothes? Well, the details of the Lord’s life were well known (Acts 26:26), so the soldiers probably heard that those who touched his clothes were healed (Mt.14:35,36), so they probably tore them up so each of the four soldiers could have one so they could heal people for a price!

The seamless coat that couldn’t be divided was a picture of His robe of righteousness that couldn’t be compromised. It was the kind of coat that priests wore (Ex.39:22,23). In the kingdom, the Jews will be issued a similar perfect robe of righteousness (Isa.61:10) so they can be “a kingdom of priests” (Ex.19:6)

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