June 12

John 19:23-42

Psalm 22:18 is fulfilled in John 19 where it says, “They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.” This is another specific prophecy that is fulfilled by Christ – another confirmation Jesus was the promised Messiah.

It was not unusual for soldiers to divide up the possessions of a person condemned to die. From John 19:23, we see that some of Jesus’ items were able to be divided; however, the tunic was one piece of woven fabric. This was not a common piece of clothing. The garment was more valuable to the soldiers as one piece, and they all wanted it. This is why they cast lots for it, which is like rolling dice, used for making decisions.

Was there spiritual significance in the seamless robe? In Exodus 28:39-40, priests were instructed to wear a seamless robe, without any stitching in the woven fabric. On the day of His crucifixion, during Passover, Jesus was wearing a garment similar to what the priests wore. Jesus is both our high priest and our sacrifice. He paid the price and offered Himself to God as an offering for mankind. Hallelujah!

On a side note, tearing a garment was a custom that illustrated the tearing the soul. Jews often tore their garments in regret or repentance to show their inward condition. Priests were instructed never to tear their robes (Leviticus 21:10). By the way, did you notice in Matthew and Mark’s accounts that Caiaphas, the high priest, tore his robe after questioning Jesus? That was a strong statement.

In addition, we see the shame Jesus endured by being stripped of everything He had, hanging in public with little to cover his bloody, naked body. Jesus willingly went through humiliation for us. No one enjoys suffering or mistreatment; however, Jesus spoke of a religious persecution that some Christians may have to endure for His sake. Is it right? No, but when we live in a divided world between a kingdom of light and a kingdom of darkness, there is conflict. Jesus endured much more for us than we ever will; however, Paul encourages those who suffer for Christ, saying they will also participate in His glory.

In verses 25-27, Jesus asks John to care for His mother, and John comforted her. It would be difficult to see someone you love it such agony. The disciples didn’t understand that Jesus would come back to life in 3 days, so there was tremendous mourning over Jesus’ death. In addition, there was most likely feelings of confusion that the Messiah had died rather than to take over the nation. There were probably feelings of concern that church leaders or Romans would come after them next. It was very hard on those close to Christ. We can see why Jesus spent so much time trying to explain His death to His followers.

Another Scripture is fulfilled from Psalm 22:15 when Jesus cries out, “I thirst!” His dehydration from suffering and gasping for air in His lungs was excruciating. They gave Jesus sour wine with hyssop, then cried out, “It is finished!” Then giving up His own spirit, He departed from His body. Those who have received His sacrifice appreciate what He went through for us.

Ezra 1-2

Jewish tradition attributes the authorship of this book to Ezra. Ezra was considered a scribe, “an expert in the words of the commandments of the Lord (7:11).” He was also a descendent of Aaron and a priest (7:1-5). Ezra was a leader, leading the second of three groups returning to Jerusalem from Babylon. The book has two main parts. The first part covers about 23 years, describing the first group’s return to Jerusalem under Zerubbabel’s leadership, as well as the reconstruction of the temple. The second part describes the return under Ezra’s leadership, which took place about 60 years later.

The time of the captivity was set by God before it ever began. God stirred the heart of King Cyrus, the king of Persia, to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem. The people have been discouraged by the mocking of their enemies, so God raises up prophets Haggai and Zechariah to encourage them to continue their work on rebuilding. The people are unfaithful to God, but God remains faithful to them, keeping His promise to return them to their land.

In chapters 1 and 2, King Cyrus declares the Jew’s freedom to return to Jerusalem, and the first group of Jews return.

Whenever we are tempted to be discouraged, let’s remember the faithfulness of God. He will keep His promises to us, so let’s encourage ourselves by reading and applying His Word.

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