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John 19:17-30 Study Guide: Jesus Took Our Sin and Shame

Community Group Study Guide — Jesus Took Our Sin and Shame
John 19:17-30

Study Information:
Have you ever wondered why the events of the crucifixion of Jesus were so brutal? When you read about the crucifixion narratives they are filled with blood, pain and suffering. Why? We know that scripture predicted the events of the cross, including the need for a sacrifice for sin, the piercing of Jesus’ hands and feet, the soldiers gambling over his clothing and even Jesus’ side being pierced (Hebrews 9:22, 13:11-12, Psalm 22:18, Zech 12:10). But, why did God allow the events to unfold in that manner and not have Jesus die in a more humane way as a sacrifice for our sin?

The cross communicates the holiness of God in a unique way in how the suffering of Jesus emphasized the gravity of our sin before a holy God. Likewise on the cross we see Jesus suffering unique aspects of how sin has effected our lives and this world. In doing so, he took our sin and our shame and experienced the weight of the evil in this world laid on his shoulders. 

Physical Pain
John 19:17-18
Crucifixion was incredibly painful. We read last week that Jesus was first scourged, which included being whipped repeatedly with a whip embedded with metal, glass and bone. That could often lead to someone dying or going mad. After the scourging, Pilate ordered Jesus to be crucified. Jesus was forced to carry his cross beam outside the city where he would be nailed to the horizontal beam and the vertical beam and the cross would be put into the ground where Jesus would slowly die of asphyxiation. A crucified individual would push up on the nail in their feet so they could breath and then settle back down, this was designed to lengthen out their suffering and add to their agony. The cross included an incredible amount of physical suffering, which is something we experience today because of sin’s presence in the world. 

This all took place outside the city at a location called “Golgotha” which was the called place of the “skull.” You may be more familiar with the latin term for this place, Calvary. 

God the Son, Jesus Christ, experienced all of that for us and for our salvation. 

Relational Abandonment
John 19:18
Rather than having his disciple and friends with him at the cross, Jesus was “numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). Jesus took Barabbbas’ place on the cross and was surrounded by who were likely Barabbas’ accomplices. At the cross he had his mom, his aunt Mary, Mary Magdalene and “the disciple whom Jesus loved” but noticeably absent were Peter, the rest of the 12 and his siblings. Jesus Christ knew what it was like to experience being alone and abandoned by his disciples in his time of need and, for us and for our salvation.

John 19:19-22
It was common for a criminal to have his crimes listed above the cross. The crime of Jesus was listed as “King of the Jews.” This was certainly a mocking jab from Pilate to the Jews with Jesus being the object of this mockery. Pilate was just pressured by the Jewish leaders to crucify Jesus and it appeared he got back at them by declaring that the Jews were still a conquered people and that Roman power wouldn’t be messed with. 

The irony is that the cross became a throne of glory and Pilate spoke better than he knew in his declaration of Jesus being king. In all the horror of the cross Jesus was being exalted as king. Jesus spoke of the cross as being the moment he would be glorified, exalted and “lifted up” which were all expression of kingship. On the cross, God transformed the mockery of the purple sash, the crown of thorns and placard listing kingship as Jesus’ crime and he did this for us and for our salvation. 

John 19:23-24
Part of being crucified included being stripped of your clothing and being naked on the cross. This was meant to embarrass the one being crucified and to declare their open shame to the world. The gospel writers focused in on a group of soldiers who were haggling and gambling over Jesus’ clothing. In the ancient world clothing was expensive and one of Jesus’ seamless tunic was of particular value. Psalm 22:18 predicted that this garment would be gambled over as the Messiah was suffering. This kind of treatment was shameful and dehumanizing. But in this we get a powerful image of what Jesus was doing to the spiritual powers (Colossians 2:13-15). Paul used similar language when he said that the authorities of this world were “disarmed.” Jesus was treated shamefully and less than human to disarm dark spiritual powers and for us and for our salvation. 

Loss of Family
John 19:25-27
This is one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking passages in the gospel of John. Mary had to watch her son suffer and die and was powerless to stop it from happening. Likewise, in these last moments, Jesus had to watch his mom in agony. Jesus looked down from the cross and spoke to his mom and to the disciple whom he loved and created a new family. He said “woman, behold your son” and to the disciple “behold your mother.” One of Jesus’ last actions before dying was to create a new spiritual family and show concern for his mother. Jesus expressed concern for his mom and at the same time pointed to how his death created a new spiritual family, for us and for our salvation. 

It Is Finished
John 19:28-30
The last words of Jesus on the cross were a declaration, “it is finished.” The plan of God for our redemption met its fulfillment in Christ on the cross. John also declared Jesus’ power over his death in saying that Jesus gave up his spirit. This emphasized that Jesus did not succumb to his wound but rather even in his last moments he was in control and gave up his Spirit when the work of God was completed. 

The brutality of the cross shows us the gravity of our sin, how Jesus experienced the weight of our sin and the compassion of God to do all this for us and for our salvation. 

At your community group:

Take 15-20 minutes to share about how God has been at work in your life, prayer concerns and pray for one another.

How did God speak to you through the scripture and the sermon this week? 

Discussion Questions:
Read John 19:17-30

How would you answer someone who asked you why God would allow for something so brutal as the cross to happen to Jesus?

Read Colossians 2:13-15, how does Paul help us understand what took place on the cross?

How did Pilate unintentionally serve the plans of God without knowing it?

What effects of sin did Jesus experience on the cross? Does one in particular speak powerfully to you?