GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life for week ending 10/26/03.
The Blood of The Lamb. Part 3.
John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I am thirsty."
The Lord Jesus Christ loved the Scriptures, and His life in His humanity centered around them. The first great lesson from this verse is the infinite value of the Word of God. The thirst of Jesus points to His humanity, for deity does not get thirsty. It focuses our attention on His humanity because deity could not suffer the penalty of sin. This utterance of the Savior, "I thirst," immediately followed the three hours of darkness, during which the light of God's countenance had been withdrawn from the Sin-Bearer. This cry reveals the intensity of what He had suffered, the awful severity of the conflict through which He had just passed in His spiritual death.
Even though His sufferings were like no other, it was not desire for the relief of His body that caused Him to say this. He who turned the water into wine by a word from His lips could have spoken the same word of power here, and instantly met His own need. But in the Scriptures, the written expression of the will of God, it was written that He should thirst! He came here to do God's will, and He performed it perfectly. The terrible thirst of the crucifixion was upon Him, but that is not what forced His parched lips to speak; what was written in the Book is what caused Him to speak, PSA 69:21, "They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." Here again, He shows Himself in active obedience to the will of God, which He came to accomplish. His mind was perfectly clear and His memory entirely unimpaired, still remembering the entire scope of the Messianic prophecies. This capacity to be self-denying for the sake of others should be sought after by all believers.
The one who said JOH 7:37, "If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink," was Himself thirsty. Thirst represents the result of sin, LUK 16:24. If the Lord had not thirsted for us, every one of us would have an eternal thirst, forever separated from God. In JOH 19:29-30, "A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop, and brought it up to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, 'It is finished!' And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit." When the Lord Jesus Christ uttered the words "It is finished," He declared that salvation was complete. Nothing could be taken away from it, and above all, nothing could be added to it. It was purely a matter of grace.
"It is finished" is a single word in the original Greek-Tetelestai-yet it will take all of eternity to make manifest all that it contains. All things had been done which the law of God required, which prophecy predicted, which the types foreshadowed, which the Father had given Him to do-all things needed for our redemption-and nothing was left undone. The costly ransom had been fulfilled, the great conflict endured, sin's wages paid, and divine justice satisfied. Our Lord's cry of "It is finished" was neither the despairing cry of a helpless martyr nor an expression of satisfaction that the end of His sufferings had been reached. It was the declaration on the part of the Divine Redeemer that all for which He came from heaven to earth to do, was now done. All which was needful to reveal the glorious character of God had now been accomplished.
After the Lord Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sins, He announced that salvation was finished. Then He bowed his head and gave up His life. Our Lord was still speaking after salvation was accomplished. Obviously He could not have spoken if He were physically dead! His physical death could have nothing to do with the payment for sin.
In JOH 19:31 we read, "The Jews therefore, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies should not remain on the Cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away." The religious Jews were very particular about the superficialities of life, while ignoring matters of eternal importance. They had just demanded and secured the execution of the only perfect man who ever lived, their own Messiah. Now, in their hypocrisy, they are concerned about a body hanging on the Cross during the Sabbath. It was the Roman custom to leave a body nailed to the Cross until the flesh rotted away. However, Jewish Law required that the body of any criminal be put out of the sight during a Sabbath or feast day in order to not pollute the land, DEU 21:22-23. So in JOH 19:32, "The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him." The soldiers pounded their legs until their bones were crushed, and when they no longer had the support of their legs, they could not breathe, and would then suffocate. Verse 33 continues, "But coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs."This is a fulfillment of specific Old Testament promises; concerning the Passover lamb we read in EXO 12:46, Num 9:12, PSA 34:20. We read in JOH 19:35, "And he who has seen has borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. For these things came to pass, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, 'Not a bone of Him shall be broken.' And again another Scripture says, 'They shall look on Him whom they pierced.'"
God keeps His Word to you and me today just as He did throughout all the generations leading up to the Cross. In Passover after Passover, through nearly fifteen centuries, the Jews had carefully prepared the Passover lamb in such a way as never to break even one of its bones. Every time they went through the ritual, they were saying in effect,"What God says is true." God keeps His Word. In the aftermath of the crucifixion, God's character was on the line. God always honors His Word, and therefore Bible doctrine in your soul is your source of your confidence and security. Therefore, we read concerning the mature believers of the Tribulation in Rev 12:11, "And they overcame him cause of the blood of the Lamb and because of the doctrine applied by means of their testimony."
The Lord Jesus Christ anticipated that Satan would attack the Cross by perverting the true meaning of the blood of Christ, in an attempt to obscure the importance of His spiritual death. While still on the Cross, our Lord provided proof that He did not "bleed to death," and unlike that of the sacrificial animal, it is not His literal blood that has spiritual significance, but His finished work. Our Lord's words demonstrated for all to see and for John to record that He did not die from loss of blood. In JOH 19:34, "One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water." When the soldier's javelin penetrated our Lord's chest, without breaking any bones, immediately "blood and water" gushed forth. If the blood was inside the body, turning into clots and serum, then obviously death could not have been caused by bleeding. Despite His prolonged physical torture during His trials and sufferings on the Cross, His physical death came suddenly when, with complete self-control and clarity of mind, Christ released His own spirit from His body. He did bleed; His back was beaten, His hands and feet were nailed, and thorns were forced into His scalp. But all these lacerations and cuts did not kill our Lord, and external bleeding was not the cause of His physical death. The soldier's spear would reveal the evidence to all who witnessed the crucifixion, and to those studying the Word of God, the exact manner of His physical death. This is so we would understand the importance of the phrase the "blood of Christ," which has nothing whatsoever to do with His physical death but rather His spiritual death. In JOH 19:30 our Lord said, "It is finished," and then He died physically, but His blood was still in His body. When John mentioned "blood and water" in 1JO 5:6-8, he was refuting Gnosticism, which claimed that Jesus Christ was not true humanity, and that the Cross was merely an illusion.
The blood of Christ refers to the saving work of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He accomplished when He was judged as our substitute. The saving work of Christ includes redemption, reconciliation, and propitiation, and is often referred to as "the blood of Christ"-bearing our sins during those three hours of complete darkness. Therefore, the sight of blood and water is not only a witness to the true humanity of Christ but also medical proof that our Lord did not bleed to death.
Understanding this doctrine gives us a much deeper meaning of Rev 12:11, "Furthermore, they [believers in the Lord Jesus Christ] overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb." This passage is dealing with believers, namely the Jews in the last half of the Tribulation period, who overcame Satan by responding to a necessary measure of the doctrine of Soteriology, in other words, a portion of the Gospel message, revealed to them by God the Holy Spirit and made effective for salvation. They became recipients of propitiation, reconciliation, redemption, and justification, all included in the great doctrine of Soteriology. They made a positive faith decision; they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. Once they have made this non?meritorious decision to believe in Jesus Christ, they have joined the millions before them who have broken the back of Satan by believing in Christ. The first great victory over Satan is the victory of a momentary, one-time decision of personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The first step then in overcoming Satan in the Tribulation, or in any period of human history, is to personally believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The next decision is related to Bible doctrine. Once a person accepts Christ as Savior, he is now in a new combat. He is on the side of the Lord in the angelic conflict, and he again has decisions to make. He now has daily options, and good decisions result in great blessing. The believer who consistently makes good decisions from a position of strength has control of his life and a personal sense of destiny, which is absolutely necessary in times of historical disaster. There is no greater historical disaster than the last 3½ years of the Tribulation. This is the time when Satan is confined to the earth and all fallen angels are confined to the earth, and Satan's cosmic evangelism is at its highest.
Our corrected translation of Rev 12:11 reads, "Furthermore, they overcame him [Satan], because of the blood of the lamb [the first victory, the saving work of Christ on the Cross], and because of the doctrine applied by means of their testimony." The Greek conjunction kai should be translated "furthermore," followed by dia logon, from the Greek word logos which has many meanings, and here it means "doctrine." Next comes the ablative of means from the noun marturia, which is maturias, meaning testimony or witness. The ablative reveals the manner or agency in which the main verb, "overcame," is carried out.
Three things are necessary to glorify the Lord:
1. A personal sense of destiny from the inculcation of Bible doctrine, requiring many positive decisions.
2. Continual decisions from a position of strength, generated by the application of doctrine to experience.
3. A believer must remain in control of his life through the avoidance of the cosmic systems.
Perception and application of doctrine become the basis for the second victory over Satan. In the last half of the tribulation, abnormal circumstances demand daily application.
When you are under people testing, do not let people with mental attitude and verbal sins drag you down with them. This is where three factors in your life must synchronize:
1. The foundation of humility. When you are criticized, there is always something you can learn from it, but you must have humility.
2. You must have the proficiency of understanding the mechanics of God's will, plan, and purpose for your life as well as the problem-solving devices, and you must use them.
3. You must have the spiritual strength to use the shield of faith (the faith-rest drill) in the environment of confusion and disaster. This is your integrity, and it comes from inculcation of Bible doctrine.
Paul advises us in EPH 4:29-32, "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender?hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." When it comes to overcoming these problems because of "the doctrine applied by means of your testimony," you have to remember that a thought can make or break you. If there is confusion in any area of life (the home, romance, friendship, etc.), then there is stress in that area. Confusion demands concentration-bringing reality from doctrine into the consciousness of the soul. Our soul is a spiritual battlefield. What you think determines whether you are winning or losing.
You must learn doctrine before you can think doctrine; you cannot think what you do not know, EPH 4:23, "Then become refreshed [renewed] by means of the Spirit [by means of your thinking]." Arrogance is confusion of mind, which matches the confusion of life without Bible doctrine. Therefore, there is a divine mandate given in ROM 12:2-3, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind [the "renovation" of your thinking] that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [divine good production]. For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think [thinking in terms of arrogance], but to think so as to have sound judgment [thinking in terms of sanity for the purpose of sound judgment], as God has allotted to each a measure of faith [a standard of thinking from doctrine]." To "stop being conformed to this world" means to stop being in a state of confusion because of the human viewpoint of the world. Concentration on Bible doctrine in time of stress and confusion is essential.
Paul writes again in COL 3:2, "Keep thinking objectively about things above [divine viewpoint] and not about things on the earth [human viewpoint]." Bible doctrine is the thinking of God in relationship to the human race. Nothing is more important than knowing what God thinks, learning how God operates, and understanding His integrity. You can overcame these distractions by means of the Bible doctrine in your soul.
4. It produces stability of mind, as opposed to the instability of the
double-minded, JAM 1:8.
5. It is the basis for divine guidance and the execution of the will of God, ROM 12:2?3.
6. It leads to occupation with Christ (your social life with Christ) and the capacity and ability to love God and appreciate Him as the source of blessing when it comes, PHI 3:10, EPH 3:19, HEB 12:1?2.
Bible doctrine is applied in several directions:
1. Toward God-worship, love for God, and occupation with Christ.
2. Toward people-impersonal love for all mankind.
3. Toward self-spiritual self-esteem.
4. Toward dying-the application of the doctrine of dying grace.
All believers must learn to choose identification with the Lord over prosperity in the world. This means the application of Bible doctrine in every area of your life. It means rejecting pseudo-prosperity in the cosmic system for suffering with the people of God, HEB 11:25, "Choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin." As believers we also need to choose relationships with people based on doctrine, 1CO 2:2, "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." We need to make daily choices for life and death, or blessing and cursing.
For a more detailed study, order tapes IA11-326 to IA11-329.