Sermon: For Sin the Double Cure John 19:31-37

For Sin the Double Cure

John 19:31-37

Truth Taught- When our Lord Jesus’ side was pierced out flowed dual grace, Justification and Sanctification

Introduction

Last time we saw that many OT prophecies were fulfilled in the crucifixion of Jesus. We saw the last prophecy concerning His obedience as the Savior was fulfilled when our Lord said He was thirsty.
John 19:28–30 (ESV)

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 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. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Even now, after His death, God is still fulfilling Scripture. We’re going to look at a little more typology.
1 Corinthians 10:1–5 (ESV)

10 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

So Paul tells us that it was the Pre-incarnate Christ that followed Moses and the Hebrews throughout the Exodus. It was Christ who gave them water to drink.

Exodus 17:4–7 (ESV)

So Moses cried to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Pass on before the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel, and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Notice with me this one amazing point. The Lord stood before the Hebrews on the rock when Moses struck it. This is very close to saying Moses symbolically struck Christ. As Paul tells us it was Christ who is the rock and it is Christ who met their needs in the wilderness.

Father, You have Gathered Your people that You may let us hear Your words, so that we may learn to fear You all the days that we live on the earth, and that we may also teach our children…amen

John 19:31–37 (ESV)

31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

  1. Not One Bone Will Be Broken

31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs…36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”

It was the day of preparation for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This Sabbath, known as a high Sabbath, would mark the beginning of the Feast. This being Friday the day before the Saturday Sabbath would be the day that typically all the people and bodies crucified would be taken down from the cross.

The practice would be that those still alive would have their legs broken so that they could not raise themselves up anymore in order to breath, so they died by asphyxiation.

Deuteronomy 21:23 (ESV)

23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.

We may gain a dose of reality here, and that is that the thief who repented of his sin still had to undergo the physical suffering his sin required by the authorities. God did not relieve his suffering here on earth but did admit him into heaven when he died. This thief had his legs broken and died that hour.

Luke 23:39–43 (ESV)

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

I bring this up to remind us that sin still has earthly consequences even though God has forgiven such sin.

After the two thieves had their legs broken, the soldiers approach Jesus and discover that He had already died.

Psalm 34:20 (ESV)

20    He keeps all his bones;

not one of them is broken.

John shows us that God is still fulfilling Scripture now even after Jesus had died.

36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”

This is important in light of the lies we sometimes hear by unbelievers who claim Jesus didn’t really die on the cross. Their claim is that He merely fainted and then once placed in the cool cave for burial resuscitated. We have unmistakable proof however that Jesus did in fact die. The two soldiers saw that He was already dead so they did two things…they did not break His legs and they did pierce His side with the spear to determine for sure that He was dead.

  1. They Will Look on Him Whom They Have Pierced

34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

What many physicians tell us is that when the soldier thrust the spear into Jesus’ side it was probably done with an upward thrust and the tip of the spear penetrated Jesus’ pericardium or the fluid sac surrounding the heart. This probably explains why they witnessed blood and water streaming forth.

Many of the older commentators knew what was being pictured here with both blood and water.

Zechariah 12:10 (ESV)

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

Matthew Henry the great Puritan Scholar wrote,

Guilt contracted must be expiated by blood; stains contracted must be done away by the water of purification. These two must always go together. You are sanctified, you are justified…

1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (ESV)

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Matthew Henry goes on…Christ has joined them together and we must not think to put them asunder. They both flowed from the pierced side of our Redeemer.

This dual cleansing or as the Hymn writer Augustus Toplady penned, Be of sin the double cure.

What does John do here by emphasizing this double flow from Christ’s side? He is directing our attention that the death of Christ not only Justifies the sinner by His shedding of blood but the death of Christ also enables the Holy Spirit’s work of cleaning us and making us clean. Our sin is forgiven and also we are set apart for the cleansing of the Holy Spirit. So, we see that Christ died to cure our sin problem both in declaring us free from the curse of sin but also cleaning us up from sin’s effects. So it is by faith in Christ we have two great benefits…not only are we declared righteous but we are actually being made righteous.

This was, in fact, John Calvin’s emphasis when he spoke of our union with Christ by faith. By faith we come to enjoy all of Christ’s benefits which he stress the two major benefits are his duplex gracia or dual graces of justification and sanctification. His view is that the blood justifies and the water sanctifies.

We see this same focus in the New Covenant…

Hebrews 8:10–12 (ESV)

10    For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel

after those days, declares the Lord:

       I will put my laws into their minds,

and write them on their hearts,

       and I will be their God,

and they shall be my people.

11    And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor

and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’

       for they shall all know me,

from the least of them to the greatest.

12    For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,

and I will remember their sins no more.”

At the beginning of the children of Israel’s forty-year wanderings through the wilderness, God commanded Moses to strike the rock so that the thirst-quenching waters might be miraculously provided (Exodus 17:6). At the end of the forty years (Numbers 20:11), Moses struck the rock in disobedience to God’s command simply to “speak to the rock” for its refreshing water.

The apostle Paul is reminding us in the above text that the reason they received physical water was because their spiritual Rock, Christ, had been with them, supplying their needs from start to finish.

The first rock in Exodus 17:6 is a beautiful type of the Lord Jesus Christ being smitten once on the cross, producing life-giving waters of salvation for us. The second rock (Numbers 20:11) is a type of the risen, ascended Christ, who is seated at the throne of grace, to whom we now, as believers, but speak, in order to receive daily, fresh grace.

It is encouraging to know that the Rock, Christ Jesus, is with us from beginning to end. He has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). We begin with Him at the cross. We continue with Him through this life. We travel with Him right into heaven. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me” (Psalm 23:4).

Our Rock is sure and steadfast. Our Rock is Christ. “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” (Psalm 18:2,3)[1]

Application

Here we come to the test.

Since blood and water flowed from the side of our Lord, Justification and Sanctification, we must examine ourselves to see if, in fact, we have truly been Justified and Sanctified.

1 Peter 1:18–19 (ESV)

18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

So, the blood of Christ cleanses us from our sin. How then is it applied to us individually?

John’s Gospel has been called the Gospel of Belief. Faith or belief is the means by which the blood of Christ is applied to us or becomes effectual for us.

John 20:30–31 (ESV)

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

The next question that could be asked is, How do we know the blood has been applied to us?

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

As a new creation we will be different than we were before we believed. The Holy Spirit will begin to produce the fruit of the Spirit. Because of God’s sanctifying work in us we will become more and more like Christ. We will be engaged in some level of good works. We will serve others, especially those within our church body. Our lives will become lives of service rather than lives of “what’s in it for me”.

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Matthew 7:16–20 (ESV)

16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Service to others, good works for others within the church family is a mark of true conversion. The fruit of the Spirit is the outward manifestation of the inner work of the Holy Spirit within the believer. These good works shown to others within the church family is external proof that the blood of Christ has been applied and the person is a new creation. These good works are different in everyone and sometimes show themselves differently.
These good works are for the building up of the body of Christ…
Are you showing the inner workings of the Spirit as you serve others within the body of Christ? What ministry do you have here? How are you building up the body of Christ here at Grace?

  • John MacArthur on John
  • D A Carson on John
  • Richard D Phillips on John

[1] http://www.icr.org/article/that-rock-was-christ/

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