Looking at the final three chapters of John we see much about our Lord and Savior and His first coming. He has come to the final day of His life as man among men. It is not a pleasant day for Him, nor would it be for you or me. He stands before Pilate, the governor of Jerusalem and Israel.
He is being tried for blasphemy against GOD. Those who claimed to know the word of God know not the Word of GOD. If they would have known Him they would not have Him on trial; rather they would be worshipping Him who alone is worthy of all human worship, and that of all creation.
In chapter nineteen Jesus says to Pilate,
“Thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin.” John 19:11 (KJV)
The one who delivered Jesus to Pilate was Judas, and He is the betrayer. Pilate may have thought that his power and authority came from Rome, but Rome and all governments of men receive their authority from GOD who gives it, and places men in positions as it pleases Him. Jesus, of course, knows this because He is the Creator of all that is (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16).
We see that Pilate seeks to release Jesus (19:12), the religious leaders and the mob will not hear of it, and want Jesus crucified. Pilate even refers to Jesus as king, saying “Shall I crucify your King?” The religious leaders response was, “We have no king but Caesar.” In saying this they betrayed and denied not only Jesus but the very heart of Scripture, and its promises to the Jews.
The Scriptures were fulfilled in the death of Jesus. The Scriptures tell us that not a bone would be broken (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12) when they found Him to have already died. Upon the declaration of His death Joseph of Arimathaea comes and request the body of Jesus for burial in his own prepared tomb. We find that tomb in a garden. It was in a garden where man first sinned. It was in a garden where Jesus prayed. It was in a garden where Jesus was buried. It will be in a garden where we will see the Tree of Life one day.
Upon the death of Jesus His followers are weeping, sorrowful, and confused; not knowing what to do. They go to the tomb on Sunday morning, and find it empty with the stone rolled away (20:1-2). Mary sees Him, and thinks Him the gardener until He calls her by name, “Mary” (20:16), then she calls Him “Master”
Jesus appears to the disciples and speaks, “Peace be unto you.” He shows them His hands and His side revealing that it is truly the risen Lord. Thomas doubts when he hears the Lord is risen; however, when he sees Jesus he says, “My Lord and my God.”
Thomas believes because he has seen the resurrected Jesus. Jesus gives a wonderful blessing to those who believe though they have not seen Him, when He declares,
“Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” John 20:29
Since that day, there is only one recorded account of one seeing the resurrected Christ, and that was Paul the apostle, who was Saul the persecutor at the time of the revelation of Christ to Him. No one who believes in Christ today has seen the physical, bodily raised person of Christ. Not seeing we have believed, therefore Jesus says that we are blessed.
Peter is asked three times, by Jesus, “Do you love Me?” each time in a different sense. It could be that Jesus is confirming his faith, because he had denied Jesus three times. Peter is given responsibility for shepherding the sheep of Christ which is a responsibility given to every Christian who will love Jesus and grow in Him.
When we recognize Jesus for who He is, and not what others say He is or what others prefer Him to be, then we too will say “Jesus is the Christ; Son of the Living God”.
-Tim A. Blankenship