Jesus: Sovereign in His Death


The greatness of Jesus shines more clearly when we see him in his proper relation to the Old Testament. Jesus is called the Word of God incarnate (John 1:14). He is the consummation of the Word of God. In the Old Testament, God provided us with a roadmap that foretold various signs and conditions in anticipation of our Messiah. We are to watch for the unfolding of this foretold history to authenticate Jesus as Messiah.

  • Ask God to use his Word to strengthen your faith and to clarify the object of your faith.


23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

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.

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.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


(Today’s questions focus on verses 23-24 and 31-37. Verses 25-30 will be covered in our next study.)

  1. What does verse 24 indicate about the tension between man’s responsibility and God’s sovereignty?
  2. What does verse 34 prove?
  3. What else happened at the time of Jesus’ death to show that it was not a normal death?
  4. How does the fulfillment of prophecy in this section impact your faith?


The fulfillment of prophecy is stunning. It demonstrates the beauty and drama of a sophisticated narrative. The world’s great writers use foreshadowing in their masterpieces. In the Old Testament, the Scripture says that they will divide his clothing and cast lots for them (Psalm 22:18). This was fulfilled in John 19:23-34. Psalm 34:20 says that Jesus’ bones will not be broken; this was fulfilled in John 19:33. The Old Testament says that the Messiah will be pierced (Zechariah 12:10); this was fulfilled in John 19:34. The New Testament highlights the fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies, including more than 300 in the life of Jesus. 

  • The God who wrote the Scriptures rules over history. When he makes a promise, he is faithful to his word. Pause to thank God that he is sovereign, and that he directs all things to fulfill his purpose.