THEN THE SOLDIERS
John 19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did. John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
Brother Hubert Davis well stated, “The door to Hell is at the foot of the cross!” And here are those who actually sat at the foot of the cross watching all that went on, and were only concerned about what they might personally benefit from the one being crucified! For Matthew 27:36 reveals of them, And sitting down they watched him there; THIS is like the Harlot church of our own day! They concern themselves much with a dead Jesus, but have no interest in him other than any personal benefits they may have of him. There is a great lack of the slightest compassion for his death!
Three Key Phrases
There are three key phrases in our passage that must be noted in order to get the full benefit of this situation. First, there is that which we have used as the title of our lesson. “Then the soldiers!” That, “then,” is highly important! For they could never have come on the scene and entered the spotlight of Providence unless the Sovereign God had given them this time and place! For he hath before ordained both the time and place to grant this opportunity! Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
The second phrase of importance is, “These things therefore” the soldiers did! That “therefore” is also highly important, for it instructs us that these things only occurred in order to fulfill God’s Holy Scriptures! For the soldiers specific actions were set forth in the 22nd Psalm by the Psalmist and Prophet David, in verse 18. For not only did he give the fact of the parting of the garments, but he also foretold that for his vesture they would cast lots! – And that specific prophesy by the Holy Spirit through King David was given hundreds of years before Rome was even a nation! But here they sat, concluding that it was not good to tear his coat, thereby fulfilling the exact words of God, hundreds of years before!
The third important phrase is seen in verse 28, listed above. It is the phrase, “After this.” The Lord Jesus, like no other man, had the authority and power from the Father to lay down his own life! No man could have taken it from him! And he had the same power to take it up again at his own will! (John 10:18). But when would he do this? When would he lay down his glorious, sinless life? It was “After these things!” He held his life secure in his sovereign volition in order to grant these soldiers the opportunity to violate his person! THEN he lay down his life!
O! Dear soul! How I trust that you, as a religious performer, ever so near to the doctrine of the crucifixion, are not just being given opportunity to sin against the Lord’s Lamb, in order for your greater damnation!
In Matthew 8:9 we read that soldiers are under rigid authority! For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. And so is the great body of religionists of our world today! Seeing nothing of blood bought redemption, even at the very foot of the cross, they follow a structure of religious “do’s” and “don’ts” in order to gain their eternal rewards! But salvation is not of works! Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Rom. 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
These men are also stamped with the world’s number. For of the garment there was made FOUR parts, to every soldier a part! There are four winds, seasons, directions, and corners of the earth. Daniel also presents four worldly kingdoms (7:7), with Christ’s, the fifth, being the spiritual one. And we see that these soldiers had every one of them a part of Christ’s garment. The Harlot church, like these soldiers, grab and tear at the Lord’s Lamb, believing all men without exception to be justified in their compassionless abiding at the foot of the cross. They believe everyone to be included and covered in a universal atonement!
But it is just the opposite! The Lord Jesus came to save “his people” from their sins! (Matt. 1:21). He shed his blood to “purchase” the church of God! (Acts 20:28). Therefore we read that his coming actually Un-Cloaked these! John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. Many who feign themselves to be rich, and in need of nothing spiritual, shall appear naked before God one day! Rev. 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
The verse quoted in our first paragraph from Matthew 27:36 reveals a total lack of compassion within the soldiers hearts. It is a great evidence of one’s eternally lost condition not to have a godly concern for the dying Lamb! For it is only those who see the glory of the cross who have been given spiritual eyes to repentantly look upon him who is wounded for their transgressions!
For it is totally an effectual work of the Holy Spirit to grant anointed eyes to properly see the cross! Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. One of the great gifts the Bridegroom gave to his Bride upon his ascension was the gift of repentance! Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.
That verse in Zechariah states that the Lord shall pour out the spirit of grace upon the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem! And then we read in the first verse of the next chapter that it is for these exact same two the fountain filled with blood was opened! Zech. 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. For the application of redemption is as wide as the atonement! Those for whom Christ died are those for whom the Spirit of grace was sent!
O! Dear soul! Do you have any interest in the atonement? Is there within you a mournful spirit for your sins, and a tearful heart for his wounds? All the true elect are greatly moved at what they see! Luke 23:48 And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned.
God’s true people gather at the cross, not to snatch and grab for covering like the Harlot church, but to see the glory of the cross. For therein are they changed to repent from their sins that caused such a horrible crime against the Person of God!
Pastor Gene Breed