Jesus has died, making two final statements. Today we read from John 19:31-37
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.”
Burials and High Days
When a person dies, a burial needs to follow, and it was the day of Preparation. It takes a long time to die from crucifixion. This site tells of the two ways crucifixion was preformed. They didn’t want crucifixion to take a long time, it would mean the bodies would still be on the cross during the Sabbath, and particularly during this Sabbath as it was a high day.
HEY… I now know why the Christian Holidays are called high days. It was a Jewish tradition. (cool eh!)
Anways, since 31 Since it was the day of Preparation, ….. the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.
Breaking the legs of the victims meant their deaths would occur within 45 minutes, giving people plenty of time to bury the dead before the Sabbath.
The soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him.
The agony of waiting to die would be over. Though death by suffocation is not a good death is it?
They didn’t need to break the legs of Jesus though since they saw that he was already dead. Instead one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
When I read this I have to wonder. Why? Why would the soldier be compelled to do that? There was nothing really to be gained by it.
It was a fulfillment of scripture! It was another of those things that God did to help people believe in him.
First he provided a witness. A witness whose testimony is not only true but he KNOWS he is telling the truth.
Second he fulfilled scripture “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
That is why the soldier pierced Jesus’ side. To fulfill scripture, to point us to truth, to show God at work. Again, God is in the details!
Crucifixion is not a pleasant death… taking up to days to die depending on the method used. This is what Jesus went through. Standing on his tiptoes to breathe. Through it all Jesus had found the breathe to speak to his loved ones.
The care is mind-boggling isn’t it?
We are then led to seeing God’s care. Having a soldier pierce Jesus’ side. Fulfilling scripture. So that we might believe.
Oh.. that’s the other thing.. he provided a witness. 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. There’s a difference isn’t there? Between one who knows something is true, having read about it or being told. And one who has actually witnessed something. Wow.. when they talk about truth they have seen you can tell they REALLY know what they are talking about.
A soldier and a witness… so that we might believe. God made sure his son wouldn’t die in vain. He took care of the needed details so that we might believe. A good thing that eh? All the effort that God went through and yet, there are those who can’t see the truth. Despite witnesses, despite scripture being fulfilled, they just can’t see the truth.
Don’t be one of them. Be one that sees what has been provided. Truth.