John 19: 31-37
31 Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), 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 man and of the other who was crucified with Him; 33 but coming to Jesus, when they 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 immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36 For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “Not a bone of Him shall be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”
We get a glimpse here of Jewish tradition. It was the Passover celebration week and Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath. According to their religion, 1) touching a dead body made them unclean and 2) no work was to be done after sundown. This is the inclination explained in verse 31. The reason for the braking of the legs was because when someone was crucified, they could “stand” upon whatever bound their feet to the cross so they could breath. In breaking their legs, they were merely hanging by their arms and thus suffocated to death. So, they came through to quicken the death of those hanging so that everything could be taken care of before they no longer were allowed to.
It was interesting to look up the reference to the Scriptures that John refers to here. There are three references to Jesus bones. We read the prophetic part in Psalm 34, but they refer to the Jewish Law in regards to the Passover lamb. If anyone recalls the movie The Ten Commandments, we remember the odd scene where they are spreading lamb’s blood over their doorposts to protect them from death passing through the town. The reference here is to the rules of killing a pure lamb, using the blood to cover the door, and the family consuming the lamb that night. One of the stipulations was not to break any bones in the body.
The second reference comes from Zechariah 12, “10 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” It is interesting that this is exactly what happens!
The importance of prophecies like this is that they are recorded is that they don’t quite make sense until they happen. This is why I don’t spend a whole lot of time in the book of Revelation. Trust me, we will know when it is fulfilled, just as we see in Acts 2, when the Spirit of God is poured out among the nations. So what do we do with this? I think the most important part of this passage is right in the middle, verse 35. John writes these things as a firsthand witness. He is writing in his entire book the things he witnessed and his experience with Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God. But none of this will ever be convincing enough until you experience it yourself.
God wants to have a relationship with us. He wants to be close to Him. He wants us to experience these things and even more! It isn’t about convincing words or crazy stories of spiritual adventures. It’s an account of the Character of God. What we learn here through the relativity of Jesus in His time on earth is that not only was He relevant, but He fulfilled prophecies foretold centuries earlier. God is faithful. God is true. God is real.
Do you want to experience Him in your life today?