Scripture Reading: John 19:31-37
“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. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: ‘Not one of His bones will be broken.’ And again another Scripture says, ‘They will look on Him whom they have pierced.’” (John 19:35-37)
John stated his primary purpose for writing his book: “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31). John, an eyewitness, wrote this book to show that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.
In these verses that deal with Jesus’ death, John points out that specific events in Jesus’ life were the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. Two such events are recorded in our passage today.
Because it was a special Sabbath, the Sabbath of Passover, the Jews asked Pilate to break the legs of the three men being crucified. This ensured a quick death. The person being crucified pushed up on his legs in order to breathe. Not being able to push himself up by his legs, the prisoner died by asphyxiation. The soldiers broke the legs of the two thieves on either side of Jesus. Jesus was already dead and therefore they did not break His legs, but a soldier pierced His side. When he did, blood and water flowed out of Jesus, proving that He was truly dead.
These two events were prophesied in the Old Testament. Psalm 34:20 states: “Not one of His bones will be broken.” Another passage is found in the instructions concerning the preparation of the lamb for the Passover meal: “It (the lamb) shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones” (Exodus 12:46). The bones of the Passover lamb were not to be broken; Jesus’ bones were not broken to fulfill this prophecy and further the people’s understanding that Jesus was the anticipated Passover Lamb who would give His life for the sins of His people. The words, “They will look on Him whom they have pierced,” is found in the prophecy about the Messiah in Zechariah 12:10. These specific prophecies about the Messiah were fulfilled in the death of Jesus.
John connects the Messianic prophecies found in the Old Testament to specific events in Jesus’ life. He wants to give evidence that Jesus is the fulfillment of these prophecies. He is bearing personal testimony about the things he has seen and heard. John’s desire is for others to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, so that they may have the glorious gift of eternal life.
Lord Jesus, You are the Messiah, the Son of God. You died for me so that I can have eternal life. I do believe and rejoice that You are my Savior and my Lord.
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