176. Jesus’ side pierced- John 19:31-37
-John gives us further evidence, as if we needed it at this point, that this was indeed the Messiah who fulfilled all of the Old Testament predictions of the prophets. He records two events: 1) The breaking of the bones of the two criminals, but not Jesus’ (Psalm 34:20, Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12), and 2) The piercing of His side (Zechariah 12:10), in fulfillment of the ancient Scriptures that foretold of His passion and foreshadowed His coming with the Passover requirements.
-Ritual cleanness on this significant high day was the reason the Romans customarily broke the bones of the crucified, but when they got to Jesus, they observed that He was obviously already deceased and therefore did not need the breaking of the bones. This was done to expedite the death process by asphyxiation since they would no longer be able to push their bodies up to breathe, or take in air, with broken legs. It was a sick and demented torturing process that gratefully is no longer used for executions. The Jews had to get the bodies down and prepared for their burial before sundown on the Friday before Sabbath to keep the requirements of the Law.
-The spear that pierced Jesus’ side indicates that He fully died as a genuine human body. This spear would have been a wooden pole about 6 feet in length typically with an iron point, or spearhead. John again uses this phraseology of the water and the blood in 1 John 5:5-8 to depict the unity in the incarnation between the Spirit of Christ as God and His human make up as the Messiah who must be trusted in. There was great debate in the early church as to constitution of Christ Jesus as the God-man. Some were saying He was really just Spirit as Divine nature without having true physical qualities. This came from the Platonic philosophy that all matter was evil and the spirit world was the only higher good. John wrote in a time where these heresies would have already been circulated, and he was fighting for the truth about the human nature of the Christ. The blood and water would have been the natural bodily fluids that would have collected in the Savior’s abdomen area where He was pierced as he hung on the cross.
-*Application* John gives us more proof of the humanity of Christ as the living sacrifice for our sins. God made Himself flesh so that payment could be made for the wrongs we have done against our God (John 1:9-14). He has purchased us with His blood and given up His life that we can be set free from the curse of sin and live a life unified and reconciled to the Father forever (Acts 20:28, Romans 5:10, 1 Corinthians 6:20, 2 Corinthians 5:18, Colossians 1:22, Hebrews 9:22). While He was fully human, He was also fully Deity and proved His power and innocence by the resurrection in glorious victory. This gives us hope for our own resurrection and eternal glory with Him. Praise His Holy Name!
Verses to Memorize- John 19:36-37