blood and water | John 19.31-37
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. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 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 19.31-37 | ESV
The local religious crowd hardly blinked. All they could think of now was getting those bodies down as quickly as possible since it was Preparation Day for the religious observance of their high and holy Sabbath in this Passover season and they didn’t want anything to tarnish that. So they sent a request to Pilate to have the legs of the crucified broken, insuring their swift demise (since they would no longer be able to position themselves to breathe) and expedient removal.
Word was passed along to the squad of soldiers carrying out the executions, so they came and broke the legs of the one and then of the other of those crucified with Jesus, but when they came to Jesus, they didn’t touch his legs since they saw he was already dead.
But just to make sure, one of them with his spear pierced his side, and it was like a fountain of blood and water gushing from Jesus. This is what happened. The one standing there saw it. He offers his sworn testimony to what he saw, and we have no doubt that testimony is true and you can count on it. Totally. Once again, all of this was simply carrying out to letter the cues of the Script:
“He had not a single busted bone.”
And then there’s the other line:
“They will peer on him they pierced.”
MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
Pan from the cross to the right. Watch the robed religious crowd discussing how to protect the sanctity of their holy day while Jesus hangs a bloody corpse, and two other wretches still fight and gasp for air. Watch Pilate give the order to break their legs; centering back on the crosses before you, don’t cover your ears or close your eyes as bone is smashed and two human beings simultaneously enter their final death rattle. Now watch as spear pierces cooling flesh and feel the mist from the unleashed torrent of water and blood. Then add these words from John to your reflection:
Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. 1 John 5:6-10 | ESV
No more words now.
What one new thing have you seen, heard, or realized as you sat before the cross this week?
Lord, forgive me for powering by the cross far too frequently in my life, for allowing my eyes to be drawn to brighter fields when they need to rest here, even if just for a moment. Let such moments as these work the momentous in me – and through me. Amen.