Since it was the preparation day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special day). They requested that Pilate have the men’s legs broken and that their bodies be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other one who had been crucified with him. When they came to Jesus, they did not break his legs since they saw that he was already dead. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows he is telling the truth. For these things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: Not one of his bones will be broken. Also, another Scripture says: They will look at the one they pierced.
Jesus’ killers kept things tidy and were coldly diligent about appearances, rituals, and rules; all while missing the point. Are you skilled at keeping up appearances, but far from God in your heart? Is your religion a series of rituals and rules?
It is a grave thing for the Christian to become adept at covering his tracks because then he is not fully known. When we present only a mask to the members of our small groups at Highlands Community Church, we rob ourselves of authentic fellowship. The sense of candor and raw authenticity in a small group of our church should make the members of Alcoholics Anonymous blush. May we be more like John in verse 35 than we are like the Jewish leaders in verse 31.
The leaders demanding the crucifixion committed the ultimate act of legalistic irony. They wanted their mess cleaned up so that everything appeared orderly for the following day’s observation of the Sabbath. They ordered the legs broken of those on the three crosses, lumping the Sinless in with their fellow sinners, and then ordered that they be discarded. This entire macabre scene was a matter of appearances, but all the while it still served to fulfill ancient prophecies. Verse 36’s, “Not one of his bones will be broken,” was a fulfillment of Psalm 34:20b and verse 37’s, “They will look at the one they pierced,” fulfilled Zechariah 12:10.
Describe in words what the Holy Spirit does in your heart at the thought of Jesus being pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our sins.
Pray: Thank God for doing all that He said He would do, even working through those who crucified Him.