Author: Christine Ang, Sayama, Burmese Christian Family Fellowship of Bay Area Church, Daly City
33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,” 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”
(John 19:33-37, NIV)
In John 19:33-37, Jesus and the twelve disciples ate the Passover meal, the Last Supper, on Thursday evening. That night, Jesus prayed earnestly on the Mount of Olives and then He was arrested because of Judas’ betrayal. On Friday, Jesus was crucified. The next day was to be a special Sabbath and the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath. With the authority of Pilate, the soldiers broke the legs of the men who had been crucified with Jesus. But they did not break Jesus’ legs because they found Him already dead and so they pierced His side. Jesus’ unbroken bones and pierced side were fulfillment of Old Testament predictions.
1. The Jews were instructed by Moses that the Passover lamb’s bones should not be broken. When the Romans failed to break the bones of Jesus, they were fulfilling scriptures because Jesus was the personification of the Passover lamb (see Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12, and Psalm 34:20).
2. When the Romans pierced Jesus’ side, they were also fulfilling scriptures. The Romans in this case represented the whole human race. Because all human beings except for Christ are born in sin (the Adamic nature), by default we all pierced Jesus on the cross. So, when Jesus comes back, those who will be left behind because they rejected Jesus will be the ones looking “ ... on the one they have pierced” (Zechariah 12:10 and Psalm 22:16). We, who have accepted Jesus as Lord will rise up to be with Him. The Jews who refused to believe in Jesus will be the ones who will mourn the deepest because as a people group, they would have missed the First and Second Coming of their Messiah.
The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior