17.01.04 Jn. 19:31-37 Jesus Is Pierced


Bill Heinrich  -  Dec 19, 2015  -  Comments Off on 17.01.04 JESUS IS PIERCED

17.01.04 Jn. 19:31-37




31 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. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man and of the other one who had been crucified with Him. 33 When they came to Jesus, they did not break His legs since they saw that He was already dead.  34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 35 He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows he is telling the truth. 36 For these things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: Not one of His bones will be broken (Ex. 12:46; Num. 9:12; Ps. 34:20). 37 Also, another Scripture says: They will look at the One they pierced (Zech. 12:10).


“Preparation day.” Literally, the “Day of Preparation” [1]  or Preparation Day was the day prior to special holy days such as Passover; a day when work would end and the people prepared themselves for the special event or a special Sabbath.[2] It was rooted in Leviticus 23:5-7.[3]   This was a technical term that confirms that Jesus died on Friday.[4]  It was the day before the Passover Sabbath and sometimes referred to as a “Second Sabbath Day,”[5] or “High Sabbath” because it occurred during a feast.[6]  In the year A.D. 30, the Passover began on sundown Thursday and lasted until sundown Friday; then began the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread. Hence the term, “the next day was to be a special Sabbath.”  The term “Sabbath” was the seventh day of the week, when work was set aside and everyone’s attention was focused on the celebration of our Lord of Israel. This phrase, however, was also applied to other holy days when there was prohibition against work activities.  In this case, John said it was a “special Sabbath,” meaning Passover that occurred on Friday and not Saturday.[7] The early church in Jerusalem and elsewhere clearly understood that Jesus was crucified on Friday, the Preparation Day of the Passover.

The imagery of Jesus dying as the Passover Lamb of God is profoundly significant.  Likewise was the proper sacrifice of a Passover lamb in the temple. No bones could be broken.  The rabbis were incredibly strict in the procedure, with severe punishment for violators. For example, the Mishnah recorded, “If a man breaks a bone of a clean Passover-offering he incurs the forty stripes.”[8] As the lamb died without broken bones, so did Jesus.  For centuries, the sacrificial lamb had projected the image of the future Lamb of God, Jesus.

This day is to be a memorial for you, and you must celebrate it as a festival to the Lord. You are to celebrate it throughout your generations as a permanent statute.

Exodus 12:14


“Men’s legs broken.”  The dying process was so horrific, that out of mercy the Romans would break the legs of the crucified men. This crurifragium, or leg breaking, hastened death and thereby shorten the time of suffering.[9]  This was not done to Jesus because He died quickly, most likely because of the severe scourging He received earlier.

One of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear.”  How interesting that this was committed by a soldier who was under the command of Pilate.   The name “Pilate” is derived from the Latin word “pilatus,” meaning “javelin.”  It was a spear or javelin that pierced the side of Jesus.[10]  This act was in the plan of God for the salvation of humanity.  In the Garden of Eden, God took a rib from Adam’s side and made a bride for him.  Jesus had His side pierced by which He redeemed for Himself a bride. This soldier, as some other individuals of the Bible, did not have his name recorded in the Scriptures. According to the pseudepigraphal book, the Gospel of Nicodemus, his name was Longinus and his spear became known as the “Holy Lance.”[11]

As the Roman soldiers surrounded Jesus, the event became a fulfillment of prophecy:

Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.

Psalm 22:16


Critics have stated that this passage in Psalm was not in the original text, but is a later Christian interpretation.  The basis for their opinion is that the Septuagint translation reads, “Like a lion are my hands and feet.”  However, a Dead Sea Scroll fragment puts the critics to rest, it reads precisely as any Bible has it, and the Essenes were certainly not interested in Christianity.[12]

At once blood and water came out.”  When a person dies, there is a separation of the blood into two liquids that appear as blood and water.  This is the first proof that Jesus died a physical death, which followed the spiritual death when He cried out, “My God, my God, Why have you forsaken Me?” Everyone realized that His Spirit had departed, but it appears that the flow of water and blood was unexpected, and may have had a symbolic meaning to the gospel writer, because later, in his first epistle he said,

Jesus Christ — He is the One who came by water and blood, not by water only, but by water and by blood. And the Spirit is the One who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. For there are three that testify: the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and these three are in agreement.

1 John 5:6-8

Finally, Jesus identified with the common people by dying on the cross, not only for theological reasons, but there was also a connection that paralleled His baptism. More than anyone else, He understood the sufferings of His people, but unlike His people, He also understood the dilemma in which they lived. It was for this “dilemma” that He came, lived, died, and rose again.


[1]. 2 Kgs. 11:5; 1 Chron. 9:25; 24:19; Josephus, Antiquities 7.14.7; See also Simmons, “The Origin of Christmas and the Date of Christ’s Birth.” 321-22.


[2]. Mt. 27:62; Mk. 15:42; Lk. 23:54; Jn. 19:14, 31, 42.


[3]. See also Num. 11:18; Jos. 7:13. The first and last days of the Passover festival were days of “Holy Convention,” and became known as “Second Sabbaths.” Six times the word “preparation” is used to identify the day of the festival and three of those with the Sabbath Day (Mk. 15:42; Lk. 23:54; Jn. 19:31). Twice the term is used without an identification (Mt. 27:62; Jn. 19:42) and once it is refered to as the “preparation of the Passover in John 19:14.


[4]. Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 25, page 18.


[5]. Christian scholars historically have failed to recognize this day as a holy day for the Jewish people.


[6]. Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 25, page 18.


[7]. Saldarini, Jesus and the Passover. 56.

[8]. Mishnah, Pesahim 7.11.

[9]. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 2:286.


[10]. Kennedy, “Christ’s Trial and Ours.” 9; Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament. 2:274.

[11]. Jordan, Who’s Who in the Bible. 240.


[12]. Miller, “The War of the Scrolls.” 42-43.

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