Why Did They Pierce Jesus’ Side?

Jesus’ Side Is Pierced!


Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from hanging on the cross on the Sabbath—for that Sabbath was a very solemn and important one—the Jews requested Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away.
So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first one, and of the other who had been crucified with Him.
But when they came to Jesus and they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.

John 19:31-33 (AMP)


It was against God’s law to leave the body of a dead person exposed overnight (Deut. 21:23), and it was also against the law to work after sundown on Friday, when the Sabbath began. This is why the religious leaders urgently wanted to get Jesus’ body off the cross and buried by sundown.


The normal Roman practice was to leave crucified men and women on the cross until they died (and this could take days) and then leave they’re rotting bodies hanging there to be devoured by vultures. The Mosaic Law insisted that anyone being impaled (usually after execution) should not remain there overnight. Such a person was under God’s curse, and to leave him exposed would be to desecrate the land in their minds.


In order to hasten death for certain reasons, soldiers would smash the legs of the victim with an iron mallet. Not only did this action induce shock and additional loss of blood, but also it prevented the victim from pushing with his legs to keep breathing and, thus, the victim died from asphyxiation.


Jesus’ Side Is PiercedIt is remarkable that the Roman soldiers did not do what they were commanded to do—break the victims’ legs—but they did do what they were not supposed to do—pierce the Saviour’s side! In both matters, they fulfilled the very Word of God! The bones of the Passover lamb were not to be broken (Ex. 12:46; Num. 9:12; and note Ps. 34:20), so the Lord protected our Lord’s bones. His side was to be pierced (Zech. 12:10; Rev. 1:7), so that was done by one of the soldiers.


But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came (flowed) out.

John 19:34 (AMP)


John saw a special significance to the blood and water that came from the wound in the side. The heart is encased in the pericardium, a sack of liquid that resembles water. The spear pierced the pericardium and the heart, and thus blood and water came out. According to medical opinion, the “blood and water” are signs that the final cause of death was massive heart failure.


Jesus had a real body (see 1 John 1:1-4) and experienced a real death. He didn’t just faint or go into a comma from which he emerged three days later. He was dead. By the time John wrote this book, there were false teachers in the church claiming that Jesus did not have a truly human body. The graphic details of Jesus’ death are especially important in John’s record because he was an eyewitness.


And he who saw it (the eyewitness) gives this evidence, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he tells the truth, that you may believe also.

John 19:35 (AMP)


Either John is writing if himself in the third person, or friends are affirming his honesty, as at John 21:24. The purpose of reporting that Yeshua (Jesus) actually did die is the same as the purpose of the whole Gospel (20:31) – so that you too can trust.


For these things took place, that the Scripture might be fulfilled (verified, carried out), Not one of His bones shall be broken;
And again another Scripture says, They shall look on Him Whom they have pierced.

John 19:36-37 (AMP)


Jesus died as the lambs for the Passover meal were being slain. Not a bone was to be broken in these sacrificial lambs (Exod 12:46; Num 9:12). Jesus, the Lamb of God, was the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world (1 Cor 5:7).



A King Over All

I have a King in me now who has started to reign and rule in the eternal part of my inner man. One day He will be released to be King over all. Even as Christians, having experienced the new birth, we must be careful to focus our hearts and minds on the eternal kingdom. Although we must live and move in this world, we dare not set our affections and pursuits on the values of this world system. The more we crave what is here, and the more the system of this world takes hold of us, the less we will know about the kingdom of God. If we expect to grow from babyhood to youth and into sons with knowledge, we will have to concentrate our energies on the pursuit of God and His holiness and righteousness in every area of our lives.


Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Transformed
Fuchsia Pickett, Presenting The Holy Spirit
NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible
The Complete Jewish Bible Commentary



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