Summary: The 14th in a series going through all Christ endured leading up to the Cross. The series ends Easter Sunday with the Glorious Resurrection
For the last fourteen weeks we have been looking at the things that they did to Jesus. Jesus endured so much. There are few if any that could have lasted through the punishment and abuse that Jesus took on. He was arrested, underwent false trials, was beaten, mocked, beaten, ridiculed, beaten, and then hung on a cross to die. What was His crime? His crime was faithfulness and obedience to God, and having an undying love for people.
The fifteenth thing that they did to Jesus was that they pierced His side. Let us look at this and what that means for us.
I. Their Request
Verses 31-37 are unique to John’s Gospel. They describe what football fans know as the “two-minute offense.” This is the offensive plan implemented by the team which is behind when there are two minutes or less left on the clock. Everything is hurried up, or designed to stop the clock.
The Jews were now in their “two-minute offense.” Time was running out for them. They had been forced to go through the formalities of a trial and to obtain Pilate’s cooperation in the crucifixion of Jesus. They were still under great time constraints because this was the day of preparation; they must be done with this crucifixion by evening so they could begin to observe the Sabbath by evening. Normally, death by crucifixion would take much longer, and this was no problem to Rome. While the Romans liked to leave the bodies of those crucified exposed for some time, to serve as a warning to all, the Jews could not allow these bodies to remain exposed after nightfall. The men would have to die more quickly than normal so that their bodies could be taken down.
Now they were asking that the legs of the criminals be broken so that they will die and can be taken down before the Sabbath.
There was no need, Christ was dead- But Sunday is coming.
Little did the Jews realize, but despite their best efforts God’s plan was going to be fulfilled and carried out.
God’s plan at this time is salvation for a fallen world through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God’s plan was going to be fulfilled in His way, and in His time. The Jews were trying to hurry things along, but there was no need for the work was finished.
A major problem that we run into today is that we try to get God to carry out His plan our way. It doesn’t work that way! God doesn’t work on our time table. We want to see God’s will done, but we try to make it happen. We cannot fit God into our box. We can choose to work with God- like the disciples, or we can choose to work against God- the crowd. One way or another, God’s will is going to be accomplished.
II. Their Actions
John is the only gospel writer to tell of this event. The Scriptures fortell that there would be no bone that would be broken on the Savior and that Christ would be pierced.
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn” (Zechariah 12:10, NKJV).
The piercing of the side of our Lord was prophetically necessary, since Zechariah 12:10 refers to the Messiah. And so what John describes is what Zechariah foretold. Everything was truly going according to God’s plan. Not one prophecy failed to be fulfilled.
Those who were present could see that Jesus was dead. There was no question for them. V. 33 tells us that they saw He was already dead so they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced His side w/ a spear. We are not told why he did this.
Their actions throughout displayed their unbelief. Jesus had said He would die and be raised again- they did not believe. Jesus performed miracles and they did not believe. Now He calls out “it is finished” and died. The people still did not believe that He was dead. The soldier had to pierce His side just to make sure.
How often do our action display our unbelief?
Disobedience? Lack of faith? Treatment of others? Lack of service? Hurrying God’s will?
Doing God’s will our own way?
III. Christ’s Gift. Jn 10: 17-18
Christ died on the cross that day. He gave His life. The Jews had Jesus arrested, beaten, mocked, and crucified. They were going to show Him who they were. Ultimately, Jesus showed who He was. The Jews did not get their way that day. They went to break His legs, but Jesus was already dead. He gave His life. He laid it down. The executioners did not take it, it was given. Jn. 10:17-18 “ Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again.” Jesus gave His life that day.