Broken Legs

Jesus' legs not broken

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Broken Legs

John 19:31-37 Broken Legs

JOHN 19:31-35  31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.

Who had returned to the cross?
John, after having taken Mary to his home (see His mother): "he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe." (John 19:35)

Why did the Jews ask "that their legs might be broken" (John 19:31)?
So that they would die faster.

How would breaking their legs make them die faster?
The nails were pounded through the wrists, not the hand as commonly depicted. This not only caused excruciating pain since it crushed and pinched the ulnar nerve, but it also assured that the weight of the body didn’t rip the nails through the soft flesh of the hands. Since the arms were thus secure, what ripped from the weight of the body were the shoulders, which dislocated soon after the victims were hung vertically. This meant that since they couldn’t pull themselves up, in order to breath, the victims had to flex up on their knees to lower their diaphragm and inhale, and then flex down on their knees to exhale. With their legs intact, the victims of crucifixion could stay on the cross sometimes for days, flexing up and down to keep breathing. With the legs broken, they could no longer flex and suffocated to death within minutes.

What contributed to Jesus being "already dead" (John 19:33) while the other two were still alive?
Jesus had been scourged. His back was torn up from the back of His neck to His buttocks.

Why would that expedite His death?
Every time Jesus flexed up and down on the cross, He was scraping His shredded back against the rough wood of the cross, which increased blood loss and pain, as well as the chance of going into shock.

How do we know He was dead?
Water doesn’t separate from blood until circulation stops, at which point it accumulates in the heart and lungs. That's why both "blood and water came out" (John 19:34) when "one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear." (John 19:34)

But John 19:34 says that the spear strike pierced His "side," which is below his heart and lungs?
Jesus' body was up on a cross, with the soldier below. So the spear strike pierced His side at an upward angle and punctured His vital organ. Note that even if Jesus' had been completely healthy at this time, this spear strike on its own would have killed Him.

JOHN 19:36-37  36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”

Is there any other significance to Jesus being pierced?
Yes, it fulfilled the prophecy, "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..." (Zachariah 12:10)

What about Jesus’ legs not being broken?
That fulfilled another prophecy: "He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken." (Psalm 34:20)

Were any other prophecies fulfilled?
Prophecies about Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection are found throughout the Old Testament. One of them, given through David 1,000 years in advance, describes the details of His crucifixion long before that method of execution was even invented, as well as His cry from the cross: Psalm 22. Another prophecy, given through Isaiah about 700 years in advance, explains the reason for Jesus' sacrifice and foretells His death with the robbers ("with the wicked") and His burial by rich men ("with the rich at His death"): Isaiah 53.

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