Broken Legs

Jesus' legs not broken

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Broken Legs
JOHN 19 COMMENTARY
John 19:28-30 (C) Veil of the Temple

John 19:31-33 Broken Legs

John 19:34-37 Blood and Water
John 19:38-42 Joseph of Arimathea
JOHN 19:31-33  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.

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

How would breaking their legs make them die faster from crucifixion?
The nails were pounded through the wrists, not the hand as commonly depicted, and then into the wood of the cross. This caused excruciating pain since it crushed and pinched the ulnar nerve, but it 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 came apart from the weight of the body were the shoulders, which dislocated soon after the victims were hung vertically on the cross. This meant that since they couldn’t pull themselves up, in order to breath, the victims of crucifixion 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 their legs broken, they could no longer flex up and down, and suffocated to death within minutes.

What contributed to Jesus being "already dead" (John 19:33) while the two criminals on the crosses to His right and left were still alive?
Jesus had been scourged (see John 19 and Roman Scourge), so His back was torn up from the back of His neck to His buttocks.

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

Why was it important that Jesus' legs remain unbroken?
It fulfilled another Old Testament prophecy about Him: "He guards all his bones; not one of them is broken" (Psalm 34:20).

What have skeptics claimed about how Jesus fulfilled Old Testament prophecies?
That he was an imposter who knew about those Old Testament prophecies and said and did things just to fulfill them.

Could an imposter first die, and then withhold Roman soldiers from breaking his legs, instead make one of them spear his dead body (see next page), and then rise from the dead (see Resurrection of Jesus)?
 

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