BSF Study Questions John Lesson 27, Day 2: John 19:31-37

Summary of passage:  The Sabbath was the next day and the Jews did not want bodies hanging around so they asked Pilate to take the bodies down.  The soldiers went around and broke the legs of the two criminals who were still alive.  Jesus had already died so they did not break his legs.  Instead, a Roman soldier pierced his side, fulfilling Scripture once again.


3)  According to Jewish law, the bodies could not be left overnight and had to be buried that same day so the land would not be desecrated.  Breaking their legs would kill them faster so they wouldn’t die on the Sabbath where the men were not allowed to do work i.e. bury dead bodies and become unclean.

4)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  They are willing for others to suffer or even die so that they can follow the laws.  They pick and choose which laws to follow.  They are motivated not by God but by themselves.  They don’t care who they hurt to keep up appearances.  You must have God’s heart in all you do and behind all your actions, not your own self-interests.  Do what’s right for others, not yourself.

5)  Personal Question.  My answer:  For coming to earth to be fully man and lead by example how to live a Godly-life.  I’m thankful for his death as well to save me.

Conclusions:  No one yet has realized the full significance of Jesus’ death.  No one will until he rises again in 3 days.  It’s as if time stops as people go through the motions, waiting for God’s plans to unfold.  Sometimes I feel I’m going through the motions to get to God’s plans but always moving towards them.

End Notes:  The day of Preparation again gives scholars problems as to the exact date of Jesus’ death.  The special Sabbath was Passover.  Most scholars believe the Passover meal had been eaten on Thursday.  The day of Preparation was Friday.  The Sabbath would be Saturday.

As we’ve discussed LAST WEEK, the bodies of those crucified would normally hang on the crosses and rot as a sign to others not to break the law.  However, the Jewish leaders, concerned about ceremonial pollution on the Passover, requested the bodies removed early.  Breaking the legs (known as crucifragium in Latin) would bring asphyxiation on quickly.  Men had to push themselves up with their legs in order to breathe while hanging suspended by their hands.  Unable to do this, they would die.

Could you imagine?  You are suffering on a cross and a guy comes up and wracks you on the legs with a club?  The pain!  In one sense, it’s a good thing cause you’ll pain will end sooner through death but still…

Mark 15:44-45 tells us that Pontius Pilate asked for confirmation that Jesus was dead.  These were seasoned Roman soldiers who knew the look of death.  The customary way to confirm death on the cross was to break the legs.  However, this centurion did not.  Instead, he pierced Jesus, probably meant to be a death blow, and fulfilled prophecy.  This could have been out of cruelty as well.

Blood and water flowed and doctors today think this proves Jesus died of a burst heart since the water would come from the watery sack that surrounds the heart known as the pericardium and possibly the heart itself.  Typically, in the Old Testament, water and blood was used to cleanse the people.  Spurgeon compares this to Adam and Eve who came from his side.  From Jesus’ side comes the church.

John tells us he was there to testify to what he saw.  Later in one of his letters (1 John 5:6–which we studied in Lesson 21) he described Jesus as He who came by water and blood. This description has puzzled many commentators, unsure if John meant the waters of baptism or the water mentioned in John 19:34.

The not breaking of the legs prophecy of Psalm 34:20, Exodus 12:46, and Numbers 9:12 was unknowingly and accidently (on man’s part) fulfilled. Nevertheless, its exact fulfillment shows the providence and guidance of God, and leads us to believe.

This piercing prophecy of Zechariah 12:10 and 13:6 was unknowingly and accidently (on man’s part) fulfilled. Nevertheless, its exact fulfillment shows the providence and guidance of God, and leads us to believe.

Zechariah also says Jesus will be looked upon, mourned, and petitioned.  This is to still to come.

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