Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would 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. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.” — John 19:31-37
The normal practice was to leave crucified men on the cross until they died, which could take days, and leave them to rot and be devoured by vultures. If there were a reason to speed this up, soldiers would smash the legs of the victim with an iron mallet. This prevented the victim from pushing up with his legs, which would force his chest cavity to remain open. He could inhale but not exhale because he couldn't push upward with his legs. Therefore, he was forced to pull with his arms to continue breathing. Remember that his hands and feet are nailed to the cross, so he pushes and pulls on nails driven into his body. Therefore, relying only on arm strength, his arm strength would eventually fail, and he would asphyxiate.
But not Jesus.
When the soldier pierced him with the sword to stir him, they penetrated the skin and out flowed blood and water. We discover the Savior's heart has erupted. He was already dead.
In sharing this account, John accomplishes two critical things: First, he highlights the prophetic fulfillment of his means of death. The Scriptures had foretold that not one of his bones would be broken and his side would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10). Through this, we see that even after his death, Jesus fulfills the prophecies, showing us the divine plan at work. Second, John bears witness, along with others, to the fact that Jesus had no life left in him when he was taken down from the cross. His death was actual, and his life was exhausted.
Jesus demonstrated unwavering resolve as a man, and we should follow his example. Commit yourself to Jesus today, understanding that he was resolute in redeeming you. Your determination may never match his, but you can draw strength from his unyielding resolve. He remained steadfast until his last breath for you, and you should do the same.
Live all in for him who lived all in for you.
Reflect on the brutal nature of crucifixion and the suffering Jesus endured. How does understanding the physical and emotional agony He went through deepen your appreciation for His sacrifice?
How can you apply this lesson of commitment and determination to your own faith journey? What steps can you take to live "all in" for Him who lived "all in" for you?
DO THIS: Live all in, with a little more resolve today than yesterday.
PRAY THIS: Lord, as I reflect on the profound sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, I pray for the strength to live out my faith with unwavering resolve, knowing that His unyielding love for me is my source of inspiration and courage. May I follow His example and commit myself wholeheartedly to You, Lord.
PLAY THIS: Deliverer.
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