About 3 PM on Thursday of Passion Week Jesus gave up His Spirit and expired on the cross.  His mother Mary had earlier been there with her sister Salome, John, Mary Magdalene, and another Mary who was the wife of Clopas.  They were near enough to hear Jesus commend his mother into the care of John, his beloved disciple who was also likely her nephew.  Perhaps pushed back by the soldiers and not wishing to see her son’s suffering and death, Mary left while the others moved back some distance away.  After witnessing His death Salome too left, no doubt to console her sister that Jesus’ sufferings were over, while the two Marys and John remained to see what would happen to His body.  John alone of the Gospel writers records that in order that the bodies of those crucified would not remain on the cross, the Jewish leaders requested of Pilate that their legs be broken to hasten their death.  For if they were to expire on the forthcoming sabbaths it would put them in a catch-22 of either leaving their bodies on the cross overnight (cf. Deut 21:22-23) or doing work on a sabbath to remove them, both of which would be in violation of their law.  Since victims of crucifixion typically die by suffocation, by breaking their legs, they could no longer raise themselves upon the spike driven through the nerve centers of their feet to catch their breath, thus hastening their death while still inflicting great pain.

Consider that Jesus actually died much sooner than was usual for crucifixion victims, so that even Pilate was surprised; see Mar 15:44.  In addition to the inquisition in the dark of the night before and the beating by the temple officers (Mar 14:65), traipsing between the palace of the High Priest and the Praetorium and back and forth to Herod, not to mention the scourging Pilate gave Him hoping it would satisfy the crowd so he could release Him, what else left Jesus especially weak that allowed Him to expire so quickly?  See Mat 26:36-38,40-41,45, Luk 22:43-44.  What does this remind us about how much physical strength is necessary to die?  On the other hand, how much spiritual strength is necessary?  Although the kingdoms of the world highly value physical strength so that when facing its great contests men are careful to get proper nutrition and rest, how is that the exact opposite of the strength required for God’s kingdom and what is necessary to obtain it?  Cf. Zec 4:6, Mat 4:2, 1Ti 4:7-8.  Considering that in fulfillment of prophecy Jesus’ legs were not broken, what should we understand about how fortifying our spiritual strength by suffering in our flesh may actually spare us even greater ignominies to our physical bodies while at the same time allowing for the fulfillment of God’s words that might otherwise not happen?  What does this also remind us about the way that God uses us and expects our obedience, such as to keep watch and pray, to fulfill His purposes?

Because Jesus expired so quickly, what very significant Scripture relating to the Passover that all Jews would be familiar with was fulfilled by the soldiers not breaking His legs, that would have been a powerful testimony to them that Jesus was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?  See Exo 12:46, Num 9:12.  Is it possible that God’s command to the Jews to not break a bone of the Passover lamb was specifically given that it might in the fulness of time serve as a sort of signature that His omniscient hand was in it?  Is it also possible that there are other commands He has given us for such purposes, such as the head covering in 1Co 11:2-16, whose significance we might entirely miss in the fulness of time if we have failed to observe them?  In what ways did God’s dealings with Jesus exemplify the promises to the righteous in Psa 34:15,17-20?

Instead of breaking His legs, what does John record that one of the soldiers did?  See Joh 19:33-34.  Why would he have done so?  Think: although Jesus appeared to already be dead, how would lancing His side have confirmed so?  What prophecy did this fulfill?  See Zec 12:10.  In what way was this prophecy literally fulfilled at Christ’s first coming, and in what way will it be fulfilled at His second coming?  See Zec 12:10, 13:1, Rev 1:7.

What does John record happened when the soldier pierced Jesus’ side?  See John 19:34.  What does his statement in Joh 19:35 indicate about some deeper spiritual reality about the physical water and the blood that came out from the Lord that he bore witness to as the truth in order that others might believe?  Who else does he later say also bears witness to that deeper spiritual reality?  See 1Jo 5:6-8.  What is that deeper spiritual reality?  I.e., to what was John testifying in His gospel, to which the Spirit and the water and the blood also bore witness as the truth?  Cf. 1Jo 1:1-3, 4:14.  What is it that the Spirit and the water and the blood are in agreement about, i.e., the one thing that they are all for and to which they bear witness (see 1Jo 5:8 NAS text note), that is central to the gospel of our salvation by which the eternal life of fellowship with the Father and the Son is restored?  Think: what is the one thing that the Spirit and the water and the blood all do?  See Rom 6:4-8, 1Co 6:11, Eph 5:26, Tit 3:5-6, Heb 9:14, 1Pe 3:21. 1Jo 1:7, Rev 1:5, 7:14 and consider that as Christ’s blood was poured out so was His Spirit, for it is the Spirit that gives life and the life of the flesh is in the blood.  So too it is the Spirit of Christ that cleanses us from our sins by the washing of the water of the word of God—the living Word of God who gave up His Spirit to show us the way to eternal life by following Him in the way of the cross through death.