John 19:31-37: Water and wine.(please click for passage)
Here are some things to consider from this section of John 19:
The callousness of religion. Religion prioritises rules over people. In breaking the legs of the crucifixion victims their suffering was brought to a swift end. But I don’t believe this was in the mind of ”the Jews”. They had a religious preoccupation. The next day was not just a ”sabbath”, but a special one on their calendar. The Bible insisted that the bodies of executed people should not be left hanging overnight (Deuteronomy 21:23); it would pollute the land. They were concerned about that, but not what they had done to the innocent Jesus. We have already observed ,though, that Jesus was dead when they came to Him. No-one took His life from Him. He laid it down of His own accord (30). Does my faith show itself in genuine love for people? When you boil it all down, Christianity is about loving God and loving people. Whatever we do to ”the least” of His ”brothers” we do to Him (Matthew 25:31-46). If your religion puts rule-keeping before people, it’s not the genuine kind (James 5:27).
The note of fulfilment. It was necessary for Jesus to be ”already dead” when the soldiers came to break His legs. This was prophesied (see Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12 and Psalm 34:20). Jesus came into the world as the final and perfect ‘Passover’ offering (1 Corinthians 5:7).Another prophecy was fulfilled in the piercing of Jesus’ side (Zechariah 12:10). Again we see who is in control. It isn’t either the Jewish or Roman authorities. Bad stuff is happening to Jesus, but it’s all FOR good. God is on the throne as Jesus is on the Cross. So in bad times, we can take confidence that God rules all things.
The eye-witness account (35). The writer says, ”I was there.”
The transformation of our ‘watery’ lives, into wine, comes from the work of Jesus on the Cross (34). Tom Wright makes the point that throughout the fourth gospel, where water and blood are mentioned, they point to Jesus as the source of life, cleansing and purification. All those themes come together in this moment (see also Zechariah 13:1).The water and blood,in separation, show conclusively that Jesus was dead. The soldier was surprised to find that Jesus had died so soon. Part of the torture of crucifixion lay in the fact that the victims could linger for days on crosses. Suspended by their arms, they wouldn’t be able to breathe, so they had to push themselves up on their legs in order to get air. Therefore breaking the legs brought on a swift end. In Jesus’ case, the spear thrust was just to make sure. If he wasn’t really dead, He would be after that. The ”sudden flow of blood and water” (34) said that He was. That is important to understand, because from earliest times there were those who argued that Jesus did not die. That’s how they explained away the resurrection. They said things like, ‘Jesus didn’t die on the Cross; He just fainted. Later on He revived in the cool of the tomb, and made His escape!’ Oh really?!!
PRAYER: I thank you Lord Jesus, with wonder and gratitude, that you went through all of this for undeserving me.
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