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They Did Not Break His Legs


John 19: 31—37

When you think of the crucifixion of Christ the first thing that probably pops into your mind is the suffering.

But there is so much more to the cross other than just the suffering, the cruelty and the dying.

And what I want to do is show you just a part of the crucifixion that the people in the day the crucifixion took place apparently did not comprehend.

Look at the passage that was read again and notice starting in verse 32.

32 The soldiers therefore came, and broke the legs of the first man, and of the other man who was crucified with Him; 33 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs;

Now, as far as I know this is the only mention in the gospel accounts of the fact that they did not break Jesus’ legs.

And according to some scholars, the reason they would break their legs is because what the people who were crucified could do is push up with their legs which enabled them to catch their breath…and to relieve the discomfort some.

That may be true, but one thing is for sure, by breaking their legs that increased the injury and often sent the body into deeper shock.

So, they were checking each one who had been crucified and if they were still alive, they were breaking their legs…but when they came to Jesus…He was already dead…and so they didn’t break His legs.

But there is something more significant to the fact that they didn’t break His legs than just the fact that He was already dead.

The fact that they didn’t break His legs or His bones is a fulfillment of Scripture.

Well, look at Psalm 34: 20.

 20 He keeps all his bones; Not one of them is broken.

Well, look at the context of these words starting in verse 19:

 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous; But the LORD delivers him out of them all.  20 He keeps all his bones; Not one of them is broken.

But John says, “That is not at all that He was. The fact that they didn’t break His bones is God’s way of declaring Him as being “innocent” or “righteous.”

But there is more. Look at verse 21:  Evil shall slay the wicked; And those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD redeems the soul of His servants; And none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.

The fact that Jesus’ legs were not broken declared Him as righteous and those who crucified Him as wicked!

When word came to them that they didn’t have to break Jesus’ legs that should have said something to them!

Look at this. In Acts 2 starting in verse 22, the apostle Peter tells these very same people what they did…and who it was they had crucified.

Listen, most of the people still refused to acknowledge their sin.

And that begs us to ask the question today…what about you/I?

This whole thing took place so that you may be saved.

But there is more behind the fact that they did not “break his legs.”

By the time you get to chapter 12 here, God has already tried 9 times to get Pharaoh to let His people go.

But God would make provision for His people to escape this plague of death.

It was to be a male lamb…symbolic of strength.

And on the 14th day of the month, all the people together, every household together, was to kill their lamb just at twilight.

And I want you to notice now verse 46:

It is to be eaten in a single house; your are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside the house, nor are you to break any bone of it.”

 Now, if they obeyed these instructions look at what would happen; vs. 13.

“And the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.”

This was their only way of escape!

This “Passover Lamb” was God’s will, and it was their only way of escape from death and bondage.

Now, none of this would have any bearing on us if it were not for these words found in 1 Cor. 5: 7 where Paul says that “Christ is our Passover.”

You see, back in Exodus, the Israelites weren’t allowed to have altars to offer up sacrifices on.

And because Paul says that Christ is our Passover…and His blood was shed on the cross…that makes the cross an altar.

And that is another reason why His legs were not broken!

Now, once again, there are two sides to this.

But now, here is the other side of the picture.

And the question is: What about you?