The Central Idea of John 19:31-42 is that Jesus’ dead body is laid in a tomb. The Jewish authorities who had pressured Pilate to crucify Jesus requested His legs be broken, along with the other two men, so that their bodies might not hang on the cross overnight (John 19:31). To expedite death, Roman soldiers would break the legs of those crucified which would prevent the victims from using their legs to push upward, leading to asphyxiation. It is a twist of irony that the Jewish leadership sought to obey Moses’ teaching concerning not leaving a body on a cross past sunset (Deut. 21:22-23), yet had no hesitation to crucify the One of whom Moses spoke and commanded obedience (Deut. 18:18). The Roman soldiers broke the legs of the men on either side of Jesus but did not break His legs; rather, a Roman soldier pierced His side with a spear, and blood and water came out, showing Jesus was already dead (John 19:32-34). John declares He witnessed these events and that his testimony is true, and also that Jesus’ death fulfilled Scripture (John 19:35-37). Joseph of Arimathea—a secret disciple of Jesus—requested the body of Jesus from Pilate who granted his request (John 19:38). Joseph, along with Nicodemus, took the body of Jesus and prepared it for burial with linen wrappings and spices and placed it in a new tomb near the place of crucifixion (John 19:38-42). Several women apparently watched these men hastily transport Jesus’ body and prepare it for burial (Matt. 27:61), and later planned to return and finish what had been started (Luke 24:1).
July 1, 2017