The Jews didn’t want to leave the Lord’s body on the cross before “the preparation” (v.31), the day before the feast of Unleavened Bread. Since they thought Him guilty of the sin of blasphemy, this would have defiled their land (Deut. 21:22,23), specially on the Sabbath, specially on this “high day” Sabbath of Unleavened Bread. So the Jews asked Pilate to break His legs so He wouldn’t be able to push up on them to breathe easier, and so would die quicker.
Once again we see their religious hypocrisy (Mt.23:24), worrying about a minor infraction of the Law after killing an innocent man. But this hypocrisy helped fulfill Luke 23:43. Without it, the thief would have lived past that day. Pilate normally wouldn’t agree to this, since the purpose of crucifixion is to make the victim suffer, but Pilate knew the Lord was innocent, so granted Him mercy (Jo.19:32).
The Lord had died faster than the two thieves (v.33) be-cause He had chosen to die once all prophecies about Him were fulfilled. But it is important to notice the soldier was convinced He was dead, since some say He just fainted and the apostles claimed He rose from the dead. But Pilate ordered his legs broken, and the only way a soldier would disobey an order is if he knew He was already dead.
The pierced side (v.34) of “the last Adam” (ICor.15:45) should remind you of the pierced side of the first (Gen.2: 21,22). God put Adam under anesthesia and took his rib and made a bride. When the Lord slept the “deep sleep” of death, God took a bride from His side (Rev.21:9), a city full of people. Most pastors teach the bride is the Body of Christ, most grace pastors teach it is redeemed Israel, but it is both, it is all the people in New Jerusalem after the millennium (Rev.21:9,10). Old Jerusalem is associated with unsaved Jews (Gal.4:25 cf. John 8:32-34), but New Jerusalem is “the mother of us all” (Gal.4:26) in the way that Abraham is “the father of us all” (Rom. 4:16), i.e., the father of all the saved of all ages. Abraham looked for New Jerusalem (Heb.11:8-10), and if we won’t be in it too, we’ll be forever separated from our father Abraham.
Grace pastors object to this line of thinking, saying that this makes the Body a part of prophecy, because we’re part of the mystery. But we are part of those “in heaven” (Rev.13:2-6), and so we are part of that prophecy, and the prophecy of Revelation 21:9,10 as well. Saved Jews are a part of the Bride according to prophecy (Is.62:5-19), and we are part of the Bride according to the mystery. Just as saved Jews are part of the New Covenant by prophecy (Jer.31:31-34), but we are part of it through the mystery (IICor.3:6).
Paul says we are “married to…Him who is raised from the dead” (Rom.7:4). Speaking to us he says he “espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (IICor.11:2). He says “in the dispensation of the fullness of times” we’ll be gathered together in Christ (Eph. 1:10), and at that time Christ will be in New Jerusalem (Ps.132:13,14), and so will we, for “so shall we ever be with the Lord” (ITh.4:17). New Jerusalem is 1322 miles high (Rev.21:16), jutting into outer space so we can “judge angels” (ICor.6:3) from the top, Israel can judge the world from the bottom, and we can have fellowship in between.
The water that came out of the Lord’s side (Jo.19:34) came from the water sack around His heart. Once pierced, men die, if not already dead as the Lord was. This water was important and symbolic. As blood and water ratified the Old Covenant (Heb.9:19), it will ratify the New (Mt.26:28; Ezek.36:25). Leprosy was a type of sin, and was cleansed by blood and water (Lev.14:4-52). The blood of the dead bird typified Christ’s death, the water of the live bird typi-fied His resurrection. Christ died for our sins (ICor.15:3) and was raised for our justification (Rom.4:24,25).
John swore an oath that he saw the water (John 19:35) for God knew some would claim the Lord only fainted, and the water proved His heart was pierced. John was about to witness to His resurrection (Acts 2:32; 3:14,15; 5:32), i.e., that He was alive, so God first has him swear he was dead. His unbroken legs fulfilled Ps.34:20 (Jo.19:36) and the type of Exodus 12:43-46 (cf.ICor.5:7). All the Lord’s unbroken bones testified prophecy had been fulfilled (Ps.35:10,11).