But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of his bones shall be broken.” And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on him whom they pierced.” (John 19:33-37)
John Testifies That Jesus Died
The death of Jesus is central to the salvation of the world. Jesus was viewed as another criminal when He was crucified between two thieves. The Jewish leadership had convinced the Romans to carry out their cowardly purpose. There was relief among the scribes and Pharisees when Jesus died, and for them, nothing changed. What they would come to realize is that when Jesus died, God died. The man in the middle was not just a man; He was the Son of God.
Stories have been told through the centuries of men and women who were considered dead but not. Science had not advanced to the clinical level of modern technology. In some ancient practices, bells were attached to coffins in case of a mistake in the diagnosis of death. Executions could fail and the accused live after suffering a horrific injury. There is a school of thought that Jesus did not die but only swooned death. His disciples resuscitated Him later and fled to Spain; Jesus married and had children. The only proof for modern man is to rely upon the testimony of those who were there when Jesus was crucified. John gives indisputable testimony that Jesus was dead.
After six grueling hours on the cross, Jesus found relief when death swallowed His life. The gospel writers say that Jesus cried with a loud voice, yielded up His spirit, and breathed His last. Because it was the Preparation Day, and the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, the Jews asked Pilate to hasten the death of Jesus. Pilate sends word to the Roman guards to break the legs of the accused. After breaking the legs of the two thieves, the soldiers come to Jesus and find that He is already dead. One of the soldiers took his spear and thrust it up through the right side of the chest. Immediately, blood and water flowed out. The Romans were surgical in the science of killing. They knew how to make a man suffer, and they knew how to confirm their victim was dead. The spear to the right side of the chest would puncture the heart and bring certain and immediate death.
When Jesus died, and the soldier thrust his sword into the side of Jesus, the apostle John witnessed that His Lord and Teacher was dead. He saw blood and water come out of the body of Jesus. There could be no reprieve or possibility of saving Jesus. The spear confirmed Jesus was dead. When John writes about the death of Jesus, he offers himself as a testimony to what he saw. There can be no doubt that Jesus died. John would later testify that Jesus was seen alive after three days. The testimony of John is indisputable proof to prove to the world that Jesus died and rose again on the third day. There is no doubt.
The blood of Jesus atoned for the sins of man and, through water, purified the soul from the stain of sin. John saw Jesus die, and he saw what the soldier did. There must have been an incredible joy for John three days later when Jesus stood before him alive and well. When Jesus showed Thomas the wound on His side, John took special note and remembered the blood and water. John saw and testified, and his testimony is true. The son of Zebedee knows that he is telling the truth. There is no doubt Jesus is the Son of God. The things John wrote were given that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.