July 31, 2011
Jesus and the Psalms
The Bones of Jesus and The Psalms
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As we conclude our study of Jesus and the Psalms, we read now about His crucifixion. Even in His death, Jesus continued to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament. In this case, the soldiers played their part in the unfolding drama of crucifixion. Jesus, as both Lord and Savior, magnificently planned and fulfilled every part of the Old Testament prophecies concerning Him and His death. Our wonderful Savior laid down His life, according to His plans, and everyone else, often without their knowledge, acted roles written long before by the Master.
Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
The Law of the Tree. In Deuteronomy 21:23, the Law required that any person sentenced to death and hung on a tree shall not remain on the tree all night. Instead, the people must bury him on the same day, for everyone hanged on a tree is accursed by God (compare Jesus cursed for us–Galatians 3:13 quoting Deuteronomy 21:23). God never intended for the people to defile the land God gave them with a dead body hanging on a tree all night.
The Law of the Passover. In John 19:31, the Jews not only had that passage in their minds, but they also had another issue regarding the day of Preparation belonging to the Passover week (compare Luke 23:54 and Mark 15:42, indicating the Sabbath was the next day, meaning that Jesus was crucified on Friday). According to Leviticus 23:5-6, “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover.” Then on the next day, the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins and lasts for seven days. Both events relate directly to the people’s rescue from Egypt and their flight from their oppressors. It also pictures the sacrifice of the Passover lamb to avoid the judgment of God by sprinkling blood. This picture of Christ shedding His blood as the perfect sacrifice for sin, once and for all times, dominates the imagery here.
The Breaking of Legs. The Jews specifically wanted the crucified people to die quickly, so that their bodies could be removed. In order to hasten death by massive trauma, the Romans would break the legs of the crucified. The breaking of the major leg bones in themselves speeded up death. Going back to the Passover for a moment, please recall that the Passover lamb to be offered by each family in Israel could not have any of its bones broken (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12). Christ fulfilled all the requirements of the Passover lamb (compare 1 Corinthians 5:7). The soldiers came and broke the legs of the other two men on their crosses, but they saw that Jesus was already dead. Even so, one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. An eye witness close to the disciples and the apostle John testified to these events. His testimony is true, and we may believe in the truth of the Word of God.
For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, ‘NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.’
He Keeps All His Bones Unbroken. The Lord Jesus wrote in Psalm 34 about the deliverance of the righteous. We know that Jesus was not delivered from death, but willingly drank the cup of condemnation for sin the Father set before Him (Luke 22:41-42). Because Jesus suffered the death penalty for our sins, we live and go free in Him. As part of the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament, we see that not one bone of Jesus was broken, although the Roman soldiers were right there ready to break them, and had all the tools necessary to accomplish that goal immediately. In Psalm 34:20, we read: “He keeps all His bones, not one of them is broken.” Notice that God keeps the bones of Jesus from being broken, and no one else. God moves humans, even Roman soldiers, to do His will, whether they know it or not. The power of Jesus and the Scriptures controlled every part of the crucifixion. Through the power of Christ, death could not hold Him in the grave, but He rose in triumph as the first fruits of all those who would be raised in Him (1 Corinthians 15:20).
Looking upon the Pierced Jesus. Not only did Jesus fulfill the Psalm, but He also fulfilled Zechariah 12:10: “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” In Zechariah 12, the Lord Jesus speaks of a future time when He will come to rescue besieged Jerusalem, with the armies of the world gathered against it. Although the context speaks of a time yet future from today, the piercing by the Jews of Christ happened on the day of Christ’s crucifixion. In the future, the Jews will realize the terrible mistake they made when they crucified and pierced the Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 2:7-8; compare also Isaiah 53:5). In that future day, the Jews will recognize Jesus as the One whom they pierced, and sorrow will fill their hearts, and weeping with cloud their eyes.
So we learn more about Jesus and the Psalms today.
● We see that Jesus did not have one bone of His body broken, just as the Passover lamb had no bone of its body broken.
● God prevented the soldiers from breaking the legs of Jesus, just as the Psalmist prophesied hundreds of years before.
● Jesus fulfilled all the Old Testament prophesies concerning His life, death and resurrection. Not one letter shall pass away from the Word of God until all of it comes true.
Application for Today
As I live today, I will remember Jesus and the Psalms. In particular, I will remember how the Psalms speak of Jesus, and just as God predicted, not one bone of His body was broken. Jesus loves me every day, and in Him, I live because He died for me. He provided the perfect sacrifice to take away my sins, and I live by His power all the time and for eternity. Will you be living with Jesus today, knowing He will take care of you?