Day 35: No Bones Broken
“He protects all His bones, not one of them will be broken” (Psalm 34:20).
“The Scriptures should be fulfilled, a bone of His shall not be broken” (John 19:36).
Crucifixion was meant to be a long, slow, torturous death, and the executioners knew how to prolong things. However, there were times when the death of the prisoner needed to be sped along, and such was the case for the three hanging on the crosses that Good Friday. With Sabbath coming (and it was the Passover Sabbath for good measure), the Jewish leaders were insistent that the bodies be off the crosses before nightfall. (The picking and choosing of which of their laws and traditions to keep or break during the events of that day is a fascinating study in itself.)
The breaking of the bones of those undergoing crucifixion was meant to hasten death, as the victim would no longer be able to push himself up on the cross in order to expel his breath. This would cause a build-up of carbon dioxide, and a suffocating death. When the soldiers were given the order to hasten the process of death, they broke the legs of the criminals on either side of Jesus, but discovered Jesus had already died, therefore it was not necessary to break His bones. Not only did this fulfill the words of David in the above psalm, it also corresponded to God’s instructions to Moses that the Passover lambs were not to have any broken bones. Year after year, lamb after lamb, through the centuries and millions of lambs, the testimony was being given—no bones were to be broken.
As we have seen, God was setting out markers and way posts to point to His promised Messiah, Jesus. But there is another way to think of this aspect of Christ’s wounding—even in the most extreme of trials, there are limits God sets to how far the testing and suffering can go. Yes, Jesus suffered in many ways worse than a broken bone, with torn flesh, and torture. Yet, with all that wicked men and devil were permitted to do to Him, they were not permitted to break any bones. So with us, if we are called upon to suffer, even in the extreme, we can rest assured that God will have limits set over us, just as He did with Job (Job 1:12; 2:6) and with Jesus. It is an expression of His sovereignty over our circumstances and care for us, His beloved children.
• Despite the extremes of His suffering, what does it mean to you that God set limits on Christ’s suffering?
• In what way might this apply in your life, either in past trials or things you may be called upon to face in the future?
Lord, it excites me to see another testimony to the faithfulness of God to His word, and confirmation that You were our Passover Lamb. But it also comforts me to know that all I suffer is in Your gracious, loving hands.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries
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