Bible Reading: John 19:31-37
Jesus was crucified and died on the cross, but He did not die by crucifixion.He died of a broken heart and the Bible makes this very clear
Crucifixion was a horrible and humiliating death. The Romans carried out death by crucifixion, but no Roman citizen was ever crucified. This form of death was reserved for Jews and others. Not only was there scourging, and the humiliation of carrying your own cross, but the person crucified was totally naked, unlike all the paintings that show Jesus wearing at least a loin cloth.
It normally took between two and six days for the person being crucified to die. They would fight for their life by pushing their body upwards with their legs, and when the legs became too weak, would relax for a short time and just hang by the wrists, before again pushing up with their legs. This could last for anything from two to six days. When the legs could no longer support the body the person on the cross would die within two hours of suffocation.
Jesus was crucified on the Passover Preparation Day, just one day before the Passover [John 19:31], but to satisfy the Jewish religious leaders He had to die before the Passover. For this reason they came to Pilate and asked that the legs of Jesus and the two criminals be broken. The breaking of the legs would mean that they would die within two hours, and so could be buried before the Passover.
When the soldiers came to break the legs of Jesus and the two criminals crucified with Him, they did not break the legs of Jesus because He was already dead [John 19:33]. He had only been on the cross for six hours, and died at the ninth hour – 3.00pm Greenwich Mean Time. The soldiers made absolutely sure that He was already dead by piercing his heart with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out [John 19:34]. This remarkable symptom could only mean that the cross did not kill Jesus. The water [fluid] that flowed from Jesus’ heart shows exactly how He died. The medical term is a ruptured pericardium. The pericardium is the two layers of membrane that encircle the heart. In lay terms, Jesus died of a broken heart.
The fact that Jesus did not die of crucifixion confirms what He said about no man taking His life from Him. “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father [John 10:17-18].
What do you think it was that caused Jesus’ heart to break?
As we have come to this final devotional word on the cross, what is your response to the death of Jesus on the cross?
What do you think Jesus meant when He said, “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” [Luke 14:27 KJV]?