Jesus straightened His legs for another harsh breath. “I’m thirsty.”
A soldier dipped a sponge into the sour wine nearby and raised it to His mouth with a long hyssop reed.
Jesus sucked on the sponge to moisten His mouth and throat. He looked up. “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit.” He then looked out at the crowd and yelled. “It is finished!”
Jesus’s body went limp. His chin hit His sternum.
Before anybody could gasp a strange sound came from the Temple, then, the whole Earth shook to the point of rocks splitting and tombs opening.
When the quake stopped a priest ran to the chief priests watching Jesus’s execution. “The temple veil is destroyed!”
Caiaphas pushed his way forward. “Was it caused by the earthquake?”
The priest shook his head. “No, it happened before the ground shook.”
Caiaphas looked at his group, every mouth was open. He looked back at the priest. “What’s the extent of the damages?”
The priest raised a hand and dropped it slowly. “It’s torn clear through from the ceiling all the way to the floor. I could see the Holy of Holies!”
Gamaliel stepped forward. “And yet you’re still alive? How can this be?”
The priest raised his hands to shoulder height with his palms facing the sky.
Caiaphas put his hand on Gamaliel’s shoulder. “Come, we must investigate. If it’s as bad as he says then it will cost a fortune to repair.” He looked back at the others. “Keep track of the body. Don’t let Jesus’s followers anywhere near it.”
A chief priest motioned toward the other group. “But, only John is here; and a bunch of women.”
Caiaphas turned and made direct eye contact. “You don’t seem to understand that Jesus is more dangerous now that He’s dead. He claimed that He would come back to life. Do NOT take any chances with anyone tampering with the body. Take every precaution. And while you’re at it ask Pilate to break the legs of the others. We can’t have their bodies defiling Jerusalem during Passover.”
The chief priest nodded. “Yes, Sir.”
A short time later the grieving women were horrified as they watched the Roman soldiers coldly break the legs of the two men hanging near Jesus.
John placed his arms across Mary’s shoulders as the Romans approached Jesus. Her knees buckled when one of them plunged a spear into Jesus’s side. Her mind was immediately transported back over thirty years earlier to the time she and Joseph carried the infant to the temple to dedicate Him. Simeon’s words echoed in her ears, ‘…and a sword will pierce your soul.’
Blood and water flowed from the hole in Jesus’s side.
Mary Magdalene watched as Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus hurriedly wrapped the body and placed it in Joseph’s just completed tomb.
What an astounding chain of events that followed Jesus’s last breath. First, the veil of the temple tore from top to bottom. This was no small feat! When we think of a veil our minds automatically think of a wedding veil–thin and see-through. The temple curtain was definitely not see-through. It’s purpose was to keep people away from the dwelling place of God, the Holy of Holies.
This barrier was two feet thick and about ninety feet tall. It’s the impediment Zacharias went past to present the incense when he was told he would father the forerunner of the Messiah. The area behind the curtain was known as the dwelling place of God, the Holy of Holies. If a priest took one mis-step while in that place he died for violating the sacredness of the holiest place on Earth.
The Bible says that the curtain was torn from top to bottom. Thereby showing that God Himself did the act. Why? To state that it was no longer necessary. Jesus’s death fulfilled all the requirements that were foreshadowed in the design and purpose of the temple and all of the other rituals the Jews observed. God could now be approached by everybody at any time because of Jesus’s sacrifice.
So, what’s the significance of the earthquake? I picture God as the judge of the world seated on His throne observing this occurence of Jesus’s execution. When Jesus says ‘tetelestai’ (It is finished) the final price is paid for the sin-debt in full; God brings down His spiritual gavel on the Earth to finalize the transaction. The opening of the graves will come into play in a few days, so keep that in the back of your mind.
Why did they break the legs of those next to Jesus? The only way a person being crucified could take a full breath of air was to push up with their legs. Breaking those bones quickened their death by suffocating them. By not breaking Jesus’s legs prophesy was fulfilled. The passover lamb specifically called for no broken bones (Exodus 12:46, Numbers 9:12). Psalm 34:20 also mentions no broken bones.
Why the spear in Jesus’s side? Fulfillment of Zechariah 12:10, “They will look on Him whom they have pierced.” The Roman soldiers ordered to carry out crucifixion were experts at knowing when someone was dead on a cross, they were also trained in human anatomy, I believe the spear’s trajectory was aimed at Jesus’s heart just for assurance of death. So much for the swoon theory.
What’s up with the blood and water coming from Jesus’s side? I’ve heard two different explanations for this. First, the heart is surrounded by a protective sack called the pericardium. The water could have been the fluid that the heart floated in while it beat the blood throughout the body. The second scenario calls into play the fact that after death the white blood cells and the red blood cells separate, therefore the water would be the white cells while the red blood cells would appear as the blood.
The two fluids coming out of Jesus displays the washing power of His blood for the payment of our sin-debt (Isaiah 1:18). We shall be as white as snow.
I’ll see you later. Wade