As the day drew to a close, the Jewish religious leaders complained to Pilate that the execution needed to be speeded up so the bodies would not hang on the cross during the High Sabbath. Pilate granted their request, and some of his soldiers broke the legs of one thief on the cross while others broke the legs of the thief on the other side of Jesus. This way, the criminals would no longer be able to push themselves up to take a breath, and their death would come much quicker. When the soldiers met in the middle and prepared to break the legs of Jesus, they found that He was already dead. To confirm His death, they didn’t break His legs, but instead stuck a spear in His side until blood and water gushed out of the corpse.
John tells us, “these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 19:36). He then alludes to a commandment which the Jews were given regarding the Passover Lamb, “you shall not break any of its bones” (Exodus 12:46), or “They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break any of its bones; according to all the statute for the Passover they shall keep it” (Numbers 9:12).
By dying during Passover without any of His bones being broken, Jesus proved Himself to be the true Passover Lamb. What does any of this have to do with the Psalms?
Please read Psalm 34:19-22.
Jesus is the fulfillment of verse 20: “He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.” His death is the most significant death in the history of the world, and it was a death in which no bones were broken.
When the ancient audience interpreted this part of Psalm 34, they had the understanding that keeping all of your bones and having none broken meant that you wouldn’t suffer any harm. This clearly flows from the statement made in verse 19: “The Lord delivers him out of them all” (with ‘all’ referring back to ‘many afflictions’). A righteous person may experience suffering and afflictions, but God won’t let him experience it for long.
Sure, the wicked will suffer the harm of many afflictions, and be condemned for their wickedness. But, the righteous person will surely be brought out of his suffering and granted material prosperity once more! After all, isn’t this the message of Job? Isn’t this the reason God blessed Abraham and his descendants? Isn’t this why God made David, the man after His own heart, the greatest king Israel has ever seen?
When you really think about it, it's amazing how close the ancient Jewish interpretation is to the modern prosperity gospel. There is nothing new under the sun. People have always tried to follow God for the wrong reasons. They have twisted Scripture to conform to their desire to have God serve them and meet their needs, without ever having to submit to His Lordship.
But their understanding of Scripture is warped. The message of Job is that bad things do sometimes happen to the righteous, but we ought not to question God, who’s ways are higher than our ways. The reason God chose Abraham and blessed his descendants is to show that God has the right to choose whomever He will, even a lying, undeserving idol worshipper like Abram. The reason God lifted up David as king over Israel was to show the nation that God looks at the heart and not the outward appearance, like they did when they chose Saul. And, lest we forget, David went through his fair share of trials, and even wrote this very Psalm after he pretended to be insane in order to escape the clutches of Abimelech.
God does NOT keep the righteous from trials! He puts the righteous through trials! He put His own Son, the only truly righteous person to ever walk this earth, to death in the most excruciating trial the world has ever witnessed! God does not keep the righteous from trials. But He does redeem us out of them.
When Jesus Christ died on the cross, it was for the purpose of saving us from our sins. As followers of Jesus Christ, we may go through difficult trials: we may be beaten, mocked, or persecuted; we may even be tortured, beheaded or executed by some other means. Some of our brothers and sisters in parts of Africa and the Middle East are experiencing this right now! But this trial is also for a greater purpose.
God does not keep us from the trial, but He does promise to be with us in the trial. He does promise to use the trial to conform us more to the image of His Son. Through the trial, Jesus redeemed our souls. No matter what trials we now face, we know that we are ultimately saved. We are no longer under condemnation. We have taken refuge in the Lord who redeems the life of his servants.
COMMENTS FOR THIS POST HAVE BEEN DISABLED.