John 19:28 – 42
Six hours after being lifted high on the Cross, Jesus speaks, “It is finished!” Then he bows his head and breaths his last. While we are witnesses to these things, something else is taking place behind the scenes at the same time. For the Sabbath was approaching, and this was not just any Sabbath, this was the Sabbath tied in conjunction with the Passover. These were high . . . high holy days for the people of Israel.
With that the Chief Priest appealed to Pilate, and he then gave the order to have the legs of those being crucified crushed with the same hammer that had driven in their spikes and nails. Now the end is near! With broken legs, the weight of the crucified body would crush their lungs, causing quick death for those on the tree.
Yet , as the guards approached Jesus, they found that he was already dead. A prophecy was fulfilled:
He keeps all their bones; not one of them will be broken.
To be certain that Jesus was dead, the Centurion approaches, spear in hand, and with one quick thrust forces it up through his side.
The end . . . it has already come and gone. Or has it?
As the spear is withdrawn, now standing by the side of its guard, blood and water begin to flow from Jesus side. These are signs of Life . . . even in the midst of death.
As blood and water flow, we find two symbolic reminders of life that abounds in Christ. Life that is freely given to us.
Let’s remember, that blood and water are the very essence of life. You and I cannot live without them. God, through Christ’s death and pierced side, pours them out upon us, and upon all the world to receive this life sustaining gift.
Let us also remember what else they represent.
- The Water’s of Baptism, where we first encounter God’s grace poured out upon us. This water washes us clean from our sin and the eternal punishment that should have been ours.
- The Blood that is Shed, as Jesus invites us to gather around the table to break bread and lift a cup, here we celebrate a covenant of hope and forgiveness through the cup that we share.
Yes indeed the end is near, but as the spear pierces Jesus side . . . as blood and water flow . . . we are reminded that new life, a transfigured life that is soon to be found. See death is not the end. Thanks be to God, through the death and resurrection of Christ, we are the ones who are transfigured. We are the ones who receive new life. For the water, flowing from Jesus side, through the font of baptism, has claimed us as Children of God. And the Blood, flowing from Jesus side, through the cup that is shared, welcomes us to the eternal banquet that has no ending. Indeed . . . these are blessed things!
These are blessed things that remind us that the end is just the beginning of a great big beautiful tomorrow!