Doesn’t Mean Anything (John 19:34-37)

My daughter was sharing photos from her recent church retreat. Along one of the mountain trails, they found ancient petroglyphs carved into the rocks. A sign was positioned next to them with a diagram illustrating all of the petroglyphs accompanied with a short discussion suggesting these were probably religious symbols or used in an elaborate ceremony such as a burial or a hunt. As I examined the petroglyphs, I proffered my opinion. “Interesting theory. I have another. Maybe it doesn’t mean anything. What if a thousand years ago, a bunch of people were just sitting around this rock and just started drawing?”

“Or doodling!” My daughter chimed in. 

“Exactly!”

“It would be like the Market Theater Gum Wall we saw in Seattle, remember? Maybe a thousand years from now, historians will look at that wall, examine the wads of chewing gum attached to the wall, and conclude this was some sacred religious votive!”

Seattle Gum Wall-Source Reddit.com

We all laughed at the possibility. Although historians and archeologists may submit erudite hypotheses about ancient artifacts and petroglyphs, no one really knows the true meanings or intentions. What about the Bible? Is this a collection of fables and myths? Perhaps it is not a sacred Book? Perhaps it was written to entertain children, like a bedtime story? A quick search of the internet will reveal thousands of sites and pundits making such claims. Like the petroglyphs, should I dismiss any serious attempt to read a deeper meaning into the Bible’s message? The story of Noah and the arc can be found in other ancient myths. In fact, for many events that are recorded in the Bible, there is a similar event recorded in the mythology or legends of many cultures.  Does this mean the Bible doesn’t mean anything?

These observations overlook an important distinction. While there may be similarities with other stories in ancient cultures, the Bible is a single comprehensive book, internally consistent within itself. The most important centers upon the story of redemption, how God reconciled the sinful world with Himself by sending His Son, Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. The Old Testament has over three hundred prophecies about the Messiah, Jesus Christ. But what if Jesus Christ studied all these prophecies and then attempted to live a life that fulfilled these prophecies? Even if He fulfilled some, He would never have been able to control events that occurred when He was dying on the Cross or after He died. 

But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows he is telling the truth. For these things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: Not one of his bones will be broken. Also, another Scripture says: They will look at the one they pierced.

John 19:34-37 (CSB)

The Gospel of John records this event after Jesus died on the Cross. In order to hasten the horrific death caused by crucifixion, soldiers often broke the bones of the legs of the condemned. By doing so, the victims could no longer support the weight of their body by their legs and would quickly asphyxiate. They broke the legs of the two criminals who were crucified next to Jesus. However, when the soldiers saw that Jesus was dead, one of the soldiers wanted to make sure Jesus Christ was dead and pierced his side with a spear. The significance of this was to fulfill yet additional prophecies, that not one of his bones will be broken (Psalms 34:20) and they will look at the one whom they pierced (Zechariah 12:10). These were events that happened after Jesus Christ had died. How could He control this or manipulate events after his death to fit the prophecies?

Coincidence? Perhaps it doesn’t mean anything? Taken alone, one may arrive at that conclusion. However, when one takes the time to investigate all of the prophecies in the Old Testament, there is only one conclusion. 

Jesus Christ is God. 

And that means everything. 

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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