|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:31-37 A trial was made whether Jesus was dead. He died in less time than persons crucified commonly did. It showed that he had laid down his life of himself. The spear broke up the very fountains of life; no human body could survive such a wound. But its being so solemnly attested, shows there was something peculiar in it. The blood and water that flowed out, signified those two great benefits which all believers partake of through Christ, justification and sanctification; blood for atonement, water for purification. They both flow from the pierced side of our Redeemer. To Christ crucified we owe merit for our justification, and Spirit and grace for our sanctification. Let this silence the fears of weak Christians, and encourage their hopes; there came both water and blood out of Jesus' pierced side, both to justify and sanctify them. The Scripture was fulfilled, in Pilate's not allowing his legs to be broken, Ps 34:20. There was a type of this in the paschal lamb, Ex 12:46. May we ever look to Him, whom, by our sins, we have ignorantly and heedlessly pierced, nay, sometimes against convictions and mercies; and who shed from his wounded side both water and blood, that we might be justified and sanctified in his name.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But one of the soldiers,.... Whose name some pretend to say was Longinns, and so called from the spear with which he pierced Christ:
with a spear pierced his side; his left side, where the heart lies; though the painters make this wound on the right, and the Arabic version of Erpenius, as cited by Dr. Lightfoot, adds the word "right" to make the miracle the greater: this the soldier did, partly out of spite to Christ, and partly to know whether he was really dead; and which was so ordered by divine providence, that it might beyond all doubt appear that he really died, and was not taken down alive from the cross; so that there might be no room to call in question the truth of his resurrection, when he should appear alive again:
and forthwith came there out blood and water; this is accounted for in a natural way by the piercing of the "pericardium", which contains a small quantity of water about the heart, and which being pierced, a person, if alive, must inevitably die; but it seems rather to be something supernatural, from the asseverations the evangelist makes. This water and blood some make to signify baptism and the Lord's supper, which are both of Christ's appointing, and spring from him, and refer to his sufferings and death; rather they signify the blessings of sanctification and justification, the grace of the one being represented by water, as it frequently is in the Old and New Testament, and the other by blood, and both from Christ: that Christ was the antitype of the rock in the wilderness, the apostle assures us, in 1 Corinthians 10:4 and if the Jews are to be believed, he was so in this instance; Jonathan ben Uzziel, in his Targum on Numbers 20:11 says that
"Moses smote the rock twice, at the first time , "blood dropped out": and at the second time abundance of waters flowed out.''
The same is affirmed by others (h) elsewhere in much the same words and order.
(h) Shemot Rabba, sect. 3. fol. 94. 1. Zohar in Num. fol. 102. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
34. But one of the soldiers—to make assurance of the fact doubly sure.
with a spear pierced his side—making a wound deep and wide, as indeed is plain from Joh 20:27, 29. Had life still remained, it must have fled now.
and forthwith came thereout blood and water—"It is now well known that the effect of long-continued and intense agony is frequently to produce a secretion of a colorless lymph within the pericardium (the membrane enveloping the heart), amounting in many cases to a very considerable quantity" [Webster and Wilkinson].
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