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34Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. 35(He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) 36These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.” 37And again another passage of scripture says, “They will look on the one whom they have pierced.”


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34. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. When the soldier pierced Christ’s side with his spear, he did so for the purpose of ascertaining if he was dead; but God had a higher object in view, as we shall immediately see. It was a childish contrivance of the Papists, when, out of the Greek word λόγχε, which means a spear, 186186     “Du mot Gree lonchi, qui signifie une lance.” they manufactured the proper name of a man, and called this soldier Longinus, and, to give an air of plausibility to their story, foolishly alleged that he had been formerly blind, and that, after having received his sight, he was converted to the faith. Thus they have placed him in the catalogue of the saints. 187187     Dr Bloomfield subjoins the following note to this verse: — “The epitaph of this soldier, (if genuine,) said to be found in the Church of St Mary, at Lyons, is as follows: — Qui Salvatoris latus Cruce Cuspfdefixit, Lo,’Ginus Mc jacet’ Here lies Longinu’s, who pierced the Savior’s side on the Cross with a spear.’” As the learned annotator has thus summarily adverted to this legendary tale, it is right that the reader should be briefly put in possession of the whole of it, as it has been collected by Moreri from Tillemont and other ecclesiastical writers, in his “Directory” under the head, St Longin — (St Longinns.) This St Longinus is twofold: “some saying, that he was the soldier that pierced our Lord’s side with a spear; and some, that he was the centurion who commanded the guard at the cross. The legends report both these persons to have been converted to the Christian faith, to have suffered martyrdom, and to have been canonized.” Moreri, however, though an ecclesiastic of the Romish Church, was constrained to add, The acts of both Longinuses are manifestly false; and the circumstances they allege mutually refute each other.”
   It would appear that the name Longinus has been formed from the Greek λόγχη, spear: Longinus being the Latin form of λόγχιμνος,spear-man. Thus, St Longinus is found to be a similar saint to the Sancta Veronica, reported by Brydone. “The Greeks,” continues Moreri, celebrate the martyrdom of Longinus, the centurion, on the 16th of October, the Latins on the 15th of March, and the Copts on the 1st of November. The martyrdom of Longinus, the soldier, is not acknowledged by the Greeks; but the Latins commemorate it on different days; some on the 15th of March, some on the 1st of September, others on the 22nd of November; or 11th of December.” We thus see how little this offspring of credulity and superstition merits the attention of the readers of the Gospel.Granville Penn’s Annotations.
Since their prayers, whenever they call on God, rest on such intercessors, what, I ask, will they ever be able to obtain? But they who despise Christ, and seek the intercessions of the dead, deserve that the devil should drive them to ghosts and phantoms.

And immediately there came out blood and water. Some men have deceived themselves by imagining that this was a miracle; for it is natural that the blood, when it is congealed, should lose its red color, and come to resemble water. It is well known also that water is contained in the membrane which immediately adjoins the intestines. What has led them astray is, that the Evangelist takes so much pains to explain that blood flowed along with the water, as if he were relating something unusual and contrary to the order of nature. But he had quite a different intention; namely, to accommodate his narrative to the passages of Scripture which he immediately subjoins, and more especially that believers might infer from it what he states elsewhere, that Christ came with water and blood, (1 John 5:6.) By these words he means that Christ brought the true atonement and the true washing; for, on the one hand, forgiveness of sins and justification, and, on the other hand, the sanctification of the soul, were prefigured in the Law by those two symbols, sacrifices and washings. In sacrifices, blood atoned for sins, and was the ransom for appeasing the wrath of God. Washings were the tokens of true holiness, and the remedies for taking away uncleanness and removing the pollutions of the flesh.

That faith may no longer rest on these elements, John declares that the fulfillment of both of these graces is in Christ; and here he presents to us a visible token of the same fact. The sacraments which Christ has left to his Church have the same design; for the purification and sanctification of the soul, which consists in newness of life, (Romans 6:4,) is pointed out to us in Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper is the pledge of a perfect atonement. But they differ widely from the ancient figures of the Law; for they exhibit Christ as being present, whereas the figures of the Law pointed out that he was still at a distance. For this reason I do not object to what Augustine says, that our sacraments have flowed from Christ’s side; for, when Baptism and the Lord’s Supper lead us to Christ’s side, that by faith we may draw from it, as from a fbuntain, what they represent, then are we truly washed from our pollutions, and renewed to a holy life, and then do we truly live before God, redeemed from death, and delivered from condemnation.

36. A bone of him shall not be broken. This citation is made from Exodus 12:46, and Numbers 9:12, where Moses treats of the paschal lamb. Note, Moses takes for granted that that lamb was a figure of the true and only sacrifice, by which the Church was to be redeemed. Nor is this inconsistent with the fact, that it was sacrificed as the memorial of a redemption which had been already made; for, while God intended that it should celebrate the former favor, he also intended that it should exhibit the spiritual deliverance of the Church, which was still future. On that account Paul, without any hesitation, applies to Christ the rule which Moses lays down about eating the lamb:

for even Christ, our Passover, is sacred for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with, the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth,
(1 Corinthians 5:7, 8.)

From this analogy, or resemblance, faith derives no ordinary advantage, for, in all the ceremonies of the Law, it beholds the salvation which has been manifested in Christ. Such is also the design of the Evangelist John, when he says that Christ was not only the pledge of our redemption, but also the price of it, because in him we see accomplished what was formerly exhibited to the ancient people under the figure of the passover. Thus also the Jews are reminded that they ought to seek in Christ the substance of all those things which the Law prefigured, but did not actually accomplish.

37. They shall look on him whom they pierced. This passage is violently tortured by those who endeavor to explain it literally as referring to Christ. Nor is this the purpose for which the Evangelist quotes ib but rather to show that Christ is that God who formerly complained, by Zechariah, that the Jews had pierced his heart, (Zechariah 12:10) Now, God speaks there after the manner of men, declaring that He is wounded by the sins of his people, and especially by their obstinate contempt of his word, in the same manner as a mortal man receives a deadly wound, when his heart is pierced; as he says, elsewhere, that his Spirit was deeply grieved, 188188     Here Calvin’s Latin Copy refers to the words of our blessed Lord in Matthew 26:38, My soul is sorrowful, even to death; but the French Copy refers to Isaiah 63:10, But they rebelled, and Grieved His Holy Spirit. — Ed. Now, as Christ is God manifested in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16,) John says that in his visible flesh was plainly accomplished what his Divine Majesty had endured from the Jews, so far as it was capable of enduring; not that God can be at all affected by the outrages of men, or that the reproaches which are cast at him from the earth ever reach him, but because by this mode of expression he intended to declare with what enormous sacrilege the wickedness of men is chargeable, when it rises in rebellion against heaven. What was done by the hand of a Roman soldier the ]Evangelist John justly imputes to the Jews; as they are elsewhere said to have crucified the Son of God, (Acts 2:36,) though they did not lay a finger on his body.

A question now arises as to this passage taken from the prophet, 189189     “On fait une question sur ce passage du prophete.” Does God promise to the Jews repentance to salvation, or, does he threaten that he will come as an avenger? For my own part, when I closely examine the passage, I think that it includes both; namely, that out of a worthless and unprincipled nation God will gather a remnant for salvation, and that, by his dreadful vengeance, he will show to despisers who it is with whom they have to do; for we know that they were wont to treat the prophets as insolently as if the prophets had told nothing but fables, and had received no commission from God. God declares that they will not pass unpunished, for he will at length maintain his cause.




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