Evening Reading for November 14

John 19:31-37
Suggested further reading: Zechariah 12:10 - 13:1

We are told that `One of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.' This incident, small as it may seem at first sight, supplies probable proof that the heart of our blessed Lord was pierced and that life was consequently extinct. He did not merely faint, or swoon away, or become insensible, as some have dared to insinuate. His heart actually ceased to beat and he actually died. Great indeed was the importance of this fact. We must all see, on a moment's reflection, that without a real death there could be no real sacrifice, that without a real death there could be no real resurrection and that without a real death and real resurrection, the whole of Christianity is a house built on sand and has no foundation at all. Little indeed did that reckless Roman soldier dream that he was a mighty helper of our holy religion, when he thrust his spear into our Lord's side.

That the `blood and water' mentioned in this place had a deep spiritual meaning, we can hardly doubt. St John himself seems to refer to them in his First Epistle as highly significant: `This is he that came by water and blood' (1 John 5:6).

The true meaning of the blood and water is probably to be sought in the famous prophecy of Zechariah, where he says, `In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and uncleanness' (Zech. 13:1). When was that fountain so truly and really opened as in the hour when Christ died? What emblem of atonement and purification was so well known to the Jews as blood and water? Why then should we hesitate to believe that the flow of `blood and water' from our Lord's side was a significant declaration to the Jewish nation that the true fountain for sin was at length thrown open and that henceforth sinners might come boldly to Christ for pardon and wash and be clean? Let us make sure that we ourselves are `washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb' (Rev. 7:14).

For meditation: The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from every sin (1 John 1:7).


These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
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