But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water. – John 19:34
Blood and water flowed from Jesus’ side and this is recorded in Scripture.
As I grow in my faith and understanding of God’s Word, I’ve come to the realization that nothing that is recorded in Scripture is there by accident. I believe 2 Timothy 3:16 and Hebrews 4:12 would affirm my stance. So, when anything is recorded in Scripture, I ask myself, “Why?”. Why was this written down? Why is this relevant to us, as believers, today?
Blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side, in my humble understanding, is meaningful for a few different reasons. For starters, let’s examine the medical side of the text. While I am no doctor, I do have a general understanding of what the human body can endure. Scripture does tell us that Christ was dead before the soldiers stabbed Him. However, just in case, He was still partially alive, He wouldn’t be much longer. This stab in the side was a lethal blow. While there is some debate, the general consensus seems to be that the soldiers would’ve stabbed Jesus’ pericardium, which would’ve been surrounded by fluid, causing blood and water to flow from the wound. Regardless, Jesus was likely stabbed in the heart and you aren’t going to survive that after enduring the crucifixion.
I mention this because there has been a theory floating around that perhaps Jesus wasn’t fully dead when He was laid in a tomb. With all due respect, that’s slightly absurd. Jesus was 100% dead when He was laid in the tomb and He came back to life 3 days later. You can’t be resurrected if you aren’t actually dead. The Gospel falls apart if we don’t understand that Jesus conquered death.
Secondly, the symbolism of blood and water is significant as well. Throughout Scripture, blood has always atoned and protected. In the Old Testament, we know that animals were sacrificed to atone for man’s sin. In Exodus, the blood of the lamb was painted on the doors of the Israelites to save them from death. We know that the blood of Jesus atoned for our sins and protects us from the wrath of God. God’s wrath was completely poured out and satisfied on the cross.
What about water? Water cleanses us, it hydrates us, but it also kills us. Christ’s death has purified us. We are given a new name and are made a new creation. But we cannot be made new unless the old man dies. (Baptism anyone?)
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live is the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” – Galatians 2:20
Lastly, the blood and water flowing from Jesus’ side was also to fulfill scripture. Prophetic Scripture tells us that not a bone of Jesus was broken (Psalm 34:20) but He would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10). All the Scriptures tie together and point us to Christ, in some way.
Jesus’ death did two things: it atoned for our sins and it purified it. We can see both atonement and purification represented with blood and water.
Take care & God bless!