Lent Devotion for March 8
"Not a Bone Broken"
Reader: “These are the instructions…”
Response: “…for the Festival of Passover.”
SCRIPTURE: Exodus 12:43-47
43 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the instructions for the festival of Passover. No outsiders are allowed to eat the Passover meal. 44 But any slave who has been purchased may eat it if he has been circumcised. 45 Temporary residents and hired servants may not eat it. 46 Each Passover lamb must be eaten in one house. Do not carry any of its meat outside, and do not break any of its bones. 47 The whole community of Israel must celebrate this Passover festival.
SCRIPTURE: John 19:31-36
31 It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was Passover week). So they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. 33 But when they came to Jesus, they saw that he was already dead, so they didn’t break his legs. 34 One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out. 35 (This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account. He speaks the truth so that you also may continue to believe.) 36 These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, “Not one of his bones will be broken,”
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
In the Scriptures there are no wasted words, none. If you are not in the habit, develop the pattern of asking yourself, “Why did God include this phrase?” “Is that word significant?” With a little digging, we often gain insight into the mind of God and come to a greater understanding not only of His Word, but also of His heart. Some rabbinic interpretations explain the “do not break any of its bones” command regarding the Passover lamb as an instruction to eat the Passover “in an orderly manner.” Though to be consumed in haste, it was never the less to be eaten in a dignified and respectful manner. Keep in mind that there were also restrictions as to who was allowed to participate. It was an exclusive meal only for God’s chosen people. When we get to the New Testament account of the crucifixion where Christ is the Passover Lamb, we find something of the same mindset. Though the manner of death was gruesome and horrendous, there was a sensitivity to proper decorum by the Jewish leaders, if you can call it that, that the bodies not be left on the crosses during the Sabbath since it was Passover week. Sometimes those being crucified would linger for days on the cross, eventually dying of dehydration. Keeping in mind that Jesus was shuffled throughout the night following His arrest, flogged mercilessly Friday morning, carried the beam to which He was nailed, and then impaled on the cross at 9AM, it is not surprising that when the soldiers came to break the legs, thereby making it impossible for the victim to breathe, that Jesus had already died. Rather than break his legs anyway, the soldier merely buried his spear into Jesus’ side, confirming His death and, unbeknownst to the soldier, fulfilling Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah. Look for the Lord’s details in your life today, nothing is wasted, nothing insignificant; listen for His voice.
MUSIC: “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” arr. Gil Martin (Don’t miss this!)
In this, the day that the Lord hath made, help us, O God, to appreciate its beauty and to use right its opportunities. Deliver us, we pray Thee, from the tyranny of trifles. May we give our best thought and attention to what is important, that we may accomplish something worthwhile. Teach us how to listen to the prompting of Thy Spirit, and thus save us from floundering in indecision that wastes time, subtracts from our peace, divides our efficiency, and multiplies our troubles. In the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
– Peter Marshall, Senate Chaplain, May 12, 1947.