Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

John 19:34

But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Blood;   Jesus, the Christ;   Spear;   Thompson Chain Reference - Blood;   Christ;   Spears;   The Topic Concordance - Jesus Christ;   Living Waters;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Human Nature of Christ, the;   Prophecies Respecting Christ;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - John, gospel of;   Weapons;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Baptize, Baptism;   Feasts and Festivals of Israel;   Persecution;   Zechariah, Theology of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Christianity;   Humiliation of Christ;   Jesus Christ;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Blood;   Crucifixion;   Passover;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Baptism;   Bird;   Burial;   John, the Gospel According to;   Marriage;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Incarnation;   John, the Gospel of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Crucifixion;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Atonement (2);   Blood ;   Blood and Water ;   Humanity of Christ;   Kenosis;   Legs ;   Sacraments;   Septuagint;   Soldiers;   Spear;   Water (2);   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Cross;   John the Baptist;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Armor;   Blood and Water;   Cross;   Gnosticism;   Johannine Theology, the;   Passover;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for October 18;   Every Day Light - Devotion for November 13;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

With a spear pierced his side - The soldier who pierced our Lord's side has been called by the Roman Catholic writers Longinus, which seems to be a corruption of λογχη, lonche, a spear or dart, the word in the text. They moreover tell us that this man was converted - that it was he who said, Truly this was the Son of God - that he traveled into Cappadocia, and there preached the Gospel of Christ, and received the crown of martyrdom. But this deserves the same credit as the other legends of the Popish Church.

Whether it was the right or the left side of Christ that was pierced has been a matter of serious discussion among divines and physicians; and on this subject they are not yet agreed. That it is of no importance we are sure, because the Holy Ghost has not revealed it. Luke Cranache, a famous painter, whose piece of the crucifixion is at Augsburg, has put no wound on either side: when he was asked the reason of this - I will do it, said he, when I am informed Which side was pierced.

Blood and water - It may be naturally supposed that the spear went through the pericardium and pierced the heart; that the water proceeded from the former, and the blood from the latter. Ambrose, Augustin, and Chrysostom, make the blood an emblem of the eucharist, and the water an emblem of baptism. Others represent them as the emblems of the old and new covenants. Protestants have thought them the emblems of justification, which is through the blood of the Lamb, and sanctification, which is through the washing of regeneration; and it is in reference to the first notion that they mingle the wine with water in the sacrament of the Lord's supper. The piercing appears to have taken place because his legs were not broken; and, as the law in this case stated that the criminals were to continue on the cross till they died, the side of our Lord was pierced to secure the accomplishment of the law; and the issuing of the blood and water appears to be only a natural effect of the above cause, and probably nothing mystical or spiritual was intended by it. However, it affords the fullest proof that Jesus died for our sins. Dr. Lightfoot thinks that there is a reference here to the rock in the wilderness which Moses smote twice, and which, according to the Jews, Shemoth Rabba, fol. 122, "poured out blood at the first stroke, and water at the second." Now St. Paul says, 1 Corinthians 10:4, That rock was Christ; and here the evangelist says, the soldier pierced his side, and there came out blood and water. St. John therefore, in what he asserts in the 35th and 36th verses, wishes to call the attention of the Jews to this point, in order to show them that this Jesus was the true Messiah, who was typified by the rock in the wilderness. He knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on John 19:34". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/john-19.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

One of the soldiers - One of those appointed to watch the bodies until they were dead. This man appears to have doubted whether he was dead, and, in order to see whether he was not yet sensible, he pierced him with his spear. The Jews designed that his legs should be broken, but this was prevented by the providence of God; yet in another way more satisfactory proof was obtained of his death than would have been by the breaking of his legs. This was so ordered, no doubt, that there might be the fullest proof that he was truly dead; that it could not be pretended that he had swooned away and revived, and so, therefore, that there could not be the least doubt of his resurrection to life.

With a spear - The common spear which soldiers used in war. There can be no doubt that such a stroke from the strong arm of a Roman soldier would have caused death, if he had not been already dead; and it was, doubtless, to furnish this conclusive proof that he was actually dead, and that an atonement had thus been made for mankind, that John mentions so particularly this fact. Let the following circumstances be remembered, showing that death must have ensued from such a wound:

(1)The Saviour was elevated but a little from the ground, so as to be easily reached by the spear of a soldier.

(2)the wound must have been transversely upward, so as to have penetrated into the body, as he could not have stood directly under him.

(3)it was probably made with a strong arm and with violence.

(4)the spear of the Roman soldier was a lance which tapered very gently to a point, and would penetrate easily.

(5)the wound was comparatively a large wound. It was so large as to admit the hand John 20:27; but for a lance thus tapering to have made a wound so wide as to admit the hand, it must have been at least four or five inches in depth, and must have been such as to have made death certain. If it be remembered that this blow was probably in the left side, the conclusion is inevitable that death would have been the consequence of such a blow. To make out this fact was of special importance, probably, in the time of John, as the reality of the death of Jesus was denied by the Gnostics, many of whom maintained that he died in appearance only.

Pierced his side - Which side is not mentioned, nor can it be certainly known. The common opinion is that it was the left side. Car. Frid. Gruner (Commentatio Antiquaria Medica de Jesu Christi Morte, 30-36) has attempted to show that it must have been the left side. See Wiseman‘s Lectures, pp. 161,162, and Kuinoel on John 19:34, where the arguments of Gruner are fully stated. It is clear that the spear pierced to the region of the heart.

And forthwith came … - This was evidently a natural effect of thus piercing the side. Such a flowing of blood and water makes it probable that the spear reached the heart, and if Jesus had not before been dead, this would have closed his life. The heart is surrounded by a membrane called the pericardium. This membrane contains a serous matter or liquor resembling water, which prevents the surface of the heart from becoming dry by its continual motion (Webster). It was this which was pierced and from which the water flowed. The point of the spear also reached one of the ventricles of the heart, and the blood, yet warm, rushed forth, either mingled with or followed by the water of the pericardium, so as to appear to John to be blood and water flowing together. This was a natural effect, and would follow in any other case. Commentators have almost uniformly supposed that this was significant; as, for example, that the blood was an emblem of the eucharist, and the water of baptism, or that the blood denoted justification, and the water sanctification; but that this was the design there is not the slightest evidence.

It was strictly a natural result, adduced by John to establish one fact on which the whole of Christianity turns that he was truly dead. On this depends the doctrine of the atonement, of his resurrection, and all the prominent doctrines of religion. This fact it was of importance to prove, that it might not be pretended that he had only suffered a syncope, or had fainted. This John establishes. He shows that those who were sent to hasten his death believed that he had expired; that then a soldier inflicted a wound which would have terminated life if he had not been already dead; and that the infliction of this wound was followed by the fullest proof that he had truly expired. On this fact he dwells with the interest which became a subject of so much importance to the world, and thus laid the foundation for undoubted assurance that the Lord Jesus died for the sins of men.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on John 19:34". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/john-19.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

John 19:34

One of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side

The piercing of Christ’s side

I.
IT WAS AN ACT OF INSULT AND INDIGNITY TO HIS PERSON. To this, indeed, He was no stranger. In the hall of Pilate, and on the cross He encountered indignities of the cruellest kind. But, beyond the moment of death, the malice of His enemies pursued Him. We cannot behold the body, which the Holy Spirit had prepared, thus mangled, without the deepest sorrow and humiliation. We could not see the body of a convicted malefactor thus insulted without the deepest pity. “He was wounded for our transgressions.” Let us look to Him whom we pierced, and mourn because of Him. And let the believing contemplation of the wounds of Jesus teach us submission under the varied ills and sorrows of our own earthly lot.

II. IT ASCERTAINS, AND PLACES BEYOND QUESTION, THE REALITY OF HIS DEATH. On this some of the most important truths depend.

1. If He had not actually expired, there would have been no sacrifice at all. The true nature of a sacrifice is the actual dying of the victim. If, therefore, the death of Jesus were not put beyond all question, His doctrine might enlighten, and His example direct us, but we should have no assurance that an actual and efficient atonement had been made for sin.

2. The reality of our Lord’s death is essential to the confirmation of the hopes which are founded on His resurrection. If we could not show that death had actually taken place, “our preaching would be vain, your faith would be vain, and you would be yet in your sins.” The piercing of His side put His death beyond question. Believing that He “both died, and rose, and revived,” we look up to Him with sacred satisfaction and joy, and adore Him as “Lord both of the dead and of the living.”

III. IT WAS THE FULFILMENT OF ANCIENT PROPHECIES.

1. With respect to the first of these, it is obvious, that it is the prescription in reference to the Paschal Lamb that is pointed to. The executioner breaks the legs first of the one malefactor, and then of the other; but why does he stop short? Nobody interferes to arrest the fatal blow. But had it fallen the pretensions of Jesus to be the antitype of the Paschal Lamb, and consequently the Messiah of Israel, would have been for ever annulled. While, therefore, the executioner proceeds to do his work, an invisible Power interposed to restrain him. The honour of God’s Son was at stake--the comfort of the Church was in peril--the mission of Jesus must beestablished by the fulfilment of prophecy.

2. Nor is the piercing of His side a less remarkable fulfilment. In the accomplishing of the one, the soldier abstains from doing to Jesus what he had done to the others, and what he had been told to do to all; while, in accomplishing the other prophecy, another soldier does to him what he did not do to the others, and what he was not told to do. And by this opposite conduct of two Roman soldiers were two memorable predictions of God’s Word accomplished.

IV. IT WAS AN EMBLEM OF THE EXPIATORY AND PURIFYING VIRTUE OF HIS SACRIFICE. The piercing of his Master’s side, and the issuing of blood and water from the wound, made a deep and abiding impression on the mind of John, and we find him recurring to it in his first Epistle (verse 6). “This is He who came by water and blood.” In all languages water has been employed as an emblem of moral cleansing, while the universal prevalence of sacrifice has made blood the proper symbol of expiation. (J. Johnston.)

The piercing of Christ’s side

I. THE OCCASION. The scrupulosity of the Jews, which teaches us

1. That superstition is fuller of ceremony than of mercy.

2. That the worst of men are usually very solicitous about external worship.

3. That malefactors are not to be taken out of the hands of justice, and left to the malice of the executioner or the fury of the multitude. They had to ask leave of Pilate for the additional punishment.

4. That when a man once gives himself up to please men there is no end to his compliance. Pilate who began by consenting to scourge Christ ends by signing an order for the breaking of His legs.

5. That Christ was willing to die for us, hence He died before the usual time. Had His legs been broken His death would have seemed the effect of violence rather than His own resignation (John 10:18).

II. THE CIRCUMSTANCE.

1. AS an act of Christ’s love and condescension, that He would expose His body to the malice and violence of wicked men. He might have dried up the soldier’s arm as He did Jeroboams; but by this stroke Christ would have His heart opened to show how full of love He is to sinners. As at the beginning Adam’s side was opened and Eve was taken out of it; so is the Church out of Christ’s side. In this circumstance there is

2. As a certain pledge of Christ’s death. The flowing of blood and water shows that the pericardium was pierced. So His enemies could not say that He was half dead, and that His resurrection was but a reviving out of a swoon. Upon this is based the Resurrection and all its benefits, and the fulness of the expiation which Christ offered to justice.

3. As a Divine necessity. Christ was to die

Forthwith came there out blood and water

Blood and water

In the water and the blood are represented the most essential elements of salvation. The water has a remote reference to baptism, but it chiefly symbolizes the moral purifying power of the word of Christ. The blood points out the ransom paid for our guilt, as well as the atoning sacrifice. The blood flowed separately from the water; justification must not be mingled with, much less substituted for, personal amendment. (F. Krummacher.)

The physical cause of the death of Christ

Since Dr. Stroud published his work on “The Physical Causes of Christ’s Death,” we have met with no doubt expressed as to the death of Christ having immediately resulted from rupture of the heart. “Joy, or grief, or anger, suddenly or intensely excited, have often been known to produce this effect. The heart, which the universal language of mankind has spoken of as peculiarly affected by the play of the passions, has been found in such cases to have been rent or torn by the violence of its own action. The blood issuing from the fissure thus created has filled the pericardium, or sac, by which the heart is enclosed, and by its pressure has stopped the action of the heart” (Dr. Hanna). Common sorrow can, in its sudden extremity, break hearts; why may not that sorrow, deep beyond all other sorrows, have broken His? We believe it did. Now, when blood escapes from its vessels, within a short time it coagulates, its watery part separating from the rest; and there would be, so science tells us, within an hour or two after death such a flow of blood and water from a piercing as that which John saw. The late Sir James Simpson has said on this matter: “It has always appeared, to my medical mind at least, that this mode by which death was produced in the human body of Christ intensifies all our thoughts and ideas regarding the immensity of the astounding sacrifice which He made for our sinful race on the cross. Nothing can possibly be more striking and startling than the appalling and terrific passiveness with which God as man submitted, for our sakes, His incarnate body to all the horrors and tortures of the Crucifixion. But our wonderment at the stupendous sacrifice only increases when we reflect that, whilst enduring for our sins the most cruel and agonizing form of corporeal death, He was ultimately slain, not by the effects of the anguish of His corporeal frame, but by the effects of the mightier anguish of His mind; the fleshly walls of His heart, like the veil, as it were, in the Temple of His human body, becoming rent and riven, as for us He poured out His soul unto death. ‘The travail of His soul’ in that awful hour thus standing out as unspeakably bitterer and more dreadful than the travail of His body.” (C. Stanford,D.D.)

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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "John 19:34". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/john-19.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole 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 אטיפת אדמא, "blood dropped out": and at the second time abundance of waters flowed out.'

The same is affirmed by othersF8Shemot Rabba, sect. 3. fol. 94. 1. Zohar in Num. fol. 102. 4. elsewhere in much the same words and order.

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Gill, John. "Commentary on John 19:34". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/john-19.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

11 But one of the soldiers with a spear d pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

(11) Christ, being dead upon the cross, witnesses by a double sign that he alone is the true satisfaction, and the true washing for the believers.

(d) This wound was a most manifest witness of the death of Christ: for the water that issued out by this wound shows us plainly that the weapon pierced the very skin that encompasses the heart, and this skin is the vessel that contains the water; and once that is wounded, the creature which is so pierced and stricken has no choice but to die.

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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on John 19:34". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/john-19.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

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 John 20:27, John 20:29. 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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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 19:34". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/john-19.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

34. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

[With a spear pierced his side.] The Arabic version of the Erpenian edition adds the word, he pierced his right side; afraid (as it should seem) lest the miracle should not be great enough, if the blood and water should have been supposed to have issued from his left side because of the water that is said to be contained in the pericardium: which being pierced, it is conceived blood and water could not but upon natural reasons flow out of it. But this issue of blood and water had something of mystery in it beyond nature: if nothing preternatural had been in it, I hardly imagine the evangelist would have used that threefold asseveration concerning the truth of the thing as we see he doth; "And he that saw it bare record," &c.

[Came there out blood and water.] It is commonly said that the two sacraments of the new testament, water and blood, flowed out of this wound: but I would rather say that the antitype of the old testament might be here seen.

I. The apostle teacheth us that the ratification of the old covenant was by blood and water, Hebrews 9:19; "Moses took the blood of calves and of goats, with water," &c. I confess, indeed, that Moses makes no mention of water, Exodus 24: but the apostle, writing to the Hebrews, does not write without such authority as they could not tell how to gainsay. And if my memory do not fail me, I think I have read somewhere among some of the Jewish authors (but the place itself has unhappily slipped from me), that when there was some pause to be made betwixt the slaying of the sacrifice and the sprinkling of the blood upon the altar (such a kind of pause as Moses made when he read to the people the articles of their covenant), they mingled water with the blood, lest it should congeal and coagulate. However, the authority is sufficient that the apostle tells us that the first testament was dedicated by blood and water. The antitype of which is clearly exhibited in this ratification of the new testament: and hence it is that the evangelist, by so vehement asseverations, confirms the truth of this passage, because it so plainly answers the type, and gives such assurance of the fulfilling of it.

II. It must not by any means let pass that in Shemoth Rabba; "'He smote the rock, and the waters gushed out,' Psalm 78:20, but the word yod-zayin-vav-bet- yod signifies nothing else but blood; as it is said, 'The woman that hath an issue of blood upon her,' Leviticus 15:20. Moses therefore smote the rock twice, and first it gushed out blood, then water."

"That rock was Christ," 1 Corinthians 10:4. Compare these two together: Moses smote the rock, and blood and water, saith the Jew, flowed out thence: the soldier pierced our Saviour's side with a spear, and water and blood, saith the evangelist, flowed thence.

St. John concludes this asseveration of his, that ye might believe. It is not without moment what is commonly said, viz. that by this flowing out of water and blood, it is evident his pericardium was pierced; and so there was an undoubted assurance given of his death: but I hardly believe the evangelist in this clause had any direct eye towards it; for would he be so vehement in asserting, "He that saw bare record: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe" that Jesus was indeed dead? Surely there was no need of such mighty asseverations for that. Questionless, therefore, he would intimate something else, viz. that you may believe that this is the true blood of the new covenant, which so directly answers the type in the confirmation of the old. Nor do I think that the water itself, which issued from his side, was that only which was contained in the pericardium, but that something supernatural was in this matter.

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on John 19:34". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/john-19.html. 1675.

People's New Testament

Pierced his side. Finding him lifeless, the soldiers did not break his legs, but to make sure of death thrust a spear into his side.

Came out blood and water. The water, with clots of blood, can be accounted for only the previous rupture of the heart and the flow of blood into the {pericardium,} or outer sack of the heart, where it would separate very rapidly into water and clots of blood. Hence, it seems certain that the immediate physical cause of the death of Christ was rupture of the heart.

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Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
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Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on John 19:34". "People's New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/john-19.html. 1891.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

With a spear (λογχηιlogchēi). Instrumental case of this old word, here only in the N.T.

Pierced his side (αυτου την πλευραν ενυχενautou tēn pleuran enuxen). First aorist active indicative of νυσσωnussō old word to pierce, here only in N.T., and πλευρανpleuran (side), another old word, occurs in N.T. only here and John 20:20, John 20:25, John 20:27.

Blood and water
(αιμα και υδωρhaima kai hudōr). Dr. W. Stroud (Physical Cause of the Death of Christ) argues that this fact proves that the spear pierced the left side of Jesus near the heart and that Jesus had died literally of a broken heart since blood was mixed with water.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on John 19:34". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/john-19.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

With a spear ( λόγχῃ )

Only here in the New Testament. Properly, the head of a spear. So Herodotus, of the Arabians: “They also had spears ( αἰχμὰς ) tipped with an antelope's horn sharpened like a spear-point ( λόγχης )” (vii., 96). Used also, as here, for the spear itself.

Pierced ( ἔνυξεν )

Only here in the New Testament. The question has been raised whether the Evangelist means to describe a gash or a prick. Another verb is rendered pierced in John 19:37, the quotation from Zechariah 12:10, ἐξεκέντησαν , which occurs also at Revelation 1:7, with reference to Christ's crucifixion, and is used in classical Greek of putting out the eyes, or stabbing, and in the Septuagint of Saul's request to his armor-bearer: “Draw thy sword and thrust me through therewith” (1 Chronicles 10:4). The verb used here, however, νύσσω , is also used to describe severe and deadly wounds, as in Homer:

“As he sprang

Into his car, Idomeneus, expert

To wield the ponderous javelin, thrust ( νύξ ) its blade

Through his right shoulder. From the car he fell,

And the dark night of death came over him.”

Iliad,” v. 45-47.

It has been suggested that the body was merely pricked with the spear to ascertain if it were yet alive. There seems, on the whole, no reason for departing from the ordinary understanding of the narrative, that the soldier inflicted a deep thrust on the side of Jesus (compare John 20:25, John 20:27); nor is it quite apparent why, as Mr. Field urges, a distinction should be kept up between the two verbs in John 19:34and John 19:37.

Blood and water

It has been argued very plausibly that this was a natural phenomenon, the result of a rupture of the heart which, it is assumed, was the immediate cause of death, and which was followed by an effusion of blood into the pericardium. This blood, separated into its thicker and more liquid parts, flowed forth when the pericardium was pierced by the spear. I think, however, with Meyer, that John evidently intends to describe the incident as something entirely unexpected and marvelous, and that this explanation better suits the solemn asseveration of John 19:35. That the fact had a symbolic meaning to the Evangelist is evident from 1 John 5:6.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on John 19:34". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/john-19.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

Forthwith there came out blood and water — It was strange, seeing he was dead, that blood should come out; more strange, that water also; and most strange of all, that both should come out immediately, at one time, and yet distinctly. It was pure and true water, as well as pure and true blood. The asseveration of the beholder and testifier of it, shows both the truth and greatness of the miracle and mystery.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on John 19:34". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/john-19.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

howbeit one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side1, and straightway there came out blood and water2.

  1. Howbeit one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side. To insure death in case they might be mistaken.

  2. And straightway there came out blood and water. Many able men have argued learnedly that this flow of blood and water was evidence that Jesus died of a ruptured, or literally broken, heart; but they confess themselves involved in difficulties, for it is hard to reconcile the idea that Jesus died a voluntary death with the idea that he died of any natural cause whatever. Can anything be at once natural and supernatural.

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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on John 19:34". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/john-19.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

And pierced his side; to see whether there was any sensibility or life remaining.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on John 19:34". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/john-19.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

Но один из воинов. То, что воин пронзил копьем бок Христа, было сделано для подтверждения Его смерти. Но Бог, как мы увидим вскоре, смотрел дальше. По-детски выглядит вымысел папистов, изобретших имя этому воину и сделавших из него Лонгина. И чтобы сказка их была полной, они болтают, будто прежде он был слеп, и, вернув зрение, обратился к вере. Таким образом Лонгин был помещен в их каталог святых. Поскольку же их молитвы к Богу всякий раз опираются на подобных заступников, что, спрашиваю я, они могут вымолить? Но те, кто, презрев Христа, хватается за помощь мертвых, достойны того, чтобы дьявол завлек их своими чучелами.

Истекла кровь и вода. Некоторые бредят и видят здесь чудо. Но вполне естественно, что кровь, густея и теряя силу, становится похожей на воду. Также известно, что вода содержится в околосердечной мембране. Эти люди обманываются из-за того, что Евангелист усердно подчеркивает излияние воды. Словно говорит о чем-то необычном и противоестественном. Но у него была иная цель: снабдить свой рассказ свидетельствами Писания. Особенно же, чтобы верующие вывели из них то, чему он учил ранее: Христос пришел с водой и кровью. Этим он хочет сказать, что Христос принес с Собой умилостивление и истинное омовение. Ведь отпущение грехов и праведность души означаются в законе двумя символами: жертвами и омовениями. В жертвах кровь изглаживала грехи, будучи ценою умилостивления гнева Божия. Омовения же свидетельствовали об истинной чистоте, очищали скверну и устраняли плотскую нечистоту. И чтобы вера больше не привязывалась к этим немощным элементам, Иоанн в пятой главе своего послания свидетельствует: исполнение и той, и другой благодати находится во Христе. Здесь же он указывает на ее видимый знак. Сюда же относятся таинства, оставленные Христом Церкви. Ибо в крещении нам явлено очищение души, состоящее в новой жизни; Вечеря же является залогом совершенного умилостивления. Но эти таинства сильно разнятся от образов ветхого закона, ибо преподносят нам Христа как присутствующего. Образы же закона свидетельствуют, что Он еще далеко. Посему вполне уместно то, что написал Августин: из бока Христова истекли наши таинства. Мы лишь тогда омываемся от своих скверн и обновляемся для святой жизни, лишь тогда избавляемся от смерти и, оправданные, живем перед лицом Божиим, когда крещение и вечеря приводят нас к боку Христову, дабы оттуда мы верою черпали то, что эти таинства изображают.

 

 

 

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 19:34". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-19.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

Ver. 34. But one of the soldiers with a spear] What an odd conceit is that of the Papists, that from the Greek word λογχη, have made this soldier’s name Longinus! {a} and to make up the tale, they tell the people, that whereas before he had been blind, by the anointing of his eyes with the watery blood that came out of Christ’s side, he received his sight, became a Christian, a martyr, a canonized saint, and that his relics were afterwards worshipped. The lance and nails that tormented Christ were graced with a holy day by Pope Innocent VI, and this eulogy, Ave ferrum triumphale, intrans pectus tu vitale caeli pandis ostia, &c. {b}

There came out blood and water] The pericardium being pierced, which nature hath filled with water to cool the heat of the heart. Hereto St John alludes, when he saith, 1 John 5:6, that "Christ came by water and blood," to teach us, that he justifieth none by his merit but when he sanctifieth by his Spirit. Possumus etiam hinc asseverare ex latere Christi fluxisse nostra sacramenta, saith Calvin, We may safely say that our sacraments issued out of Christ’s side.

{a} Notetur turpis pontificiorum lapsus in Longino, et inscitia Graecae linguae. Cartw.

{b} In Deorum numerum relatus ut de Francis. Bembus. Hist. Ven.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on John 19:34". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/john-19.html. 1865-1868.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

34.] The lance must have penetrated deep, for the object was to ensure death,—and, see ch. John 20:27, probably into the left side, on account of the position of the soldier, and of what followed.

αἷμα κ. ὕδωρ] The spear perhaps pierced the pericardium or envelope of the heart, in which case a liquid answering the description of ὕδωρ may have flowed with the blood. But the quantity would be so small as scarcely to have been observed. It is hardly possible that the separation of the blood into placenta and serum should so soon have taken place, or that, if it had, it should have been by an observer described as αἷμα καὶ ὕδωρ. It is more probable that the fact, which is here so strongly testified, was a consequence of the extreme exhaustion of the Body of the Redeemer. The medical opinions on the point are very various, and by no means satisfactory. Meyer’s note is well worth consulting. His view after all seems to be the safe and true one—that the circumstance is related as a miraculous sign, having deep significance as to the work of the Redeemer, and shewing Him to be more than mortal. It can be no reason against this, that, as Ewald urges, St. John does not here dwell on any such typical significance, nor can I see how, as he maintains, 1 John 5:6 ff. can be understood without reference to this fact: see note there.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 19:34". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/john-19.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

John 19:34. The soldiers, when they saw, etc. The death of Jesus, in keeping with their attitude of indifference in the matter, had therefore been unobserved by them (in answer to Hengstenberg); they now omitted the leg-breaking in His case, as aimless in the case of one already dead. But one pierced Him with a lance in the side. Wherefore? Not in order to ascertain whether He was actually dead; for, according to the context, the thrust took the place of breaking the legs. Hence it must be assumed, according to the analogy of the latter, that the object of the thrust was to make quite sure of the death of Jesus, i.e. in case He should not yet be altogether dead, to put Him completely to death.

αὐτοῦ τ. πλευράν] His side. Which? is not clear; but the left, if he who dealt the thrust stood before the cross, was most naturally at hand.

ἔνυξε] Neither the word itself (since νύσσειν ordinarily denotes violent thrusting or stabbing; especially frequent in Homer, see Duncan, ed. Rost, p. 796), nor the person of the rude soldier, nor the weapon (lance, belonging to the heavy armour, Ephesians 6:11), nor the purpose of the thrust, nor the palpable nature of the opening of the wound, to be assumed, according to John 20:27, nor ἐξεκέντησαν, John 19:37, admit the interpretation, which is implied in the interest of an apparent death, of a superficial scratch (Paulus).

αἷμα κ. ὕδωρ] is, considering the difference and significance of the two substances, certainly not to be taken as a hendiadys (“a reddish lymph,” Paulus(251)). Whether the blood and water issued forth contemporaneously or after one another, does not appear from the words. In the natural(252) mode of regarding this twofold issue, it is thought either (1) that Jesus was not yet dead, but simply died in consequence of the thrust, which pierced the pericardium with its watery lymph, and at the same time the chamber of the heart, from which the blood welled (so the two physicians Gruner in the Commentat. de Jesu Chr. morte vera non simulata, etc., Halle 1805), to which, however, the mode of contemplation of the entire apostolical church is opposed, which was certain, and had the personal testimonies of Christ Himself to the fact that in His crucifixion itself the putting to death was accomplished. Or (2) it is assumed that the blood had been decomposed in the corpse (Hase, Krabbe, and several others), so that serum, bloody water, and placenta, clots of blood, separately issued forth; which separate outflow, however, of the constituent parts of blood cannot, in the case of a fresh body that had been healthy, be anatomically established. Or (3) the heart is considered, just as the Gruners suppose, as having been pierced through, though the death of Jesus is assumed to have already previously taken place (Beza, Calvin, Grotius, Wetstein, and several others), as also Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 584 (the death of Jesus was a sudden breaking of the heart), holds to be most probable. Not substantially different is the view of the English physician William Stroud, A Treatise on the physical cause of the death of Christ, London 1847, comp. Tholuck, who, besides the cavity of the heart, brings into consideration also the two bags of the diaphragm, with the fact of their fluidity in corpses. This mode of regarding the matter renders unnecessary the entirely arbitrary theory of Ebrard, p. 563 ff., of extravasations and sugillations which the thrust occasioned,(253) and would be quite satisfactory if John had desired to give an account generally of a natural, physiological effect of the lance-thrust. But irrespective of the fact that he adduces nothing which would allow us to think in ὕδωρ not of actual water, but of lymph ( ἰχώρ), he desires to set forth the phenomenon manifestly as something entirely unexpected (note also the εὐθύς), extraordinary, marvellous. Only thus is his solemn asseveration in John 19:35, and the power of conviction for the Messiahship of Jesus, which he finds in the truth of the ἐξῆλθεν, κ. τ. λ., to be comprehended. To him it was not a subsidiary circumstance (Ebrard, comp. Lücke on John 19:35, and Baeumlein), which convinced the soldier who gave the thrust of the death of the Crucified One, but a miraculous σημεῖον, which further set forth that the corpse was that of the divine Messiah ( τρανῶς διδάσκον, ὅτι ὑπὲρ ἄνθρωπον νυγείς, Euth. Zigabenus), of whose specific calling and work, blood and water are the speaking symbols, in so far, that is, as He has by blood brought the redemptive work to completion, and by means of water (i.e. by means of the birth from above, which takes place through baptism, John 3:5) has appropriated it; a significance which Tholuck also esteems probable in the sense of the Gospel. Comp. also Steinmeyer, who, however, ascribes to the water only the subordinate purpose, to place the blood under the point of view of the definite (purifying) operation. Luther: “our redemption is concealed in the miraculous work.” Comp. 1 John 5:6, where, however, τὸ ὕδωρ, agreeably to the standard of the historical point of view ( ἐλθών), stands first. See also Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 255. We must abide by this exegetical conclusion(254) (comp. Hengstenberg on John 19:37), and must renounce the demonstration of natural connection not less than in other miraculous appearances of the evangelical history.(255) The figurative interpretation or explaining away of the fact itself (Baur, p. 217 ff.: by reference to John 7:38-39 : it is the representation, contemplated by the writer in a spiritual manner, of the idea that with the death of Jesus there immediately begins the fulness of spiritual life, which was to proceed from Him on behalf of the world) is only possible on the assumption that neither John nor He gave an historical account, as further Baur (see p. 272 ff.), whom Scholten follows, refers the entire narrative of the omission to break the legs, and of the side-thrust, simply to the dogmatic interest of representing Jesus as the true Paschal lamb, and thereby the turning-point at which the O. T. economy of religion ceased to exist, and the new began, the essence of which is contemplated in the blood and water that flowed out. See in opposition to Baur: Grimm in the Stud. u. Krit. 1847, p. 181 ff., and 1849, p. 285 ff.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 19:34". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/john-19.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

John 19:34. λὁγχῃ, with a lance or spear) which would not [i.e. in such a way as that he did not] touch Jesus’ bones. Yet the wound was a large open one, wide enough to hold in it not merely a finger, but the whole hand: ch. John 20:27, Jesus said to Thomas, “Thrust thy hand into My side:” and an altogether deadly wound, if it were inflicted on any living person.— πλευρὰν, side) the left side perhaps. Comp. Psalms 91:7.— εὐθέως ἐξῆλθεν αἷμα καὶ ὕδωρ, forthwith there came out blood and water) That blood came out was strange; that water also came out was still more so; that both came forthwith, at the one time, and yet distinct from one another, was most marvellous of all. From what quarter of the body the blood and water came, from the chest, or from the heart, or from some other part, who will define? The water was pure and real, just as the blood was pure and real: and the water is said to have flowed after the blood, that it might be perceived that the Saviour had wholly poured Himself out. Psalms 22:15 (14), “I am poured out like water.” The verb ἐξῆλθεν may be either translated by the Singular [agreeing with each subject, αἷμα and ὓδωρ, separately] or by the Plural [the two neuter nouns being taken as a collective Plural, agreeing with the verb Singular]. The asseveration of the Evangelist, who was at the same time a Spectator and a Witness, shows both the truth and the greatness of the miracle and of the mystery. Comp. 1 John 5:6; 1 John 5:8, note, [“This is He that came by water and blood—not by water only, but by water and blood—There are three that bear witness on earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood.” Not merely did He undertake the office of fulfilling all righteousness, by submitting to baptism, Matthew 3:15, but consummated what He undertook by having shed His blood, John 19:30; John 19:34.]

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on John 19:34". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/john-19.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

But one of the soldiers, to make sure of him, pierced his side, out of which it is said that there presently came forth blood and water. That there should come out blood is no wonder, nor yet that there should come forth water. Blood being congealed, it is ordinary to see water on the top of the vessel where it is. And besides, anatomists tell us, that in the hollow part of the breast there are watery as well as bloody humours in the membrane that encompasses the heart, which being pierced, and the water let out, the living creature dieth necessarily. But yet in regard of the next words,

He that saw it bare record, and he knoweth that he saith true, &c., most divines think, that there was some mystery in this water and blood which came out of Christ’s side pierced. Some would have the two sacraments of the gospel signifies by this water and blood. Christ is said to have come by water and blood, 1 John 5:6; that is, say interpreters, he brought in a true expiation of sins by his blood, and the laver of regeneration, washing the soul from its filthiness: and thus be proved the true Antitype, answering the Jewish types in sacrifices and divers washings.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on John 19:34". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/john-19.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Внезапное истечение крови и воды говорит о том, что солдат пронзил бок Иисуса на значительную глубину. Копье пронзило либо сердце, либо нижнюю полость грудной клетки. В любом случае Иоанн упомянул истечение «крови и воды», чтобы подчеркнуть: Иисус несомненно умер.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on John 19:34". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/john-19.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

34.One of the soldiers—As if to make assurance doubly sure.

Blood and water—It has been well known in all ages that the blood of a dead man forthwith coagulates and will not flow. So that the ancient Greek commentator, Euthymius, says: “From the body of a dead man, though it should be pierced ten thousand times, no blood would issue.” Hence the early Church held this blood-and-water stream from the side of Jesus to be miraculous. In our own day, also, Mr. Andrews, in his Life of our Lord, holds that as the body of Jesus miraculously suffered no corruption, so the live blood could follow the spear as from the body of a living man. So by divine provision the sacred body of Jesus must be preserved from being marred by stoning to death, according to Jewish law, or by the crucifragium, according to Roman custom. His body must attain its resurrection unviolated, save by those blood wounds without which there could be no remission. The furnishing a natural solution has greatly perplexed anatomists. In the opinion of Tholuck, Ebrard has brought the question to a satisfactory result. Ebrard professes to show that in certain cases of violent contortion the blood might be decomposed into two parts, might become unnaturally collected, be pierced by the spear, and both water and blood flow forth. Of all natural solutions, perhaps that of Stroud is best. He maintains that JESUS DIED OF A BROKEN HEART; and in such a case blood would escape into the region around the heart and there be separated into red clot and watery fluid; thence it would escape through the wound made by the spear. It is a wonderful thought that the mighty heart of Jesus broke under its crushing weight of woe; and it is a striking idea that the apostle’s simple observation should furnish the phenomenon from which modern science verifies such a result.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on John 19:34". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/john-19.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

What led the soldier to pierce Jesus" side with his spear (Gr. longche) is unclear and unimportant. Perhaps it was just another senseless act of brutality, or he may have wanted to see if he could get some reaction from Jesus.

It is also unclear why the wound produced a sudden flow of blood and water (cf. 1 John 5:6). Probably the spear pierced Jesus" heart and its surrounding pericardial sac that contains water. The fluids could have drained out as John described if the spear had entered the body near the bottom of the chest cavity. [Note: See A. F. Sava, "The Wound in the Side of Christ," Catholic Biblical Quarterly19 (1957):343-46.] Apparently the soldier pierced Jesus" side before His blood congealed into a solid. This eyewitness testimony stresses the fact that Jesus really did die and that He was a genuine man (cf. John 1:14).

By the end of the first century, when John probably wrote this Gospel, Docetism and Gnosticism were on the rise. Both of these heresies denied that Jesus was a real man. Docetists claimed that Jesus only seemed (Gr. dokeo, "to seem," therefore the name "Docetist") to be fully human. Muslims take a similar view of Jesus. [Note: Koran, Sura4:156.] Muhammad"s knowledge of Christianity came through docetic sources. [Note: Bruce, p382, footnote38.]

Some interpreters have suspected that John was alluding to the Lord"s Supper and baptism when he mentioned this blood and water. [Note: E.g, Brown, 2:946-53; cf. Westcott, The Gospel . . . Greek Text . . ., 2:328-33.] However, there are no clues in the text that this was John"s intention. Others have seen the blood and water as symbolic of the life and cleansing that metaphorically flow from Jesus" death. [Note: E.g, Dodd, p428; cf. Morris, p725.] Again it would be hard to prove or disprove that this was in John"s mind from what he wrote. Still others view it as referring to the Holy Spirit. However these are at best interpretations that rest on similarities. Others have seen a fulfillment of Psalm 69:20 here: "Reproach has broken my heart." Yet John did not make this connection, and Jesus did not die literally of a broken heart.

Several hymn writers have, however, developed this symbolism. For example, Fanny Crosby wrote, "Jesus, keep me near the cross. There a precious fountain, free to all, a healing stream, flows from Calv"ry"s mountain." [Note: Fanny Crosby, "Near the Cross."] Other non-literal interpretations see the water as an allusion to Exodus 17:6. Augustus Toplady wrote, "Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hid myself in Thee. Let the water and the blood, from thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure. Cleanse me from its guilt and power." [Note: Augustus Toplady, "Rock of Ages."] I do not mean to denigrate these worthy hymns but to point out that they go beyond the teaching of this passage.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on John 19:34". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/john-19.html. 2012.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

John 19:34. But one of the soldiers , “pierced His side with a spear”. But Field prefers “pricked His side” to keep up the distinction between (the milder word) and (John 19:37). He favours the idea of Loesner that the soldier’s intention was to ascertain whether Jesus was really dead, and he cites a very apt parallel from Plutarch’s Cleomenes, 37. But occurs in Homer (Il., John v. 579), where death followed, and as the wound inflicted by this spear thrust seems to have been a hand-breadth wide (John 20:25) it may be presumed the soldier meant to make sure that Jesus was dead by giving Him a thrust which itself would have been fatal. The weapon with which the blow was inflicted was a , the ordinary Roman hasta, which had an iron head, egg-shaped, and about a hand-breadth at the broadest part. Following upon the blow . Dr. Stroud (Physical Cause of the Death of Christ) advocates the view that our Lord died from rupture of the heart, and thus accounts both for the speedy cessation of life and for the effusion of blood and water. Previous literature on the subject will be found in the Critici Sacri and select passages in Burton’s Bampton Lec., 468–9. Without physiological knowledge John records simply what he saw, and if he had an eye to the Docetae, as Waterland (John v. 190) supposes, yet his main purpose was to certify the real death of Jesus. The symbolic significance of the blood and water so abundantly insisted on by the Fathers (see Burton, B. L., 167–72, and Westcott’s additional note) is not within John’s horizon.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on John 19:34". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/john-19.html. 1897-1910.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

There came out blood and water, which naturally could not come from a dead body. (Witham) --- Hence it is, that the sacred mysteries flow; as often, therefore, as thou approachest the awful cup, approach it as if thou wert going to drink from thy Saviour's sacred side. (St. John Chrysostom, hom. lxxxiv. in Joan.) --- The holy Fathers say, that the spouse [i.e. the Church] of Jesus Christ was here taken out of his side, whilst sleeping on the cross, as Eve was from Adam's side, when he was cast asleep in Paradise.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on John 19:34". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/john-19.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

pierced. Greek. nusso. Occurs only here.

side. Greek. pleura, Only here; John 20:20, John 20:25, John 20:27. Acts 12:7.

forthwith = immediately. Greek euthus.

blood and water. The question of the physical cause of the Lord"s death has been much discussed; but we need not seek a natural explanation of what John records as a miraculous sign. The blood and water may have been symbolical of the sprinkling with blood and cleansing with water of the Old Covenant. See Hebrews 9:12-14, Hebrews 9:19-22. 1 John 5:6, 1 John 5:8.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on John 19:34". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/john-19.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

But one of the soldiers - to make assurance of the fact doubly sure 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 John 20:27-29. Had life still remained it must have fled now.

And forthwith came thereout blood and water. 'It is now well known,' to use the words of Webster and Wilkinson, 'that the effect of long-continued and intense agony is frequently to produce a secretion of a colourless lymph within the pericardium (the membrane enveloping the heart), amounting in many cases to a very considerable quantity.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on John 19:34". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/john-19.html. 1871-8.

The Bible Study New Testament

34. Plunged his spear Into Jesus’ side. They did not break Jesus’ legs, since he was already dead. Just to make sure, the spear is plunged into his side. At once blood and water poured out. Johnson thinks this shows Jesus died of a bursted heart. The fact that John clearly identifies blood and water shows there is some special meaning here. Compare 1 John 5:6-8. [The ancient writers thought of BAPTISM as the point of contact with the blood of Christ. J.F. Bethune-Baker, in An Introduction to the Early History of Christian Doctrine, says about baptism: “It was the medium by which the power of the life and death of Christ was made effective to the individual experience.” Compare 1 Peter 3:20-21.]

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on John 19:34". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/john-19.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(34) But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side.—They had seen that He was dead, and therefore did not break the legs. To cause death was not, then, the object in piercing the side; and yet it may have seemed to make death doubly sure. The word rendered “pierced” occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, but it is certain, from John 20:27, that the act caused a deep wound, and that the point of the lance therefore penetrated to the interior organs of the body. If the soldier stood before the cross, this wound would naturally be in the left side.

And forthwith came there out blood and water.—“Various physiological explanations have been given of this fact, such as—(1) that the lance pierced the pericardium, which contained a small quantity of watery lymph, which immediately flowed out; and also the heart, from which the blood flowed, the actual death taking place at this moment; (2) that the physical death of Christ resulted from rupture of the heart, and that the cavities of the heart and the surrounding-vessels contained a watery fluid; (3) that decomposition of the blood in the corpse had taken place, the solid matter being separated from the fluid, so that it would appear to be blood mixed with water. (Comp. Notes on 1 John 5:5-6.)

Whatever solution we adopt, it is clear that death had taken place some time previously (John 19:30), and that, while we cannot say which physical explanation is the true one, there is within the region of natural occurrences quite sufficient to account for the impression on the mind of St. John which he records here. We have to think of the disciple whom Jesus loved looking at the crucified and pierced body of his Lord, and remembering the picture in later years, and telling that there flowed from that pierced side both blood and water.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on John 19:34". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/john-19.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
came
13:8-10; Psalms 51:7; Ezekiel 36:25; Zechariah 13:1; Matthew 27:62; Acts 22:16; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 2:14; 3:5-7; Hebrews 9:13,22; 10:19-22; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 John 1:6-9; 5:6,8; Revelation 1:5; 7:14
Reciprocal: Leviticus 14:7 - sprinkle;  1 Kings 18:33 - Fill four;  Zechariah 12:10 - they shall look;  John 13:5 - poureth;  Acts 4:27 - Pontius Pilate;  Hebrews 10:10 - we;  Hebrews 13:12 - sanctify;  Revelation 1:7 - and they

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on John 19:34". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/john-19.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

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, (186) 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. (187) 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.

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.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on John 19:34". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/john-19.html. 1840-57.