Thursday, January 16, 2014

Him Whom They Pierced

33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:
34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.
36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.
37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. (John 19:33-37)

For some reason I was curious to see what Old Testament verses were quoted to point out how Jesus fulfilled prophecy and I decided to search for it.

It turns out the scripture about piercing is from Zechariah 12:10 and speaks in a second coming context:

And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10, emphasis added)

So John took pains to show that for the prophecy about the second coming to be fulfilled, Christ had to be pierced during His first coming some time, and he pointed to this incident after Christ’s death as being the first step in fulfilling that prophecy.

(I have to add that it is a mercy the piercing occurred after Christ’s death rather than while He was still alive.)

It is interesting that John says that no bone of Christ was broken, fulfilling prophecy in scripture.  The footnotes for that lead us to scriptures instructing that the paschal lamb for the Passover meal was not to have any bone broken.  So it seems that not just the Lamb was a type or prophecy about Christ, but also instructions of the treatment of the lamb were considered prophecy about Jesus. 

I‘m fascinated by how different the sources are that John pulled from to point to how Jesus fulfilled the scriptures.  He fulfilled the words of a particular prophet in one instance and in another He fulfilled a prophecy implicit in the instructions of an ordinance of the Law of Moses (which would be like finding prophecy in the church handbook of instructions).  It kind of gives us an expanded idea of where prophecy of Christ can be found in the Old Testament.

If you’re looking for something different to study in the scriptures, try noticing the places where it says Jesus fulfilled prophecy and then try to track down where that is in the Old Testament.  I never know what I’ll find when I do that.  Sometimes the context is so enlightening that it makes my head explode and other times it makes me say, “What!?  How did anyone ever figure out that was a prophecy?”  Then I just have to shake my head and admit that the ways of the Lord are still so far above me.


Rozy Lass said...

Remember that many plain and precious things have been removed from the Old Testament (and New). Nephi was shown that would happen. That could be why the prophecies aren't always clear. Thankfully we have the Book of Mormon where the prophecies are pretty clear.

Michaela Stephens said...

I personally think that one of the reasons why the Lord put prophecies in types and shadows as well as in direct words of the prophets was because He knew that man would try to change the things they didn't like.
Prophecies in types make it so that the important information is not lost in translation because it is integral to the stories themselves.

By the same token, parallelism in the scriptures happens to be a literary form that survives translation. It would be very hard to find rhyming words in other languages that give the same sense as a rhyme in the original language, so parallelism is like rhyming ideas instead of the words.