It is easy to read these verses and think, “why does John include these things about his bones not being broken and his side being pierced?”
He includes it because as John states, “these things fulfilled prophecy.” Prophecy that had been spoken hundreds and hundred years earlier. Some even over a thousands years earlier. And what prophecy reminds us is that God had a plan for our salvation. And that God is a purposeful God. And God is in control.
The crucifixion of Jesus is not the world gone mad but the Father fulfilling His plan and His promises. Prophecy reminds us that God is an intentional God. What God said would come about would come about. What God says is true is true. We can trust the Word of God.
By not having his bones broken, God points us to the Passover lamb, the Passover meal that the Jews had just observed and enjoyed. When the Jews prepared the Passover lamb, they were told not to break a bone from that lamb. There wasn’t a reason given them. But these were the instructions given by Moses in Exodus 12.
I am sure there were many times in which a child said, “Mom, Dad, why do we not break the bone of the Passover lamb. And Mom and Dad would point them back to the words of Exodus 12 and say this is what Moses had instructed us to do.
But then we come to cross and see why. At the cross, God makes a connection between the Passover lamb that helped deliver Israel from Egypt and Jesus as the lamb of God who delivers us from our sin. The death of Jesus was not random. It was not a world out of control. It was God fulfilling His purposes.
This passage also says that the soldiers pierced Jesus and this fulfilled Scripture which says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
This is a reference to Zech 12:10 which says, “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died.”
This is a reference to the nation of Israel looking upon the Lord whom they had disobeyed and rebelled against and they are grieving that disobedience and now turning to Him in repentance. They are looking upon Him in humility and repentance.