John 19:36 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

John 19:36, NIV: These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: 'Not one of his bones will be broken,'

John 19:36, ESV: For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.”

John 19:36, KJV: For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

John 19:36, NASB: For these things took place so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: 'NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.'

John 19:36, NLT: These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, 'Not one of his bones will be broken,'

John 19:36, CSB: For these things happened so that the Scripture would be fulfilled: Not one of his bones will be broken.

What does John 19:36 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Old Testament prophecy comes up several times in John's description of the crucifixion. Earlier, as Jesus was dying, soldiers rolled dice to split up His clothes (John 19:23–24). This connects to Psalm 22:18, which depicts an innocent man suffering at the hands of His enemies. Jesus is given a vile liquid in response to His thirst (John 19:28–29). John sees this as an echo of Psalm 69:21.

To speed up execution, the Roman governor gave permission to break the legs of the condemned men (John 19:31–32). Jesus was already dead by then (John 19:33), though a soldier confirmed this by impaling the corpse with a spear (John 19:34).

The reference cited here seems to be Psalm 34:20. That passage speaks of God's ultimate rescue of those who are righteous. The prior verse (Psalm 34:19) speaks of God delivering the righteous "out of" their suffering. While Jesus is killed on the cross, He will soon be resurrected: a rescue "out of" death that demonstrates His divine nature.

The fact that Jesus did not break any bones also corresponds to His role as the perfect Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7). Israel sacrificed spotless lambs at Passover (Exodus 12:5), being careful not to break their bones (Exodus 12:46). That a sinless man (Hebrews 4:15) has been killed without broken bones corresponds to these prophetic images.