Prophecy 24: Not One of His Bones Will Be Broken

From Rob’s new Book: 365 Prophecies: Prophecy 24

No bone of the Messiah will be broken in His sacrifice as the Passover Lamb.

Old Testament Prediction:

Exodus 12:43, 46 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover…, nor shall you break one of its bones.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

John 19:31-35 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe.

John 19:36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.”


There is a goal in the lives of those who endeavor to be great men of faith to attempt something so impossible, that without God causing it happen, it is certain to fail.

Imagine a prophecy that has a component which is so impossible to fulfill, that should it actually happen, it would be unmistakable evidence that the one who satisfied the requirements of that prophecy must be the Messiah.

Despite the normal procedure for a crucifixion in which the legs of a man would be broken to hasten his death, Jesus’ legs are not broken during His crucifixion. How could someone engineer his own death by crucifixion, yet none of his bones would be broken, as was common during crucifixions of that day?

Of course, it would be impossible to set up in advance the events that would happen during the final hours of a person’s life. No sane person would purposely engineer a grotesque and vicious death by crucifixion for himself. If Jesus wanted to deceive the world into believing that He was the Messiah, would He go so far as to ensure that He was killed by such a horrific event? Under normal circumstances, only a deranged person would do such a thing.

The question then arises: Do insane people say and do the kinds of things that Jesus said and did during the three and one-half years of His public ministry? He healed the sick, raised the dead, and forgave the sins of those who came to Him in repentance. He told everyone in advance that the purpose of His life was to die for the sins of the world. He had no home, possessions, or desire for wealth or power. All of His life was dedicated to loving people and bringing them into a relationship with God.

Since it is apparent that Jesus is not insane and He is no liar, the only option that remains is that He knew what He was doing, and that He allowed Himself to be put to death because He was following a pre-determined plan to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah.

Ten times, Matthew records the words: that it might be fulfilled

Matthew 1:22-23 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Predicted in Isaiah 7:14 Prophecy 164

Matthew 2:15 …and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” Predicted in Hosea 11:1 Prophecy 315

Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”  Predicted in Isaiah 11:1 Prophecy 180

Matthew 4:14-16 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” Predicted in Isaiah 9:1 Prophecy 168

Matthew 8:17 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.” Predicted in Isaiah 53:4 Prophecy 240 and Prophecy 241

Matthew 12:17-21 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.” Predicted in Isaiah 42:1 Prophecy 201

Matthew 13:35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.” Predicted in Psalm 78:2 Prophecy 125

Matthew 21:4-5 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” Predicted in Zechariah 9:9 Prophecy 333 also 334, 335, 336, 337,338

Matthew 26:56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled. Predicted in Zechariah 13:7 Prophecy 358

Matthew 27:35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” Predicted in Psalm 22:18 Prophecy 82

Matthew understood that Jesus was fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament which predicted the coming of the Messiah. Jesus placed Himself right in the middle of all these prophecies and acknowledged that He was the one appointed to fulfill all these promises of God.

Jesus had advanced knowledge of every event that would happen to Him in giving up His life for us, because He is the eternal God. Before the heavens or the earth were created, Jesus offered His life for the sins of the whole world. His love for all people was so great that He was willing to die for us, even though a vast majority of people would never accept His love or offer of forgiveness.

These 365 Old Testament prophecies are the Lord’s assurance to us that everything He said is trustworthy. He gave us these many and various prophecies to make it absolutely clear that Jesus is the Messiah and to demonstrate that no other person could fulfill these many predictions.

God wanted to ensure that when He sent His Son into the world to die for us, that we would easily be able to identify Him as being the Messiah.

In this 24th Old Testament prophecy that Jesus fulfilled, the Passover Lamb was specifically ordered to not have a single bone broken.

If a man were going to set himself up to be identified as the promised Messiah who would fulfill the prophecy of the Passover Lamb, how could he make sure that during his crucifixion, not one of His bones would be broken?

When Jesus was brought to the Cross to be put to death, it was on the evening of Passover. According to Jewish tradition, the body of someone who was crucified could not be left on the cross past the start of the Sabbath, which began at 6 pm. Since Jesus was placed on the Cross at the 6th hour, which would be at 12 noon by our time, the Jews in Israel wanted to ensure that He did not remain on the Cross at the start of the Sabbath. Often, those who were crucified would live for days while hanging on the cross before they expired.

It was traditional to break the legs of a condemned criminal who had been placed upon a cross to hasten his death. The very act of being nailed to a cross caused great difficulty in breathing. The crucified would have to push down with his feet on the pedestal he was nailed to, just to stand up for a moment and draw a breath of air. Being suspended on the cross by the arms, the lungs were greatly impeded, and the mechanics of breathing were nearly impossible. The final strike against the body that ultimately caused the death of a crucified man was asphyxiation. After many hours, or often days, hanging on the cross, a person would become so fatigued that he was unable to push himself up, allowing breath to enter his lungs. Once this occurred, death quickly followed.

If the bones of a person on a cross were broken at the middle of the lower leg, it would be impossible to thrust the body upwards and draw a breath. Instead of death by crucifixion taking days, it could occur within minutes. When the Roman guards came to break the legs of the three men who were being crucified, they found that Jesus had already expired, and there was no need to break His legs.

Remember that in most cases, the legs of the condemned on the cross were not broken. Only during times of necessity, such as when there was an impending Sabbath that would begin soon. This was only done so that the condemned would die quickly and allow his body to be removed from the cross before the Sabbath began.

See the Chapter in this book: The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ for more details.

The fact that this event was predicted for the Messiah (as He fulfills the intent of the Passover Lamb), implies that the author of this prophecy knew His legs would not be broken. The writer possessed advanced knowledge that the Messiah would be put to death on the cross, along with the other criminals who were also being crucified. Even more amazing, the fact that the two criminals would have their legs broken, while those of the Messiah would be left intact. In about 90 percent of all crucifixions, the executioners did not break the legs of those on the cross.⁠1 The author of this prophecy knew that this crucifixion would occur just before the start of the Jewish Sabbath which would require the legs of the crucified to be broken, yet leaving the bones of the Messiah unbroken, in fulfillment of Exodus 12:46.

How is it possible to write in describing these specific details unless the writer had actually seen the events take place?

This is truly an incredible prediction if we give the proper amount of consideration for what is stated here. The manner in which Jesus perfectly fulfilled these words, when He was not able to control what happened, is stunning. Only someone from outside time, who could see events take place before they actually occurred on earth, could accurately tell us these fascinating details. A being who lives outside the constraints of time would have the opportunity to see any event which would happen here on earth, at any time.

Amazingly, this event fulfilled the prediction of this 24th  Old Testament Prophecy of the coming of the Savior: Not one bone of His body will be broken.

One of the stunning calling cards that undeniably identifies Jesus as being the promised Messiah and Savior of the world is the fact that when He was being crucified, they did not break His legs to hasten His death. Jesus was in complete control of the precise moment of His death. He said in advance that He had the power to lay His life down when He wanted to, and He had the power to take it back again in resurrection three days later.

John 10:17-18 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.”

Amongst all of the 365 Old Testament Prophecies that Jesus fulfilled, this is one of the most stunning and compelling, which proves beyond any doubt that the Messiah is Jesus Christ, and there is no other.


1 Koskenniemi, Erkki; Kirsi Nisula and Jorma Toppari (2005). “Wine Mixed with Myrrh (Mark 15.23) and Crurifragium (John 19.31-32): Two Details of the Passion Narratives”. Journal for the Study of the New Testament (SAGE Publications) 27 (4): 379–391. doi:10.1177/0142064X05055745. Retrieved 2008-06-13.



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