How Did John Know that None of Jesus’ Bones were Broken?

Image result for image of not one bone will be broken

These things occurred so that the scripture might be fulfilled, “None of his bones shall be broken.”

–John 19:36


How did the author of the Gospel of John know that none of Jesus’ bones were broken during his beatings and his crucifixion?  Did he perform an autopsy?  Did he do X-rays of Jesus’ allegedly resurrected body?  And while we are asking questions, why didn’t the authors of Mark, Matthew, or Luke mention the fact that the Jews asked Pilate to break the legs of Jesus and the two thieves; that the soldiers did break the legs of the two thieves, but when they came to Jesus, he was already dead?

This important detail did not fit their “themes“???

And what was the purpose of piercing Jesus’ side with a spear?  If they wanted to make sure that Jesus was dead, they should have obeyed Pilate’s original order and have broken his legs!  If Pilate ordered all the men’s legs broken, would Roman soldiers really have disobeyed his order and decide, on their own, to hasten Jesus’ death with a different method:  a stab in the side with a spear???










End of post.

12 thoughts on “How Did John Know that None of Jesus’ Bones were Broken?

  1. just because you have questions doesn’t mean a thing, one way or the other, about the story or about it’s truthfulness.

    Why is it that so many of you skeptic guys think that simply because you post a rhetorical question, that you have somehow made some kind of point? All it shows its (a) you’ve got a question and (b) you haven’t tried in the slightest to find the answer out for yourself. If you had found the answer – whatever it might be – you’d be posting that. But, you settle for the question, as if that is supposed to mean something…

    lame… It’s an eternally lame approach…


  2. Seems reasonable enough to me. But as you don’t like questions (because you don’t know the answers), here’s some statements for you:

    Jesus’ legs don’t get broken in John but the synoptic gospels don’t think this important enough to mention. This is because John is inventing details that allow him to portray Jesus as the sacrificial lamb, which, according to Jewish law should not have its bones broken (because this is, like, so important to God). John even moves the day of the crucifxion, to Thursday, to emphasise the analogy. That’s right; he’s making stuff up as he goes along.


    1. Exactly, Neil. If you read John’s account, the soldiers go to one thief on one side of Jesus and break his legs, they then skip Jesus and go to the other thief on the other side of Jesus and break his legs, and finally they come back to the guy in the middle and decide he is already dead, but just to be sure, they shove a spear into his side “to fulfill scripture”. Are we really to believe that the centurion disobeyed Pilate’s order to break the legs of all of them and instead substituted his own means to make sure Jesus was dead???

      What a bunch a baloney. Can’t Christians see that this is literary fiction. John is creating a great story. He is building suspense. But this is not history.


    2. Neil –

      I gotta hear this: How do you figure John moved the day of crucifixion to a Thursday?

      Tell me all the details. i’m really curious as to what you’ve uncovered in your great travails of biblical scholarship.


  3. It doesn’t need any great scholarship, ft, it’s right there in the gospel accounts. In the synoptics, Jesus is crucified after eating the Passover meal (Mark 14.14). In John, however, he is crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover meal (19.14) – i.e. the day before. John makes this shift so that Jesus can be killed the same day that the Paschal lambs are slaughtered, to highlight his idea that Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb of God. (John may also move the crucifixion back a day so that Jesus is in the tomb for the three days and nights he’s made to predict; in the synoptics he’s buried for only 36 hours, nowhere near the three days and nights he promised.)

    You could always try reading this for yourself.


    1. Evidently, Neil, you are totally unaware that in the Second Temple period, the celebration of the Passover changed.

      Whereas before the celebration became Temple-centric, the Passover lambs were sacrificed in the twilight between the 13th and the 14th of Nisan, and the Passover supper was in the beginning of the 14th (in the hours of darkness). But, when the celebration became Temple-centric, they did the sacrifices during the daylight hours of the 14th, and had the Passover supper in the beginning hours of the 15th, thus making the Passover supper fall on the same day as the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (and, shortening the number of days of feast from 8 to 7). And, it is known and documented that at the time of Jesus, both celebrations – the “home celebration” with the sacrifice of the lamb at the beginning of Nisan 14, and the Temple celebration with the sacrifice in the last hours of the 14th – were happening synonymously.

      In the synoptics, Jesus is celebrating the traditional “home celebration”, with the sacrifice happening in the twilight leading into the 14th. John is referring to the Temple celebration in which the sacrificing of the lambs would start a “the ninth hour” (3:00pm) in the Temple.


      1. Except for a few fundamentalist scholars, scholars reject this idea as nonsense. The accounts are irreconcilable—according to the experts. You are not an expert.


        1. yes, the accounts are irreconcilable. Absolutely. But, that’s because the Synoptics and John are talking about two different Passover celebrations.

          But I seriously doubt the majority of “experts” disagree. I suspect that the majority of them are clueless. Certainly Brown and Ehrman fall into that category. You talk to experts who deal with OT historical matters, and they’ll tell you quite a different story.

          Heck, Gary, I’ve already posted numerous points on this from Jewish sources. It’s widely known that the celebration of Passover changed by the Second Temple period. It’s well-documented that at one time, the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread were two distinctly different celebrations, back to back, which lasted eight days. But, by the Second Temple period – especially in terms of the Temple itself – this had become a seven day celebration known simply as “the week of the Passsover”.

          Modern-day Samaritans still hold the Passover celebration in the “old” way:

          “As the sun set on Tuesday, Ben Asher led his community in a prayer service on their holy Mount Gerizim, which is where they believe God instructed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac…. Then a cheer was raised and the community’s butchers simultaneously slit the throats of the sheep….

          The origins of the community are shrouded in mystery, according to Abraham Tal, a retired professor of Hebrew language at Tel Aviv University who is an expert in Samaritan Aramaic. “Many scholars believe they are a sect that diverged from Judaism around the time of the Second Temple…”

          (from an article on Haaretz)

          It’s probably not such a great mystery that the Samaritans diverged from “normative” Judaism around the 2nd Temple period: even things as fundamental as the Passover were being changed with the onset of Pharisiac influence.

          So, seriously, I couldn’t give a rip what your select bunch of so-called “experts” have to say.
          In short, I really don’t consider your “fave experts” as being anyone of real import to me.


  4. How do you know the snoptics and John are talking about two different Passovers, ft? You’re not, as Gary has pointed out, an expert in any of this. You disparage many who are and dismiss their conclusions when you don’t like them. I guess what we’re dealing with here is ‘only I, ftbond, am right.’ Really? On the basis of what evidence?

    As Gary says the synoptics and John’s gospel are irreconcilable. The former say Jesus celebrated the Passover at what we now know as the Last Supper (on our Thursday evening, or ‘twilight’ as you call it), John says he didn’t; his account of the Last Supper is evidently not a Passover meal. John prefaces his account with Jesus and the disciples gathering ‘before the Feast of the Passover’. Although John’s version, with all its foot washing malarky, is intended to be the same event as the synoptics (note Judas leaving to inform on Jesus) it does not take place on the Thursday as the synoptics’ versions do. In John’s timeline, Jesus is already dead by then.

    It’s immaterial how many Passovers you want to add to your defense of these stories, ft, irrelvant whether evening meant ‘twilight’ back then, or bedtime, or four in the afternoon; the events simply will not fit the time frames implied by the synoptic gospels. It’s as if the later writer of John’s gospel realised this so moved events back a day – no problem then for Joe of A to deal with the body before, during or after ‘twilight’.


    1. Neil –

      re: “As Gary says the synoptics and John’s gospel are irreconcilable. ”

      And, as I’VE said, they are irreconcilable. BUT, not for the reasons usually doled out, like “John moved the date of the Passover” (or whatever) – which BTW, is far more wildly speculative than the reasons I’ve given.

      The former say Jesus celebrated the Passover at what we now know as the Last Supper (on our Thursday evening, or ‘twilight’ as you call it), John says he didn’t; his account of the Last Supper is evidently not a Passover meal.

      I disagree entirely.

      The synoptics say this: ” Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?” ”

      This is a mistranslation from the Greek. In the Greek, it says “on the first of the unleaveneds” — this is a reference to the Passover itself – which is, of course, eaten with unleavened bread. But, it is NOT a part of “The Feast of Unleavened Bread”

      King Darius II wrote, in 418 BC, “Now, do you count [fourteen days in Nisan and on the 14th at twilight observe the Passover] and from the 15th day until the 21st day of [Nisan the festival of Unleavened Bread observe. Seven days eat unleavened bread. Now,] be pure and take heed.

      You see here that there are eight days – starting the 14th at twilight, then the 15th through the 21st (which were the days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread).

      During the 2nd Temple period, that was changed, so from then (even until now), there is only seven days. Why? Because the sacrifice was moved from twilight leading into the 14th to 3:00pm on the 14th. The Pharisees simply “re-interpreted” the instructions in Genesis, which say the lamb is to be slaughtered “between the two eves”. Originally, that was taken to mean the twilight leading into the 14th, but, their re-interpretation changed it to mean “between twilight leading into the 14th and the twilight leading into the 15th”, thus, giving themselves all the daylight hours of the 14th to sacrifice lambs at the Temple. And – this had the effect of putting the eating of the Passover lamb on the same day as the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

      What Darius II wrote – before the 2nd Temple period – confirms it.

      But, I’m not going to make my whole case again. I’ve already provided considerable documentation to prove this point. Jesus and his disciples had a typical “home” celebration (just as the Samaritans still do to this day), sacrificing the lamb at twilight leading into the 14th, then sharing the Passover meal after dark, on the 14th.

      John, on the other hand, is using “Temple reckoning”. The meal that Jesus shared with his disciples was exactly the meal I described above – and – that puts Jesus arrest later on the 14th (in the dark hours). And, it puts Jesus’ death at about 3:00pm in the daylight hours of the 14th – right when the sacrifices at the Temple began.

      John, going by Temple reckoning, is entirely correct when he says Jesus and his disciples gathered “before the feast of the Passover”. John, using Temple reckoning, knows that the feast of Passover (according to the Temple celebration) would be the next night – that is, after the twilight leading into the 15th.

      John is not making some kind of argument for or against the “dating” of the Passover – he is simply accepting the Temple-centric version. But, the Synoptics simply accept the “home celebration” version. For the Synoptics, that means the Passover meal was done shortly after twilight leading into the 14th. For John, it means the Passover meal was done shortly after twilight leading into the 15th. Thus, for John, who recognized the Temple-centric version, refers to Jesus’ gathering simply as “supper”, while the Synoptics clearly consider it the Passover feast.

      Bottom line: John and the Synoptics are talking about DIFFERENT CELEBRATIONS. And, I’ve already provided evidence (elsewhere in this thread) that it is known that during the first century, the Temple-centric version of the Passover was not universally accepted. Many still held to the “original” version (such as Jesus did).

      But unless YOU are willing to go and research this yourself, there’s no “educating” you. There’s no point at all in having this discussion with you unless you are willing to start looking at actual, historical documentation regarding the practice of Passover, and how it changed.

      But, even the venerable Jewish Encyclopedia acknowledges that the practice changed at the 2nd Temple period. It’s a known fact.

      It just doesn’t suit your purposes to look at actual history. So, there’s no point in discussing this further.


  5. Agreed. Both Gary and I are examining what the bible actually says. If it says stuff that is incompatible with history, traditon and temple practices (as you understand them) then your beef is with the bible not with us.

    I’m posting an article today on my own blog,, about John’s distorted timeline leading up to the crucifixion. I mention in it your contorted and unsuccessful attempts to harmonise chronologies that can’t be harmonised. Despite you protestations to the contrary, this is precisely what you’re trying to do.


    1. Neil –

      I don’t know where you get the idea that I’m trying to “harmonize chronologies that can’t be haromonized”. I’ve said, in plain English that the Synoptics and John are not reconcilable (in regards to the Passover).

      Do I need to say it again? They’re not reconcilable. Irreconcilable. They don’t fit together. They don’t work together.

      But, it’s because the Synoptics and John are talking about two different celebrations.

      This is all documented. The information is all out there, and I’ve presented some of it in this blog. But, there is no doubt, historically, that the celebration of the Passover changed in the 2nd Temple period. And, there is no doubt that the change in the celebration was not universally assimilated throughout Judea.

      So, I have NO IDEA of how you can accuse me of “contorted and unsuccessful attempts to harmonise chronologies that can’t be harmonised”, when I have said repeatedly that they most certainly can NOT be harmonized.

      I can only conclude that you don’t read very well.

      And, I can only imagine that you don’t write very well either, so I would imagine I’ll skip reading whatever it is you post on your website. But, that shouldn’t be a problem for you. Most people out there in the world skip what you write, every day.


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