Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. – John 19:34
Of the many subjects that demand a reverence and solemnity when thinking of, is the spear that pierced the side of our Lord. Some modern Churches and writers scantily speak of the signifigance of the wounds of Christ and steps leading up to His death. We look at it as a whole and think that what matters is the end goal or sum. Yet if we are to be appreciative of the gift of salvation through the death of Christ we would then look back and sit in awe and respect for all He suffered for us. Throughout Church history there has been an admiration and worship of the wounds of Christ, seeing the great significance and wonder of them. That the Son of God, God in the flesh had to suffer in such ways not only baffles the mind but causes wonder and amazement in the angels themselves (1 Peter 1:12). Have you ever sat back and considered quietly the wounds of our Lord? The Pain of the Saviour? The anguish of the crown of Thorns?
The entire history of humanity hings on the crucifixion of our Lord. He has truly made all things new. Bringing life from death. Immortality from mortality. Eternal life from His pierced side. God was reconciling the world to Himself through the battered Son of God. Eternity will only tell and reveal to our finite minds the awesome reality of what was done. Many early believers saw great meaning in the side wound of Jesus incurred while on the cross. The soldier using a lance to pierce the side of our Lord who had already died and out came blood and water. St. John Chrysostom says, “Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam.” He also goes on to say: “Hence the Mysteries take their beginning; that when you approach to that awful cup, you may so approach, as drinking from the very side.”
It was conclusive from many leaders in the Church that the water that flowed symbolized water baptism (Roman. 6:4, Colossians 2:12) and the blood that flowed Holy Communion (1 Corinthians 10:16). John the Apostle who witnessed these things also wrote of this event again sheding light on its true meaning that Jesus Christ came bringing life through water and blood and they testify to a lost world of God’s intention (1 John 5:6-8). Our Lord speaks to this when he said of the: “blood of the covenant, which is poured out” (Matthew 26:27-28).
Origen wrote: “From the wound in Christ’s side has come forth the Church, and He has made her His Bride.”
Tertulllian wrote: “That they who believe in His blood might be bathed with the water.”
Augustine wrote: “There it was that the gate of life was opened.”
The Church is born out of the wounded side of Jesus. In many celebrations of the Lord’s Supper in the first centuries of the Church, water and wine were mixed in the communion as reminder to what occurred on the cross. When looking at artwork in the Church we see this continual picture of the chalice or cup below a Lamb or figure of Christ collecting the outflow of the precious blood. It is a humbling fact that we as a body of believers come out of the very side of Jesus, as the Bible also says in many places we are “In Christ” or a part of Him, His very body.
Lord, Before Thy Cross we bow down, O Master, and Thy holy Resurrection, we glorify. By your wounds we are healed and through your wound we have recieved life in baptism. Give me a deeper sense of the holy and your passion as we seek to walk with you in this world. Amen.