John vs. Leviticus

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 at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” (John 19:33-36)

John is referring to a sacrificial lamb, that it is to be presented to the Lord without blemish or broken bones. Jesus fulfills this requirement as the Lamb of God by having his legs stay intact after He was slain.

I recently read in the book of Leviticus: “You shall not offer to the Lord what is bruised or crushed, or torn or cut. (22:24)” In light of John’s gospel, isn’t that a contradiction?! Jesus was whipped and beaten prior to His crucifixion, bruised and cut. Doesn’t it make Jesus’s sacrifice illegitimate by the standards of the Law?


Good point but how you would explain:

Who has believed our message,
and to whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed?
2 For he went up like a shoot before him,
and like a root from dry ground.
He had no form and no majesty that we should see him,
and no appearance that we should take pleasure in him.
3 He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of suffering, and acquainted with sickness,
and like ⌊one from whom others hide their faces⌋, he was despised,
and we did not hold him in high regard. (Is 53:1–3)


When you read a few verses above it you see the context. This passage is talking about a free will offering, vow offerings, and not giving diseased/abused animals to be sacrificed.

21 When a man presents a peace offering to the LORD from the herd or flock to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering, it must be without blemish or defect to be acceptable. 22 You are not to present to the LORD any animal that is blind, injured, or maimed, or anything with a running sore, festering rash, or scab; you must not put any of these on the altar as an offering made by fire to the LORD.

23 You may present as a freewill offering an ox or sheep that has a deformed or stunted limb, but it is not acceptable in fulfillment of a vow. 24 You are not to present to the LORD an animal whose testicles are bruised, crushed, torn, or cut; you are not to sacrifice them in your land.

As I look at different translations of this verse a lot of them say the testicle of an animal and when you read commentaries on it it’s said that God was prohibiting the emasculation of animals.

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers

(24) That which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut.—These four terms express the four ways which the ancients used to emasculate animals.

Neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land.—Better, and this shall ye not do in your land; that is, not only are animals thus mutilated prohibited as offerings for the altar, but this practice of gelding is altogether forbidden to the Israelites with regard to any animal whatsoever throughout the country. This law is binding upon the orthodox Jews to this day, and the question has recently been discussed by some of their spiritual guides, since it seriously affects those of their community who are engaged in farming land.

I don’t believe Jesus was emasculated in this way during his way to be crucified. You also have to consider that God didn’t want animals were damaged prior to sacrifice. Jesus wasn’t damaged prior to his process of sacrifice in my eyes because from the moment he was arrested to the moment he died that entire process was his sacrifice. And everything he went through was symbolic in one way or another. Just my thoughts on it, but I’m sure others more knowledgeable will answer as well.

God Bless :blush:


Hi @aschwartzman7,

That was really good observation. I never thought to make the connection the way you did.

As @Jimmy_Sellers accurately pointed out, the lamb of God is to suffer at the hands of men.

I would add to the fact that the unblemished lamb is to symbolize a man without sin. The parallel to an actual lamb can only go so far, since they don’t have spirit like humans do. So this is alluding to the spiritual condition(as opposed to the physical) of the Lamb of God.

As the man who sanctioned the execution, Pontius Pilate declared Jesus not guilty after being cross-examined. (John 19:4, 6).

Peter, being one of His core disciples, said in 1 Pet 2:22 that Jesus committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth. That’s a tall order coming from someone who hung out closely with Jesus for most of His 3,5 ministry years. (See Isaiah 53:9)

And 2 Cor 5:20 says it further:
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

That’s what in essence an unblemished sacrificial lamb is supposed to achieve. That’s how they are supposed to take away sin on our behalf. But the Levitical sacrifice system has to be done annually, as a precursor to the one who is going to do it once and for all, for good!

Hope I’m making sense here.


Hi Arthur, I am in no way a scholar of the Levitical sacrifices and feasts, etc… However, in researching the answer to your question, it occurred to me that there is a difference between Jesus’ death on the cross and the other sacrifices that were offered. Jesus is referred to as our Passover Lamb. He met the qualifications, then, for the Passover, including the day and month of His presentation in the temple and His death. (10 and 14 Nisan, at 3 pm.) At Passover, no other animal than a lamb could be presented, and it had to be without defect.
The passage that you refer to in Leviticus 22:24, refers to burnt offerings which allowed other animals and grains. While Jesus was the fulfillment of all the laws referring to the sacrifices, Passover was the ultimate sacrifice that was a mandatory observance of all the people, not a voluntary burnt offering of those wishing to make a sacrifice or gift. Romans 6:10 states, “The death he died, he died to sin once for all…” I agree with Luna that from the moment the process started on 10 Nisan until his death at 3 pm. 14 Nisan, he met the requirements, as well as fulfilling the Isaiah 53:1-3 passage, as was quoted earlier. Hope this helps. Great question.

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