In the 5th chapter of John’s 1st epistle, John makes a very interesting statement about Jesus coming by blood and water. We read, “this is He who came by water and blood- Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth” (v. 6 NKJV). This is a very significant verse filled with some profound theological concepts. First the word “came” here is showing that the Messiah’s first coming was a definite fact of history. In the first advent of the Son of God Jesus embraced all of human nature and yet He did so without its sin component. This was the purpose of the virgin birth. Certainly Jesus didn’t come into the world by ordinary means. The passage then refers to water and blood which is probably referencing His physical birth. But I also believe there is something else that John has in view that goes beyond Jesus’ physical birth.
To fully understand the true significance of John’s use of “water and blood” in verse 6 we must turn back to John’s gospel and the scene at the cross. Remember in the 19th chapter of John’s gospel John the apostle is standing with Mary (Jesus’ mother) at the foot of the cross. Jesus entrusts John at this point with the care of His aging mother and gives to His sonship to John to comfort Mary’s grieving heart. Then we read in verse 33, “33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 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. 36 For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, “Not one of His bones shall be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” (v.33-37 NKJV). John in this passage points at the fact that Jesus was pierced in His side and blood and water came forth. John testifies to us as an actual eyewitness. He’s testifying to his personal experience at the cross. The amazing thing is that John is really describing for us how Jesus actually died.
You see dead people don’t bleed, but when Jesus was pierced water and blood came out from His side. Here’s what biblical scholars believe about the “water and blood”- when a person was crucified they ultimately died from suffocation. When they can no longer hold themselves up on the cross, their body weight raises on their diaphragm and they either die of suffocation or their heart bursts from working so hard. Jesus died of a broken heart and when His heart burst His lungs filled up with blood and water which do not mix. This also corresponds perfectly with the 22nd Psalm which is a very graphic description of the cross 1000 years before the event. Notice what David says in verse 14, “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me”, (NKJV). John is describing the atoning blood of our Savior being poured out as our Passover Lamb. The blood represents Jesus’ life and in giving His blood He gave His life for us.
This blood and water made such an impression on John at the cross that years later when he’s writing his 1st epistle he refers to it as part of God’s redeeming work on our behalf. Notice again what John says about the Holy Spirit when he writes, “it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth” (v.6b NKJV). John’s already mentioned in John 19 that he was telling the truth, now he tells us the Spirit is bearing witness to the truth. These things are in agreement of the atoning work of Jesus Christ. The “water and the blood” testify that Jesus is the true effectual Savior of the world and speaks of the means by which he would heal and save us. The question is-“have you applied that “blood” personally to your life?” The answer to that question will indeed determine your eternal destination!
Pastor Rich Sivo