The Jews had to be “done” with this crucifixion before evening so that they could observe the Sabbath on time. The Romans would often leave the bodies of those crucified exposed for some time, to serve as a warning to all. But in this case, the Jews wanted the men to die more quickly than normal so that their bodies could be taken down (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).
The Romans had a procedure for this. They would use a large hammer to crush the victims’ legs, making it impossible for those crucified to push up in order to facilitate the breathing process. Once their leg bones were broken, the victims would die within a short time. But when they came to Jesus, it was apparent that He was already dead. There was no need to break His legs.
Once again, the things which were taking place were the very things God had prophesied. Everything was truly going according to God’s plan, and in spite of the Jews’ request. Perhaps at a whim, one soldier thrusts his spear into the Savior’s side. The result is that two prophecies are fulfilled in one stroke. The legs of Jesus, the Lamb of God (John 1:29), are not broken (Exodus 12:46 / Numbers 9:12 / Psalm 34:20), and the side of Jesus is pierced (Zechariah 12:10).
Jesus was a real human, not some type of ghost (1 John 4:2, 5:6). He did not just “swoon” that day. He really died that day. But even in death, our Lord perfectly fulfilled the Scriptures.