19:35 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.”
John is speaking of himself. He was the one there at the cross. He is the one Jesus asked to care for His mother. He is the one often referred to as the disciple Jesus loved. John was younger than the others which is perhaps why he had a uniquely close relationship with Jesus. None of this is ever overtly stated because John does not want to draw attention to himself. His goal is to draw attention to Jesus alone. The closest he ever comes to putting himself in the spotlight is right here and again his only purpose is to reinforce the truthfulness of his account of Jesus' life and death. Nothing he is saying is hearsay. He is not reporting based on interviews or gathered information. He was right there. He saw and heard the soldiers break the legs of the other two. He saw the spear pierce the side of Jesus and blood and water pour out. Again water can wash and expose what is, but only blood can alter what is into something else because the life is in the blood.
Atheism and skepticism is growing in popularity. More and more people see religion as fanciful stories with no basis in fact. Few take the time to study and discover how connected the Story is. Few realize how strong the witness list is.
For example when you break down the genealogies in the Old Testament you begin to discover some amazing overlaps. Methuselah is the longest living human at 969 years. He was the grandfather of Noah and died the same year as the flood occurred. His name means 'death/sent'. Methuselah lived at the same time as Adam. Their lives overlapped by centuries. Methuselah did not have to take the "story" of Adam and Eve by faith. He could talk to them. His grandson Noah was told by God that a flood was coming that would destroy the entire earth. We also know the Garden of Eden was still on the earth so Noah's grandfather who lived with him right up until his 'death' when the flood was 'sent'. This means Noah could speak with his grandfather who spoke with Adam. Noah could visit the Garden of Eden even though he couldn't enter. Noah had a direct connection to the very beginning of the Story. He had three sons. One of them was Shem and he was revealed as the one through whom the Seed (Jesus) would come. Shem of course helped build the ark and survived the flood that was 'sent' after the 'death' of Methuselah. So Shem could also talk to Methuselah and he experienced the flood and the rebuilding of civilization after the flood. He lived 500 years after the flood. 200 years before his death the most significant religious patriarch was born, a figure commonly shared by Jews, Muslims, and Christians. That man was Abraham. Abraham as a young man still in Ur until he was 75 years old could walk and talk with Shem who walked and talked with Methuselah who walked and talked with Adam. All these men were prophesied as being ancestors of the Seed who would bless all the nations.
John wants us to know He is a direct eye witness of this Seed - the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the entire world.
We live in a world where there are holocaust deniers yet there are still eye witnesses among us who survived the death camps. People have the right and the freedom to believe whatever they want.
If you weren't there it's best to consider eye witness accounts.
Wouldn't it be amazing if this dusty old Book called the Bible had predicted 2000 years in advance the rise of skepticism at the end of time?
2 Peter 3:1 Beloved, I now write to you this second letter (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), 2 that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, 3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men..."
Eye witnesses are important...