The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the sabbath day…
They must make ready for keeping holy the Sabbath while their hands are red with the murder of the Son of God. A stroke of that Jewish hypocrisy which strains at gnats and swallows camels similar to John 18:28. These men considered themselves strictly bound to observe every jot and tittle of an outward ordinance, but never scrupled to violate the most weighty precepts of the moral law. They made no conscience of murdering an innocent Person, and yet could not think of letting His dead body hang upon the cross upon the Sabbath day.
(W. H. Van Doren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
WEB: Therefore the Jews, because it was the Preparation Day, so that the bodies wouldn't remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special one), asked of Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.