This article will give some graphic details provided by some medical scholars of what Jesus went through and suffered so that we might be saved from our sins and have eternal life.
The First Trauma of Jesus on the Cross
The night Jesus was arrested He was brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiphus, the High Priest; it is here that the first physical trauma was inflicted. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiphus. The palace guards then blind-folded Him and mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by, spat upon Him, and struck Him in the face.
In the early morning, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, Jesus is taken across the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia, the seat of government of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. You are, of course, familiar with Pilate's action in attempting to pass responsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea. Jesus apparently suffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate. It was in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.
Preparation for Scourging
Preparations for the scourging were carried out when the Jesus was stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head.
A flagrum (or flagellum) was used to whip or scourge Jesus. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus' shoulders, back, and legs. At first the thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles.
The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally stopped.
The half-fainting Jesus is then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own blood. The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a scepter. They still need a crown to make their travesty complete. Flexible branches covered with long thorns (commonly used in bundles for firewood) are plaited into the shape of a crown and this is pressed into His scalp. Again there is copious bleeding, the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body.
After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tire of their sadistic sport and the robe is torn from His back. Already having adhered to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, its removal causes excruciating pain just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, almost as though He were again being whipped the wounds and once more begin to bleed.
Jesus On The Cross
When the cross bar of the cross is placed on Jesus’ shoulders, cutting even deeper into His already torn flesh and muscle, Jesus is unable to carry the cross.
Upon reaching Golgotha, a nail is driven through the depression at the front of each of Jesus wrists; it is a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail.
Then the left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed.
Jesus on the cross is now crucified.
The Reality and Impact of Jesus on the Cross
At this point, as the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by his arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled.
Jesus on the cross fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath.
Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, he is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen. It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered His last seven short sentences recorded before His death.
The Last Words of Jesus On The Cross
Jesus’ fifth words were “I thirst.”
A sponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine which is the staple drink of the Roman legionaries, is lifted to His lips. He apparently doesn't take any of the liquid.
The body of Jesus on the cross is now in extremes, and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brings out His sixth words, possibly little more than a tortured whisper, "It is finished."
His mission of atonement has completed. Finally He can allow his body to die.
With one last surge of strength, Jesus on the cross once again presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry, "Father! Into thy hands I commit my spirit."
It is finished, Jesus on the cross dies.
What were some of the physiological effects of Jesus on the cross?
· Severe dehydration due to blood loss.
· Orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure).
· Muscle tremors and sever muscle contractions and pain.
Nailing the Hands of Jesus on the cross
· Paralysis of Median Nerve.
· Unimaginable pain at first, then paralysis and numbness.
Nailing the Feet of Jesus on the cross
· Paralysis of deep peroneal nerve of the feet.
Respiratory effects of Jesus on the cross
· Inability to exhale fully.
· Hypercarbia (increased carbon dioxide).
· Muscle tetany creates a viscous circle. To properly exhale required lifting the body. Each respiratory effort required so much muscular effort that muscle fatigue would cause the victim to die by asphyxia.
Cause of death of Jesus on the cross
· The primary cause of death by crucifixion is asphyxiation. That is, the victim slowly suffocates until dead.
· Other contributing factors:
· Hypovolemic shock
· Stress induced arrhythmias
· Congestive heart failure
· Pericardial and pleural effusions
· Cardiac rupture.
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