Following Was Sent To Us Via Email And We Felt That It Was An
Appropriate Post For This Easter Season. It Was Condensed From “The
Crucifixion Of Jesus Christ”
By C. Truman Davis, M.S. March, 1965
MEDICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE CRUCIFIXION
and His Disciples went to the Garden
Of Gethsemane so
Jesus could pray.
The physical trauma of Christ
begins in the Garden Of Gethsemane with one of the initial aspects of
His suffering – the bloody sweat. It is interesting that the
physician of the group, St. Luke, is the only one to mention this.
22:44 (NASB) says “And
being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became
like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.
Though very rare, the
phenomenon of hemathidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented.
Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands
can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could
have produced marked weakness and possible shock.
After His arrest in the middle
of the night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin (the ruling
council) and Caiaphas, the High Priest. A soldier struck Jesus
across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas.
The palace guards then blindfolded Him and mockingly taunted Him to
identify them as they each passed by; they spat on Him and struck Him
in the face.
CONDEMNED TO CRUCIFIXION
In the early morning, Jesus,
battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless
night, was taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress
Antonia. It was there, in response to the cries of the mob, that
Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging
are carried out. The prisoner is stripped of His clothing and His
hands tied to a post above His head.
The Roman legionnaire steps
forward with the flagrum in his hand. This is a short whip
consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of
lead attached to the ends of each.
The heavy whip is brought down
with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back and
through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper
into 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
then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His
The Roman soldiers see a great joke in this provincial
Jew claiming to be a king. They throw a robe across His shoulders
and place a stick in His hand for a scepter.
A small bundle of
flexible branches covered with long thorns is pressed into His scalp. Again there is copious
bleeding (the scalp being one of the most vascular areas in the
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.
had already started sticking to the clots of blood and serum in the
wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a
surgical bandage, cause excruciating pain – almost as though He were
again being whipped, and the wounds again begin to bleed.
WALK TO CRUCIFIXION
then tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned
Christ, two thieves and the execution detail, begins its slow
The weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the
shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. He stumbles and
falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and
muscles of His shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have
been pushed beyond their endurance.
proceed with the crucifixion, selected a stalwart North African
onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross.
Jesus followed, still
bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock. The 650-yard
journey from the Fortress Antonia to Golgotha was finally completed.
The prisoner was again stripped of His clothing except for a loin
cloth which was allowed the Jews.
NAILS OF CRUCIFIXION
At Golgotha, the beam is
placed on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His
shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression
at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron
nail through the wrist and deep into the wood.
Quickly, he moves to the other
side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too
tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The beam is then
lifted in place at the top of the posts and a sign reading “Jesus
of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.
PAIN OF CRUCIFIXION
backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes
down, a nail is driven through the arch of each. As he pushes
Himself upward to avoid the stretching torment, He places His full
weight on the nail through His feet.
There is searing agony of the
nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones through
As Jesus slowly sagged down
with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain
shot along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain. The
nails in the wrists were putting pressure on the median nerve, large
nerve trunks which traverse the mid-wrist and hand.
As He pushed himself upward to
avoid this stretching torment, He placed His full weight on the nail
through His feet. Again there was searing agony as the nail tore
through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of this feet.
MEDICAL EFFECTS OF CRUCIFIXION
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
unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be
exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one
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.
cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial
asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back
as He moves up and down against the rough timber.
Then another agony
begins. A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium
slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.
The compressed heart is
struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues –
the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps
of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli
to the brain. Jesus gasps, “I thirst.”
could feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This
realization brought forth little more than a tortured whisper: “It
His mission of atonement had been completed. Finally, He could
allow His body to die. With one last surge of strength, He once again
pressed His torn feet against the nail, straightened His legs, took a
deeper breath, and uttered His last cry: “Father,
into Your hands I commit My spirit.”
common method of ending a crucifixion was by crurifracture, the
breaking of the bones of the leg. This prevented the victim from
pushing himself upward; the tension could not be relieved from the
muscles of the chest, and rapid suffocation occurred.
The legs of
the two thieves were broken, but when the soldiers approached Jesus,
they saw that this was not necessary.
Apparently, to make doubly
sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance between the ribs,
upward through the pericardium and into the heart.
19:34 (NASB) says “But
one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately
blood and water came out.”
there was an escape of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the
heart and the blood of the interior of the heart. This is rather
conclusive post-mortem evidence that Jesus
not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure
due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the
In these events, we have seen
a glimpse of the evil that man can exhibit toward his fellowman and
was not the end of the story. How grateful we can be that we have a
sequel: a glimpse of the infinite mercy of God toward man — the gift
of atonement, the miracle of the resurrection, and the expectation of
Jesus loved us so much that He was willing to suffer and die a
horrific death on the cross to pay the penalty due for our sins so
that you and I could have our sins forgiven, be saved and have
SALVATION SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
3:16 (NASB) says “For
God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
3:36 (NASB) says “He
who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey
the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
5:24 (NASB) says “Truly,
truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent
Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed
out of death into life.”
6:40 (NASB) says “For
this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and
believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him
up on the last day.”
John 5:11 (NASB) says
“And the testimony is
this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His
14:6 (NASB) says “Jesus
said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes
to the Father but through Me.”
10:8-10 (NASB) says “But
what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your
heart’—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if
you confess with your mouth Jesus as
Lord, and believe in your
heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with
the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the
mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
Gift Of Salvation Is Free!
To be saved, become an Adopted
Child Of God,
and have everlasting life, all we have to do is confess that we are a
sinner, ask God to forgive us, accept Jesus
our personal savior and make Him Lord of our life. We encourage you
not to wait – do this today!
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