April 8, 2017
As Easter is nearly upon us let’s focus on Jesus’ Trial and Crucifixion. What do the following tell us about all Jesus went through? Acts 2:23, John 3:16, 12:31-33, 18:4.
What was Jesus’ focus and motivation for all He did? John 4:31-34, 8:28-29, Matt. 26:38-39, John 18:10-11.
What could Jesus had done at any time? Matt. 26:52-54.
Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” John 18:38. What did Jesus say about the truth and why He came? John 18:37. Read also John 14:6, 1:14. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” NIV
The Following is an a medical description of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
After you have read the article share in your group what new things you learned and discuss what it says Jesus was prepared to go through because of His love for all people.
This may disturb you, so don’t read it if you don’t want to; it’s pretty horrific.
The physical trauma of Christ begins in 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. He says, “And being in agony, He prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling 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 the 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.
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 and crucifixion.
Preparations for the 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 fill force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back and legs.
At first the heavy thongs cut 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 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 a king. They throw a robe across His shoulders and place a stick in His hand for a sceptre. 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 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. This had already become adherent to the colts 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.
The heavy beam of the cross is then tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves and the execution detail, begins its slow journey, 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 the shoulders. He tries to rise, but human muscles have been pushed beyond their endurance.
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 inot 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 the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” is nailed in place.
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. As he pushes Himself upward to avoid the stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones through the feet.
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 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 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.
Hours of this limitless pain, 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.”
He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. With one last surge of strength, He 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.”
Apparently to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. Immediately there came out blood and water. We, therefore, have rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Out Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.”
Condensed from “The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ” by C. Truman Davis, M.S. March, 1965 *
Read and discuss the seven sayings of Jesus on the cross. Keeping in mind the extreme suffering Jesus was experiencing discuss where His focus was for the first three and what this tells us.
“When air is so precious, and each breath so painfully won, He still uses that breath to communicate with people who are near.
The first sentence, looking down at the Roman soldiers throwing dice for His seamless garment, is “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” In my mind, this is one of the most remarkable statements in all of Scripture.
The second statement, to the penitent thief, is “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”
The third, looking down at the terrified, grief-stricken John (the beloved apostle), He says, “Behold, your mother,” and looking at Mary, “Woman, behold your son.” He was telling them to take care of each other.
The fourth cry is from the beginning of Psalm 22, and shows that not only was Jesus experiencing great physical torment, but was also undergoing intense spiritual pain. He says, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting cramps, and intermittent partial asphyxiation, eventually lead to another type of pain. He begins to experience a deep, crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum, and begins to compress the heart. This did not happen to all victims of crucifixion, but was known to occur. In the case of Jesus, it sped up His death. The loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level, the compressed heart is struggling to pump thick, heavy blood into the tissues, and the tortured lungs make a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain.
Jesus gasps His fifth cry, “I thirst.” In response, a sponge soaked in Poska, the cheap, sour wine which is the staple drink of the Roman legionnaires, is lifted to His lips. Since this was different from the drugged wine He had been offered earlier (Mark 15:23), He did drink some of this (John 19:29-30). The body is now in extremis, and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brings out His sixth saying, possibly little more than a tortured whisper, “It is finished.”
His mission of atonement is nearly complete. Finally, He can allow His body to die. With one last surge of strength, He presses His torn feet against the nail, straightens His legs, looks into heaven, and utters His seventh and last cry, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” #
As you experience Easter this year how much time will you meditate on the price Jesus paid to provide the gift of salvation for you?
Will you be open and willing to share with others who don’t know about or haven’t accepted God’s free gift through Christ?
Finish by giving thanks to God for all He has done through Jesus and pray for unsaved family, friends, neighbors, work colleagues, etc.