THE WEIGHT OF SIN ON THE CROSS [THE WAY OF SALVATION]
THE BLOOD WALK #7
Scriptures: There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them. And Pilate posted a sign on the cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” John 19:18-19 New Living Translation (NLT)
Observations: THE AGONY OF THE CROSS [PART 2] Metherell continued: “At this point Jesus was hoisted as the crossbar was attached to the vertical stake, and then nails were driven through Jesus’ feet. Again, the nerves in his feet would have been crushed, and there would have been a similar type of pain.” Crushed and severed nerves were certainly bad enough, but I needed to know about the effect that hanging from the cross would have had on Jesus. “What stresses would this have put on his body?” Metherell answered, “First of all, his arms would have immediately been stretched, probably about six inches in length, and both shoulders would have become dislocated—you can determine this with simple mathematical equations. “This fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy in Psalm 22, which foretold the crucifixion hundreds of years before it took place and says, ‘My bones are out of joint.’”
THE CAUSE OF DEATH Metherell had made his point—graphically—about the pain endured as the crucifixion process began. But I needed to get to what finally claims the life of a crucifixion victim, because that’s the pivotal issue in determining whether death can be faked or eluded. So I put the cause-of-death question directly to Metherell. “Once a person is hanging in the vertical position,” he replied, “crucifixion is essentially an agonizingly slow death by asphyxiation. “The reason is that the stresses on the muscles and diaphragm put the chest into the inhaled position; basically, in order to exhale, the individual must push up on his feet so the tension on the muscles would be eased for a moment. In doing so, the nail would tear through the foot, eventually locking up against the tarsal bones. “After managing to exhale, the person would then be able to relax down and take another breath in. Again he’d have to push himself up to exhale, scraping his bloodied back against the coarse wood of the cross. This would go on and on until complete exhaustion would take over, and the person wouldn’t be able to push up and breathe anymore. “As the person slows down his breathing, he goes into what is called respiratory acidosis—the carbon dioxide in the blood is dissolved as carbonic acid, causing the acidity of the blood to increase.
This eventually leads to an irregular heartbeat. In fact, with his heart beating erratically, Jesus would have known that he was at the moment of death, which is when he was able to say, ‘Lord, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ And then he died of cardiac arrest. It was the clearest explanation I had ever heard of death by crucifixion—but Metherell wasn’t done. “Even before he died—and this is important too—the hypovolemic shock would have caused a sustained rapid heart rate that would have contributed to heart failure, resulting in the collection of fluid in the membrane around the heart, called a pericardial effusion, as well as around the lungs, which is called a pleural effusion.” “Why is that significant?” “Because of what happened when the Roman soldier came around and, being fairly certain that Jesus was dead, confirmed it by thrusting a spear into his right side. It was probably his right side; that’s not certain, but from the description it was probably the right side, between the ribs. “The spear apparently went through the right lung and into the heart, so when the spear was pulled out, some fluid—the pericardial effusion and the pleural effusion— came out.
This would have the appearance of a clear fluid, like water, followed by a large volume of blood, as the eyewitness John described in his gospel.” John probably had no idea why he saw both blood and a clear fluid come out—certainly that’s not what an untrained person like him would have anticipated. Yet John’s description is consistent with what modern medicine would expect to have happened. At first this would seem to give credibility to John being an eyewitness; however, there seemed to be one big flaw in all this. I pulled out my Bible and flipped to John 19:34. “Wait a minute, Doc,” I protested. “When you carefully read what John said, he saw ‘blood and water’ come out; he intentionally put the words in that order. But according to you, the clear fluid would have come out first. So there’s a significant discrepancy here.” Metherell smiled slightly. “I’m not a Greek scholar,” he replied, “but according to people who are, the order of words in ancient Greek was determined not necessarily by sequence but by prominence. This means that since there was a lot more blood than water, it would have made sense for John to mention the blood first.” I conceded the point but made a mental note to confirm it myself later. “At this juncture,” I said, “what would Jesus’ condition have been?” Metherell’s gaze locked with mine. He replied with authority, “There was absolutely no doubt that Jesus was dead.” [THE CASE FOR EASTER, Lee Strobel].
Application: Read the words of the song below, meditate upon them and thank God for all He did for us in Christ Jesus.
When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most I sacrifice them to His blood. See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown? Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.
Prayer: As you feel you need to!