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The Physical Death of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Dr. Mark I. Kaldas. P URPOSE. Examine the physical pains that our Lord endured on our behalf: Medically Scientifically Historical Review: The practice of crucifixion The chronological events leading up the crucifixion of Christ.

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p urpose
PURPOSE

Examine the physical pains that our Lord endured on our behalf:

  • Medically
  • Scientifically

Historical Review:

  • The practice of crucifixion
  • The chronological events leading up the crucifixion of Christ
s ources
SOURCES
  • The Divine Gospels
  • Church fathers
  • Non-church fathers and historians
  • The Shroud of Turin
  • Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
    • William D Edwards, MD, et. al.
challenge questions
Challenge Questions

1) Why was crucifixion used? (why not decapitation?)

Slow death with maximal pain and suffering

2) What is the usual cause of death due to being crucified?

Respiratory distress = asphyxiation

3) What range of time could someone hang on the cross for?

3 hours to 4 days (96 hours)

4) Who was crucifixion usually reserved for?

Slaves, foreigners, revolutionaries, vile criminals, sometimes desertion of soldiers

what was christ s physical condition
What was Christ’s Physical Condition?

No

Is there anything explicit in the bible?

  • What we do know:
    • He was a carpenter
    • He traveled by foot a great deal
    • Travel leading to crucifixion . . .
    • How far did He travel (foot) in the days leading to His death?
slide6

Map of

Jerusalem

What is Hematohidrosis?

> 2.5 mi in ~36 Hrs

Edwards, WD, Gabel, WJ, Hosmer, FE: On The Physical Death Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986; 255(11):1455-63.

s courging
SCOURGING
  • Legal preliminary to every Roman execution (39 times [Roman law])
  • Short whip used (flagrum/flagellum)
    • braided leather thongs
    • small iron balls
    • sharp sheep bone

Purpose . . .

Pain and blood loss would set the stage for hypovolemic shock

Edwards, WD, Gabel, WJ, Hosmer, FE: On The Physical Death Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986; 255(11):1455-63.

slide8

SCOURGING

The prisoner tied to upright post

One or two men (lictors) would alternate

1Peter 2:24 Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness -- by whose stripes you were healed.

Edwards, WD, Gabel, WJ, Hosmer, FE: On The Physical Death Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986; 255(11):1455-63.

s courging of j esus
SCOURGING OF JESUS
  • Additional physical punishments
    • Crown of thorns
    • Struck on the head
    • Spat on Him
    • Tore the robe off of His back
      • Tearing open wounds
      • Severe blood loss
  • Romans pulled out Christ’s beard
  • Isaiah 50:6: "I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.”
s courging of j esus1
SCOURGING OF JESUS
  • Isaiah 52:14: "..... Just as there were many who were appalled at him -- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness”
  • Medically, our Lord’s condition was likely serious to critical
  • And what did they do then?
c rucifixion p ractices
CRUCIFIXION PRACTICES
  • Horizontal crossbar (patibulum)
    • Weighing 75 – 125 lbs
    • 5 – 6 ft long
  • Carried from flogging site to crucifixion site (~650 yards)
    • Usually naked

Edwards, WD, Gabel, WJ, Hosmer, FE: On The Physical Death Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986; 255(11):1455-63.

c rucifixion p ractices1
CRUCIFIXION PRACTICES
  • Prisoner thrown to ground
  • Drink of myrrh and wine
    • Served as anesthetic
    • Christ refused
  • Wrists nailed to patibulum
    • Hands = wrists
    • Tapered iron spikes
  • Patibulum and prisoner lifted onto the stipes

Edwards, WD, Gabel, WJ, Hosmer, FE: On The Physical Death Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986; 255(11):1455-63.

crucifixion of jesus
CRUCIFIXION OF JESUS

Psalm 22:14-15: "I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.”

  • Shoulder dislocated as patibulum is violently hoisted onto stipes
  • Dehydration due to severe hypovolemia (loss of blood)
c rucifixion p ractices2
CRUCIFIXION PRACTICES
  • Invented by the Persians
  • Perfected by the Romans
  • Used as a form of torture and Capital Punishment
    • Designed to produce a slow death with maximal pain and suffering
  • It was the most disgraceful and cruelest method of execution

Edwards, WD, Gabel, WJ, Hosmer, FE: On The Physical Death Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986; 255(11):1455-63.

m edical a spects of c rucifixion
MEDICAL ASPECTS OF CRUCIFIXION

Fixation of the arms:

  • Nail would crush or sever the sensorimotor nerves in the hand
  • Produce excruciating bolts of fiery pain
  • Paralysis of portion of hand

Edwards, WD, Gabel, WJ, Hosmer, FE: On The Physical Death Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986; 255(11):1455-63.

m edical a spects of c rucifixion1
MEDICAL ASPECTS OF CRUCIFIXION

Fixation of the feet:

  • Feet were nailed to stipes (90o flexion)
    • Between 2nd and 3rd toes
    • Severance of nerves and arteries in the foot
      • Pain
      • Additional blood loss

Edwards, WD, Gabel, WJ, Hosmer, FE: On The Physical Death Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986; 255(11):1455-63.

so what is the usual cause of death
So what is the usual cause of death?

Respiratory Distress or Asphyxia

m edical a spects of c rucifixion2
MEDICAL ASPECTS OF CRUCIFIXION

Respiration

  • Severe interference with normal respiration (exhale)… (speech)
  • Each breath, victim must push up on nailed feet
    • Pain
    • Reopen wounds
  • Eventually, exhaustion asphyxia

Edwards, WD, Gabel, WJ, Hosmer, FE: On The Physical Death Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986; 255(11):1455-63.

have you ever thought
Have you ever thought?

Jesus spoke 7 times in short sentences

Difficult to breathe, more difficult to speak

Challenge Questions

  • What is the term for breaking of bones while on the cross?
  • Crucifracture

2) Why was this done? (medically)

  • Hasten death

3) What does the word excruciating mean? (language root)

  • Latin – excruciatus – meaning “out of the cross”
s pear to h eart
SPEAR TO HEART
  • Struck with 6 ft infantry spear
  • “…produced a sudden flow of blood and water”
    • Medically unclear
    • Possibly RBCs (blood) and then plasma (water)
    • Blood from inside heart and fluid around lungs or heart

John 19:34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.

Greek order . . .

Edwards, WD, Gabel, WJ, Hosmer, FE: On The Physical Death Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986; 255(11):1455-63.

medical conclusion
Medical Conclusion

Jesus Christ endured the most painful and gruesome death at the hand of mankind

t he g reatest e vent
THE GREATEST EVENT

Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ endured the most painful and gruesome death at the hand of mankind so that He may save us, His creation, and that we may have life everlasting. What’s more different about Christ’s sufferings is not His passion, but His glorious Resurrection.

Glory be to God Forever, Amen