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The Crucifixion

Have you ever wondered why,
all the pictures we see of Jesus
He is nailed to the cross with just a crown of thorns
as His adornment and a spear wound to His side?
This is all true, but there is much more
according to fifty three Isiah

Jesus was tortured more than the sons of man
His face was so marred that He was unrecognisable
His face was a bloody pulp, because they beat Him up
and pulled His beard hair out,
then there is the slashings of barbed whips
across His back that ripped at the skin

We have heard of horrible stories of torture
done during past wars, the horrendous brutality
too horrible for words
yet when this abdominal crime
has been done against an innocent
We shrug our shoulders and pass it off
as history and crimes in the past

Oh the pain He bore for you and I
to be scorned and spat on and left nearly dead
just from these terrible beatings,
but no, they stopped just short of this
they still had more for Him up their sleeve
He had to be further humiliated

He had to be shown off out in the streets
where others could see His shame and marred face
That was not enough either
so He had to carry a great heavy cross
That was much too heavy in His condition

They pulled some spectator out to do the deed.
They nailed His hands and feet upon a tree,
and hoisted Him high up in the air
because cursed be anyone who hangs on a tree
Giving vinegar to drink when He was thirsty!!
Telling Him that if He was the Son of God
then get down from there

Unbelief was around in that time too
Do we have to see and touch to believe?
There are lots of 'doubting Thomas's' in this world
they have to see touch and taste to believe
but when you think about this in more detail
there is so much that just cannot be

The wind on your face, the air that we breath
that cannot be seen but we just know,
Well.....it's just there.
There are many other things too numerous to mention
I just thought I would bring this to your attention.

I just wondered, do you?

Amanda Martin-Shaver
21 April 2000


"And to think He went through all this just for us ... "

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
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,
spat on Him, and struck Him in the face.

In the early morning, Jesus, battered and bruised,
dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night,
is taken across Jerusalem to the
Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia.
It was there, in response to the cries of the mob,
that Pilate ordered Barabbas 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 full
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 and 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 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 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
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.

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 in 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 postmortem
evidence that Our 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.

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Amanda Martin-Shaver