Here is an excerpt on the Medical View of what Jesus went
through for us:
The Crucifixion of Christ from "The Passion of Christ from a
Medical Point of View"
by C. Truman Davis, M.D., M.S.
Early in the morning Jesus, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and
exhausted from a sleepless night, is taken across Jerusalem to the
Praetorium of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. You are, of course,
familiar with Pilate's action in attempting to pass responsibility to Herod
Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea. Jesus apparently suffered no physical
mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate. It was
then, in response to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas
released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.
There is much disagreement among authorities about scourging as a prelude to
crucifixion. Most Roman writers from this period do not associate the two.
Many scholars believe that Pilate originally ordered Jesus scourged as his
full punishment and that the death sentence by crucifixion came only in
response to the taunt by the mob that the Procurator was not properly
Caesar against the pretender who claimed to be the King Of The Jews.
Preparations for the scourging are carried out. The prisoner is stripped of
His clothing, and His hands are tied to a post above His head. It is doubtful
whether the Romans made any attempt to follow the Jewish law in this matter of
scourging. The Jews had an ancient law prohibiting more than forty lashes. The
Pharisees, always making sure that the law was strictly kept, insisted that
thirty-nine lashes be given. (In case of a miscount, they were sure of
within the law.)
The Roman legionnaire steps forward with the flagrum, or flagellum, in his
hand. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with
two small balls of lead attached near 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
continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an
oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally
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
area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it is
by the centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is
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 the
provincial Jew claiming to be a King. They throw a robe across His shoulders
and place a stick in His hand for a scepter. They still need a crown to make
their travesty complete. A small bundle of flexible branches covered with
long thorns, (commonly used for firewood) are plaited into the shape of a
crown and this pressed into His scalp. Again there is copious bleeding (the
scalp being one of the most vascular areas of 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
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
causes excruciating pain, almost as though He were again being whipped and
the wounds again begin to bleed.
In deference to Jewish custom, the Romans return His garments. The heavy
patibulum of the cross is tied across His shoulders, and the procession of the
condemned Christ, two thieves, and the execution detail of Roman soldiers,
headed by a centurion begins its slow journey along the Via Dolorosa. In spite
of His efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam, together
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
endurance. The centurion, anxious to get on with the crucifixion, selects a
North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross. Jesus follows,
and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock. The 650 yard journey from the
Fortress Antonia to Golgotha is finally completed. The Prisoner is again
stripped of His clothes--except for a lion cloth which is allowed the Jews.
The crucifixion begins. Jesus is offered wine mixed with Myrrh, a mild
analgesic mixture. He refuses to drink. Simon is ordered to place the
patibulum 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 patibulum is then lifted into place at
the top of the stipes 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, leaving the
knees moderately flexed. The Victim is now crucified. As He slowly sags down
with more weight on the nails in the wrist, excruciating, fiery pain shoots
along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain--the nails in the
wrist are putting pressure on the median nerves. As He pushes Himself upward
to avoid this stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail
His feet. Again, there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the
nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.
At this point, another phenomenon occurs. 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 paralyzed and the intercostal 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 one short breath. Finally, carbon
dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and cramps partially
subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring
in the life-giving oxygen. It was, undoubtedly during these periods that He
uttered the seven short sentences which are recorded.
The first, looking down at the Roman soldiers casting lots for His garments,
"Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." The second, to the
penitent thief, "Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise."
The third, looking down at the terrified, grief-stricken, John, (the beloved
Apostle), He said, "Behold thy mother," and looking to Mary, His mother,
"Woman, behold thy son."
The fourth cry is from the beginning of the 22nd Psalm, "My God, My God, why
hast Thou forsaken me?"
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.
Let us remember again the 22nd Psalm (the 14th verse). "I am poured out like
water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted
in the midst of my bowels."
It is now almost over, the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical
level, 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 His fifth cry, "I thirst," Let us remember another verse from the
prophetic 22nd Psalm: "My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue
cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death."
A sponge soaked in Posca, the cheap, sour wine which is the staple drink of
the Roman Legionnaires, is lifted to His lips. He apparently doesn't take any
of the liquid. The body of Jesus is now in extremis, and He can feel the chill
of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brings out His sixth
words, possibly little more than a tortured whisper. "It is finished."
His mission of atonement has been completed. Finally, He can allow
His body to die.
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."
The rest you know. In order that the Sabbath be not profaned, the Jews asked
that the condemned men be dispatched and removed from the crosses. The common
method of ending a crucifixion was by crurufracture, the
breaking of the bones of the legs. This prevented the victim from pushing
himself upward, the tension could not be relieved from the muscle of the
chestdispatched and removed from the crosses.
Apparently to make sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the
fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the
heart. The 34th verse of the 19th chapter of the Gospel of John; "and
immediately there came out blood and water." Thus there was an escape of
watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart and blood from the interior of
the heart. We, therefore, have rather conclusive post-mortem 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
Thus we have seen a glimpse of the epitome of evil which man can exhibit
toward man and toward God. This is not a pretty sight and is apt to
leave us despondent and depressed. How grateful we can be that we have a
sequel, a glimpse of the infinite mercy of God toward man, the miracle of
the atonement and the expectation of eternal life.
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever
believes in Him shouls not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to
repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ
Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right
ot become the children of God.