Courtesy Rollebon Press.
Nearly 45 years ago, a medical doctor by the name of C. Truman Davis felt he had grown immune to the agony that Christ suffered on Calvary. His callousness disappeared after he researched the crucifixion, and so he wrote an account of Christ’s Passion from a medical perspective. His account here is slightly adapted.
The whip that the Roman soldiers used on Jesus had small iron balls and sharp pieces of sheep-bone inserted into it. Jesus was tied to an upright post. His back, buttocks and legs were whipped by two soldiers with alternate strokes. The soldiers taunted their victim, while the iron balls and sheep-bones cut deep into his skin. The lacerations tore into the underlying muscles producing ribbons of bleeding, quivering flesh. There was massive pain and blood loss.
The half-fainting Jesus was untied, but immediately slumped to the stone pavement wet with his own blood. The soldiers joked at this provincial Jew claiming to be a king, so they threw a robe across his shoulders and placed a stick in his hand for a sceptre. But they still needed a crown to make their travesty complete. A small bundle of thorny branches were plaited into a crown and pressed into his scalp. There was copious bleeding, the scalp being full of blood vessels. Finally, when they tired of their sadistic sport,. the robe was torn from his back like the careless removal of a surgical bandage. The clots of blood pulled from the wounds caused excruciating pain. The heavy cross was then tied across his shoulders, and the execution party walked along the Via Dolorosa.
The Way of the Cross
The weight of the cross, together with the loss of blood, was too much. He stumbled and fell. He tried to rise, but his muscles were beyond endurance. The centurion, anxious to get on with the crucifixion, selected a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross. The 650-yard journey from the Fortress Antonia to Golgotha was finally completed. Jesus was stripped of his clothes except for a loincloth (which was allowed by the Jews). The crucifixion began. Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh — a pain-killing mixture; he refused. He was then thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire drove the heavy, square, nails through his wrists and deep into the wood. The beam was then lifted into place and the title ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews’ was nailed to the cross. Jesus, the victim, was now crucified.
Nails and Lungs
As he sagged under his own weight, excruciating pain shot up his arms and exploded into his brain. He pushed himself upward to avoid this torment, placing his full weight on the nail through his feet. Again, there was the searing agony of the nail tearing through the bones of his feet. As the arms fatigued, great waves of cramp swept over the muscles, knotting them in deep, throbbing pain. With these cramps came the inability to push himself upwards. So, hanging by his arms, the muscles which connected the chest to the arms became paralysed and his breathing muscles were unable to move. Air could not be exhaled. Jesus fought to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide built up in his lungs and bloodstream. Spasmodically, he was able to push himself upwards to exhale, and so bring in the life-giving oxygen. Undoubtedly it was during these periods that he uttered his seven last sentences. Then began the hours of agony, cycles of cramping and twisting, partial asphyxiation and searing pain as his lacerated back moved against the rough timber. Then another agony began. A deep, crushing pain emerged in his chest as the sack containing his heart slowly filled with serum, compressing his heart. The loss of fluids had reached a critical level; the compressed heart was struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues; the tortured lungs were making a final frantic effort to gasp for air.
Into Your Hands
Finally, his mission of atonement was complete. He could allow his body to die. With one last surge, he pressed his feet against the nail, straightened his legs, took a deeper breath, and uttered his seventh and final cry: Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. (Luke 23:46)
Jesus went through all of that in order to afford you and me the opportunity to be in God’s presence, forever.