The Suffering of Jesus


This lengthy post is not for the weak-hearted.  But since this is Crucifixion Week, I feel it is appropriate to examine the horrific suffering Jesus bore for me.   And you.

The Crown of Thorns was made from a bundle of flexible branches (usually used for firewood) covered with thorns some 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches in length.  This was plaited and woven into the shape of a crown and pressed into His scalp.  The scalp is one of the most vascular areas of the human body, so as the Crown of Thorns was pressed onto His head, the bleeding became profuse and the pain unbearable. 

Following the horrific scourging Jesus endured, the heavy cross-beam of the cross which weighed approximately 110 pounds, was dropped onto His tortured back and Jesus was forced to carry it in the procession of the two thieves and the execution detail of Roman soldiers.  As Jesus attempted to walk uprightly, the weight of the cross beam gouged into the lacerated muscles of His shoulders, and along with the shock produced by the massive loss of blood, caused Him to stumble and fall.  The commanding centurion selected a strong north African onlooker named Simon to carry the cross of Jesus the remaining 650 yards to Golgotha.  Once there, Jesus was stripped of His clothing, humiliating Him by His nakedness, and prepared for crucifixion.

Simon was ordered to put the cross beam on the ground.  Jesus was thrown backward with His shoulders falling on the beam.  The execution detail charged with the crucifixion began their grisly task.  They felt for the soft depression at the wrist and then drove a heavy, square iron spike through it into the wood of the cross beam.  This was done for the left and right arms.  Then, the left foot was pressed backward against the right foot.  With the toes pointed downward another iron spike was driven through the arch of each.  As they raised Him up the weight of His sagging body tore through flesh and nerve and was intensified as the center beam of the cross fell to the bottom of the hole that was dug to secure it.

Jesus now struggled just to inhale.  “The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was in interference with normal respirations.  Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia.”  Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) article by Dr. William D. Edwards in the March 21, 1986 issue)

I quote C. Truman Davis, M.D.  and his article “Crucifixion of Jesus” from The Expositor’s Bible Commentary:

“… 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…

“… 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 body of Jesus is now in extremis, and He can feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues…”

To make sure Jesus was dead, the legionnaire drove his lance through the ribs upward through the pericardium and into the heart.  “And forth with came there out blood and water…”   

The key word here is DEAD.  Not unconscious.  Not in a coma.  Not in suspended animation.  But DEAD.   Jesus died and He was Dead when they removed Him from the Cross.

It is so strange to me  that people who are filled with horror and indignation when they see a tom cat kill a sparrow can hear the story I just told…. of the Killing of God on a rugged Cross…. Sunday after Sunday and not experience any shock at all.

These are the physical implications and explanations regarding death on a cross.  As horrible and as violent as it is, this suffering (His physical suffering) is nothing to compare with the spiritual and emotional and mental suffering He endured.  Listen:

Matt. 27:46   And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

2Cor. 5:21   For he (God) hath made him (Jesus) to be sin for us, (you and me) who knew no sin; that we (you and I) might be made (come to be… become) the righteousness of God in him.

That was really supposed to be me.  It was really supposed to be you.  He suffered for us.  For our sin.  Not His… He had none.  It was all for us.  He was made sin.  For us.  He knew no sin… He was innocent.  He was sinless.  He was spotless.  A Lamb without blemish.  Yet, God made Him… turned Him into sin for us.  That, in turn, you and I might be made the Righteousness of God in Him.  This is profound.  This is a Divine Exchange.  He became what we were and are in order that we might be What and Who He is.  God made Him to be sin for us.  What God made Him to be He was…. not a “type” or a “symbol of” or a “picture of”… but in awful actuality… HE BECAME SIN.

Jesus had AIDS.  Jesus had syphilis.  Jesus had gonorrhea.  Jesus had herpes.  And every known type of STD’s.  Jesus had cancer.  Jesus had Parkinson’s’.  Jesus had and became every known kind of sexual perversion.  Homosexuality.  Lesbianism.  He was a Pedophile.  He was an adulterer.  (Makes me feel like a blasphemer to even tell you this)… but He was made SIN.  And this is what sin is.

This spiritual, emotional and mental anguish overshadowed all the physical pain and suffering He endured.  As a MAN he bore it.  As GOD He became it.   He took it for you and me.  And in exchange, He freely gives us His sinlessness.   His Righteousness.  His purity.  His Holiness.  What a deal!  Paul touches on this miracle when he writes:

Rom. 5:8   But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

This is Crucifixion Week

Resurrection Day is NEXT

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