The Suffering of Jesus

           Jesus of Nazareth was sentenced to be scourged (Mat 27:26).  Roman scourging was nearly always fatal to the victim due to the brutality of the prolonged beating.  The victim’s hands were tied to a post over his head and then he was beaten with a whip consisting of nine leather thongs.  On the end of each leather thong was attached small lead spheres.  At the beginning, the leather thongs cut through the skin only but as they continued they cut deeper into the tissues of the sides and back, producing, at first, an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and later, spurting wounds from arterial bleeding from the arteries in the underlying muscles.  The small balls of lead first produced large deep bruises which were broken open by repeated blows.  At the end, the skin of the victim (Jesus) was hanging off His body in long ribbons while the entire area of His back and sides are an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue.  (See Isa 53)

The Crown of Thorns was made from a bundle of flexible branches covered with thorns some 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches in length.  This was plaited 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. 

            The heavy cross-beam 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 gouging into the lacerated muscles of the shoulders, together 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 and prepared for the 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 is pressed backward against the right foot.  With the toes pointed downward another iron spike is 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 the cross.    

            Jesus now struggled just to inhale.  (The major pathophysiologic (path-o-physio-logic) 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) an article by Dr. William D. Edwards in the March 21, 1986 issue        Jesus now struggles)   “… 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 is 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…”   There is postmortem evidence that our Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and a constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium. 

Isa. 52:14   As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

Isa. 52:14 AMP [For many the Servant of God became an object of horror; many were astonished*. (stunned; amazed; appalled; horrified)]  His face and His whole appearance were marred more than any man’s, and His form beyond that of the sons of men; but just as many were astonished at Him.

*The Hebrew word for “astonished” comes from the root word for “sin offering.” 

It is humanly mpossible to grasp the physical and mental suffering bore…

Such was (is) His Love for you and me…

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