Sunday, March 31, 2013

And you thought waterboarding was bad....

Been thinking about something this Easter.  Today we celebrate that He rose from the dead.  To truly appreciate His resurrection, it is important to understand the circumstances of His death.  Everyone has heard that Christ died on the cross - but what exactly is crucifixion?   It is also important to note that our Lord first endured severe beatings and torture before being subjected to this ultimate fate.
( from: )

Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Crucifixion was invented by the Persians between 300-400 b.c. It was "perfected" by the Romans in the first century b.c. It is arguably the most painful death ever invented by man and is where we get our term "excruciating." It was reserved primarily for the most vicious of criminals.  The most common device used for crucifixion was a wooden cross, which consisted of an upright pole permanently fixed in the ground with a removable crossbar, usually weighing between 75-100 lbs. Victims of crucifixion were typically stripped naked and their clothing divided by the Roman guards.

The victim was then placed on his back, arms stretched out and nailed to the cross bar. The nails, which were generally about 7-9 inches long, were placed between the bones of the forearm (the radius and ulna) and the small bones of the hands (the carpal bones). (Figure 1.)  The placement of the nail at this point had several effects. First it ensured that the victim would indeed hang there until dead. Secondly, a nail placed at this point would sever the largest nerve in the hand called the median nerve.  The severing of this nerve is a medical catastrophe. In addition to severe burning pain the destruction of this nerve causes permanent paralysis of the hand. Furthermore, by nailing the victim at this point in the wrist, there would be minimal bleeding and there would be no bones broken.

The positioning of the feet is probably the most critical part of the mechanics of crucifixion. First the knees were flexed about 45 degrees and the feet were flexed (bent downward) an additional 45 degrees until they were parallel the vertical pole. An iron nail about 7-9 inches long was driven through the feet between the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones. In this position the nail would sever the dorsal pedal artery of the foot, but the resultant bleeding would be insufficient to cause death.

The resulting position on the cross sets up a horrific sequence of events which results in a slow, painful death. Having been pinned to the cross, the victim now has an impossible position to maintain. (Figure 2)  With the knees flexed at about 45 degrees, the victim must bear his weight with the muscles of the thigh. However, this is an almost impossible task-try to stand with your knees flexed at 45 degrees for 5 minutes. As the strength of the legs gives out, the weight of the body must now be borne by the arms and shoulders. The result is that within a few minutes of being placed on the cross, the shoulders will become dislocated. Minutes later the elbows and wrists become dislocated. The result of these dislocations is that the arms are as much as 6-9 inches longer than normal.  With the arms dislocated, considerable body weight is transferred to the chest, causing the rib cage to be elevated in a state of perpetual inhalation. Consequently, in order to exhale the victim must push down on his feet to allow the rib muscles to relax. The problem is that the victim cannot push very long because the legs are extremely fatigued. As time goes on, the victim is less and less able to bear weight on the legs, causing further dislocation of the arms and further raising of the chest wall, making breathing more and more difficult.

The result of this process is a series of catastrophic physiological effects. Because the victim cannot maintain adequate ventilation of the lungs, the blood oxygen level begins to diminish and the blood carbon dioxide (CO2) level begins to rise. This rising CO2 level stimulates the heart to beat faster in order to increase the delivery of oxygen and the removal of CO2.  However, due to the pinning of the victim and the limitations of oxygen delivery, the victim cannot deliver more oxygen and the rising heart rate only increases oxygen demand. So this process sets up a vicious cycle of increasing oxygen demand-which cannot be met-followed by an ever increasing heart rate. After several hours the heart begins to fail, the lungs collapse and fill up with fluid, which further decreases oxygen delivery to the tissues. The blood loss and hyperventilation combines to cause severe dehydration.

Over a period of several hours the combination of collapsing lungs, a failing heart, dehydration, and the inability to get adequate oxygen supplies to the tissues cause the eventual death of the victim. The victim, in effect, cannot breath properly and slowly suffocates to death. In cases of severe cardiac stress, such as crucifixion, a victim's heart can even burst.  To slow the process of death the executioners put a small wooden seat on the cross, which would allow the victim the privilege of bearing his weight on his buttocks. The effect of this was that it could take up to nine days to die on a cross.  When the Romans wanted to expedite death they would simply break the legs of the victim, causing him to suffocate in a matter of minutes. At three o'clock in the afternoon Jesus said, "Tetelastai," meaning "it is finished."   He then died a human death and in that moment, all sin was washed away forever for all of mankind that choose to accept his sacrifice and follow His teachings.

Open your mind, be humbled, and seek with all your heart - He that suffered a horrible death that all mankind might be saved. It is very well worth the effort and the rewards are astounding...the promise of abundant life everlasting.  I reached out to Him and He answered me and I know He is real.  To ignore this great sacrifice only welcomes a death in eternal misery and torment. Without Him, all the pleasures and extravagance of earthly life will be but a painful memory...bound in never ending suffering and regret. If ever there was a time to think "out of the box" is right now.  Turn off your TV and open a Bible.


Smackmama said...

He endured unbelievable torture before suffering a death on the cross...all for you and me. Happy Easter John!

Jay said...

In my heart, what I find the most amazing about Jesus crucifixion was, in spite of all the pain and suffering his executioners caused him, Jesus still found a way to ask his father Jehovah God to forgive those that had hurt him and were killing his body.

Luke Chapter 23, 33-34

33And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 34Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.


What an amazing man he was. Even as he was suffering and dying he asks for those that had caused him such suffering to be forgiven.

If anyone believes that Jesus' life was an example for the rest of us to attempt to follow, this verse from the bible is extremely instructive.

No matter what happens, and who may threaten you, hurt you, cause you suffering, and perhaps even kill you, Jesus demonstrated that we should try to find it within our hearts to ask that they be forgiven.

That takes strength. That takes faith. That takes courage.

Not the kind of strength and courage one gets by holding a gun pointed at someone causing them harm or pain, but the kind of strength and courage Jesus showed us when he asked God to forgive those that caused HIM pain.

There is nothing in the scriptures that says following the path that Jesus laid out for us would be easy. In fact, Jesus said it would be difficult, and few would even find the gateway to salvation.

Matthew Chapter 7, 13-14
13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The narrow path is the path to everlasting life. The difficult path that few will be able to find is the path to salvation.

It's easy to fear those that threaten. It's easy to be angry at someone who intends to harm you. It's easy to fight back and try to harm them to stop them from harming you.

It's difficult to to turn the other cheek and ask that evil doers be forgiven, but that is the path Jesus taught will give us everlasting life, no matter what some evil person might do to our fragile earthly body.

bayrider said...

Hard to believe that crucifixion is still being practiced. It is, in Saudi Arabia. It's, what else, Sharia law:,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.44442042,d.aWM&fp=6a8081779e62c06a&biw=1280&bih=873

Dizzy-Dick said...

I have never heard such an in-depth description of crucifixion. I thank you for your wonderful blog postings. said...

He suffered the pain and agony and we get the benefits; sounds like a deal to me.

Unknown said...

I thank God for the sacrifice of His son and believe in Him for He gives eternal life!! Thanks for your Sunday posts, John!

Anonymous said...

piece of shit crap man xxx f yurself (pot)

Unknown said...

I've reached out to him and know and feel, He is real. Echoing others, thank you for your posts. I read them not knowing what to expect, but with willingness to experience the journey they inspire.