Saturday, April 4, 2009

Medical Aspects of Jesus' Crucifixion

Good Friday is good only because of the sure hope of Easter Sunday; otherwise, Good Friday, by itself, would have been one of the darkest darkest Fridays in all history when men crucified the Son of God on the cross.

There is an article published in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) titled "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ" for you to read. [Citation: Edwards WD, Gabel WJ, Hosmer FE. On the physical death of Jesus Christ. JAMA. 1986 Mar 21;255(11):1455-63.]

To access the article, click here.

It is not a theological treatise; rather it describes purely on the medical aspects of the flogging/scourging and the crucifixion. It is quite technical with medical terminologies but I believe you should at least be able to understand part of it, if not everything.

In that article, we will understand:
1. the pain and bleeding inflicted during flogging
2. why the nails were probably driven through the wrist, and not the fleshy part of the palms as depicted in many paintings
3. why asphyxia or suffocation is one of the main causes of death during crucifixion
4. why the Roman soldiers had to break the criminals' legs hanged on the cross and why, when it came to Jesus, they did not break Jesus' legs
5. what could possibly be the blood and water that gushed out when the soldier pierced a side wound on Jesus
6. what was the purpose of that drink of wine mixed with myrrh offered to the criminals

By a deeper understanding of the excruciating pain (the word "excruciating" in fact, comes the Latin word "excruciatus", from the root word that forms crucifixion) that Jesus went through, we would be able to appreciate better the extent of the sacrifice and love that God has for us.

I don't think anyone will be able to understand fully the extent of the love of God; but at least we would understand and appreciate better His love for us and in return, we would fall in love all over again with our God!

Lastly, in that article, it is also mentioned that it was customary for the condemned man to carry his own cross from the flogging site to the crucifixion site. Ever wonder why Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 (GNB)

"If any of you want to come with me, you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me."?

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