Over the past few weeks, a student of mine and I have been meeting together to read Deuteronomy together in Hebrew. Our goal is to keep our Hebrew language skills sharp. It’s a fine balance between treating the Scriptures as a mere text to be translated and sitting under its authority as we read the Word of God in its original language. We pray each time that our reading would be the best of both worlds – that we would fine tune our language skills so that we can read and understand God’s revelation better. It usually takes us about an hour and a half to read and translate ten verses. The time goes by so fast! I feel like I could just sit and do that all day… Continue reading
>A number of years ago, I stumbled upon an interesting article from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). The article detailed the physiology of crucifixion – what it may have looked like, what it would have entailed, and how death would have occurred from an anatomical and physiological perspective. I believe that the article has been disputed and attacked since its publication, but I still found that the drawings and the explanations make Jesus’ death the real, historical event that it was.
Here’s an abstract of the article.
Jesus of Nazareth underwent Jewish and Roman trials, was flogged, and was sentenced to death by crucifixion. The scourging produced deep stripelike lacerations and appreciable blood loss, and it probably set the stage for hypovolemic shock, as evidenced by the fact that Jesus was too weakened to carry the crossbar (patibulum) to Golgotha. At the site of crucifixion, his wrists were nailed to the patibulum and, after the patibulum was lifted onto the upright post (stipes), his feet were nailed to the stipes. The major pathophysiologic effect of crucifixion was an interference with normal respirations. Accordingly, death resulted primarily from hypovolemic shock and exhaustion asphyxia. Jesus’ death was ensured by the thrust of a soldier’s spear into his side. Modern medical interpretation of the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was dead when taken down from the cross.
I’ve scanned a few of the illustrations from the article for your consideration (the copyrights for these belong to the JAMA).
|Proposed illustration of what flogging would look like|
|Carrying the cross and the different types of crosses|
|How Jesus may have hung and the physiological effects|
|How a spear may have pierced Jesus’ side|
I found this slideshow quite disturbing. While I can appreciate the desire to share in the sufferings of Christ, the idea of being literally crucified if only for a moment has the danger of thinking that partaking in such a ceremony somehow offers penance, a penance that only the Son of God could pay. Christ’s suffering was enough. It is finished. At the same time, it makes me think about the fact that literally I am crucified with Christ, not in place of Christ, mind you. I died with Jesus on that cross as he was being crucified, and by his blood I have his righteousness. I am a new creation. So save the nails, I think I’d rather choose the harder way – learning to die to myself in the mundane trivialities of the rest of the year, not just on Good Friday.