Medical Description of the Flogging and Crucifixion of Jesus


My lovely wife sent this Easter message to from Rev. Tony Cooke. Rev. Cooke was one of my instructors when I attended RHEMA Bible Training Center (now RHEMA Bible Training College) between 1982 – 84.

 

 Rev. Tony Cooke

 

JRH 4/16/17

Please Support NCCR

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Medical Description of the Flogging and Crucifixion of Jesus

 

Origin Tony Cooke

Email Sent 4/15/2017 10:03 AM

Excerpted From: The Expositors Bible Commentary

 

(Commenting on Mark 15:15) The Romans first stripped the victim and tied his hands to a post above his head. The whip (flagellum) was made of several pieces of leather with pieces of bone and lead embedded near the ends. Two men, one on each side of the victim, usually did the flogging. The Jews mercifully limited flogging to a maximum of forty stripes; the Romans had no such limitation. The following is a medical doctor’s description of the physical effects of flogging.

 

The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs. At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper in the subcutaneous tissues, producing first and oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles… Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. (C. Truman Davis, “The Crucifixion of Jesus.  The Passion of Christ from a Medical Point of View,” Arizona Medicine 22, no. 3 [March 1965]: 185)

 

It is not surprising that victims of Roman floggings seldom survived.

 

(Commenting on Mark 15:17-18) The crown was made of some kind of prickly plant such as abounds in Palestine. This they pressed into his scalp. Again there must have been copious bleeding because the scalp is one of the most vascular areas of the body.

 

(Commenting on Mark 15:19) The mocking was followed by further physical violence. The blows hitting his head from the staff drove the thorns more deeply into Jesus’ scalp and caused even more profuse bleeding. They also kept spitting on him…

 

(Commenting on Mark 15:20) At last tiring of their sadism, the soldiers tore the robe from Jesus’ back. The fabric had probably stuck to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds.  Thus when it was callously ripped off him, it caused excruciating pain, just as when a bandage is carelessly removed. Jesus’ own clothes were now put back on him.

 

(Commenting on Mark 15:21) Men condemned to die by crucifixion were customarily required to carry the heavy wooden crosspiece (patibulum) on which they were to be nailed, to the place of execution. Jesus started out carrying his cross (John 19:17), but it proved to be too much for him.  The patibulum usually weighed thirty or forty pounds and was usually strapped across the shoulders. One can hardly imagine the pain caused by the rough heavy beam pressing into the lacerated skin and muscles of Jesus’ shoulders. The scourging of blood so weakened him that he could not go on carrying the heavy crossbeam.

 

(Commenting on Mark 15:24) Mark simply says, “And they crucified him.” What incredible restraint! Especially when one considers that crucifixion was, as Cicero said, “the cruelest and most hideous punishment possible” (In Verrem 5.54.165).  What took place physically is described by Davis (“Crucifixion of Jesus,” pp. 186-187).

 

Simon is ordered to place the patibulum on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The cross is then lifted into place.

 

The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain—the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.

 

At this point, another phenomenon occurs. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. . . . Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. Jesus fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.

 

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 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 . . . . His mission of atonement has been completed.  Finally he can allow His body to die.
All this, the Bible records with the simple words, “And they crucified him” (Mark 15:24).

 

The article is excerpted from The Expositors Bible Commentary (Volume 8, pages 775-780, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1984.)

 

+++

Blog Editor: Visualize the blood, pain and suffering must have felt by volunteering to freely give up his life that all who believe might have life. What it we believe?

 

Christ was Crucified and died the same day. Counting Crucifixion day, the third day arose bodily from the tomb after defeating Satan and taking hold of the keys of death and life. Christ’s new life is our life if only we believe:

 

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:

 

“When He ascended on high,
He led captivity captive,
And gave gifts to men.”[a]

 

(Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first[b] descended into the lower parts of the earth? (Ephesians 4: 7-9 NKJV)

 

==

 

19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2: 19-20 NKJV)

 

Jesus is Risen indeed!

______________

Bio for Tony Cooke

 

Bible Teacher and Author, Tony Cooke has been married to his wife, Lisa, since 1979. Together, they have been serving the Body of Christ since 1980.

 

Since 2002, Tony and Lisa have traveled full-time with an assignment of “Strengthening Churches and Leaders.” Tony’s passion for teaching the Bible has taken him to forty-six states and twenty-six nations.

 

In 2014, the website of Tony Cooke Ministries reached 230,967 unique individuals, many of them pastors, missionaries, and other church leaders in 219 nations and territories with encouraging and helpful ministerial resources.

 

Books authored by Tony include: Life After DeathIn Search of TimothyGrace: the DNA of GodQualifiedThrough the Storms, Your Place on God’s Dream Team, and The Work Book: What We Do Matters to God.

 

Prior to traveling, Tony was involved in pastoral ministry for more than twenty years, and served as an Instructor and the Dean of Rhema Bible Training Center. He also served for thirteen years as the Director of an International Ministerial Association.

 

In addition to being a 1981 graduate of RHEMA Bible Training Center, Tony studied Religion at Butler University and received a degree in Church Ministries from North Central University.

 

Tony, and Lisa reside in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma and are the parents of two adult children, Laura and Andrew.

 

Author: oneway2day

I am a Neoconservative Christian Right blogger. I also spend a significant amount of time of exposing theopolitical Islam.

One thought on “Medical Description of the Flogging and Crucifixion of Jesus”

  1. Thanks John. Also Tripta Kapur writes about the case.

    “Jesus’ Suffering and Crucifixion From a Medical Point of View”

    * The following is a transcription of an article given by Dr.Keith Maxwell, a medical doctor in Asheville, N.C.

    This article is approached from the perspective of how a physician would assess the injuries of Jesus if he were there to see the actual physical trauma he experienced. Dr. Maxwell speaks plainly, with as little medical jargon as possible. His development of this topic began to evolve one night when Dr. Maxwell, in the emergency room, thought to himself, “If they brought the Lord in here, exactly what would his physical injuries be like?”

    * Why didn’t the Lord bleed to death if he bled out of every sweat gland in his body? If you’ve been to Israel, as I have, you know that this time of year you have warm days and cool nights. It was this cool night air that probably caused the Lord’s damp skin, covered with sweat and blood, to chill, causing the capillaries to constrict and stop the bleeding. This same chilling in the cold night air has kept many a drunk and hoodlum who I’ve seen shot or stabbed and who’s then lain in a ditch all night, from dying. It causes the blood vessels to constrict and causes the blood loss to be minimal. But by the time Jesus was taken by the soldiers from the garden of Gethsemane, he probably had a mixture of sweat and blood over his entire body surface. I can imagine this was some sight to behold.

    * If you go back and look at historical accounts, you find that people actually lived on the cross, crucified, for up to six days. If you can, imagine a man hanging on a cross outside the gates of a city with the birds pecking at his eyes and roosting on his head, as he hangs there naked as a spectacle for the whole city. That was the point of this. It was part of the shame and humiliation that a man hang there so people could come by for a day or two and stand and mock and jeer and shout accusations and railings and blasphemy at him. The idea was to make him suffer as much as possible. Crucifixion was never intended to kill anybody.

    * Why didn’t they break Jesus’ legs? If you go back to the Psalms – I believe the 34th chapter – it says “Not a bone of his body was broken.” This is why Jesus’ nose and jaws and cheekbones should have been broken but couldn’t have been. The 34th chapter of Psalms wouldn’t let that take place. And that’s why the Roman centurion didn’t break his legs, because the Bible says “Not a bone of his body was broken.”

    That was totally uncharacteristic of the crucifixion, because that’s how crucifixion victims died. When they grew tired of you and got bored with the situation they’d break your legs and in about four to six minutes you’d smother to death, because you could no longer push up with your legs. You laid there sagging, unable to breathe out, and you were asphyxiated in about four to six minutes. That’s how the two thieves died. But Jesus was dead already.

    * So let me conjecture a little about what I think. I think there’s a very good description of the crucifixion in the Bible and there’s very good medical evidence that can be pulled out of that description that tells us that the Lord did not die in the manner that most crucifixion victims die. When the Roman centurion went to him to break his legs, he was dead already. They couldn’t break his legs because the Bible said in Psalms, “Not a bone of his body shall be broken.” Why then would the soldier thrust a spear into his side? Because Zachariah told us hundreds of years before that we’d look upon him that we’d pierced. And what came out? Blood and water – I think there’s enough medical evidence there that the Lord was dead at least a half an hour.

    So what took the Lord’s life? No man did. No man, no Roman centurion, no cross took Jesus’ life. He was able to do something I’ve never seen another human being do – he laid down his life. When it was finished and with a loud voice, he gave up the ghost. Jesus gave his life.”

    Please read more:

    http://www.southasianconnection.com/articles/184/1/Jesus-Suffering-and-Crucifixion-From-a-Medical-Point-of-View/Page1.html

    Like

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