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A Love Story Of Horror

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 9 months ago

Medical doctor Mark Eastman helps us understand an act of love that may make your skin crawl, the likes which have never been seen anywhere, before or since. Read it, shudder, and maybe weep.


Most everyone is familiar with the phrase, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." It comes from the Bible, the words of Jesus Christ. Dr. Eastman gives a medical understanding of how Jesus set such a chilling example, with a scientific medical description of His gruesome, bloody death.


The punishment actually started during His trial, when He was spat upon and beaten. According to Dr. Eastman, this probably caused Jesus' eyelids to be swollen shut even before the trial was complete.


Immediately after His trial, Jesus was "scourged" (flogged) by the brutish Roman soldiers, an extreme form of punishment. The soldiers used a whip of numerous thongs, embedded with metal, bone or glass. Lash! Lash! Lash! Each lash tore into Jesus' body. There were typically 39 flesh-ripping lashes. The skin on His back was horribly shredded, exposing underlying muscle and skeletal tissues. Blood gushed from His wounds. Many victims died from the sheer trauma of this torture. An irreversible process of severe dehydration and cardiorespiratory failure began. A crown of thorns was mockingly placed on Jesus' head, causing more blood. He was spat upon and beaten more. But that was only the beginning. It gets worse…


The next step: the dreaded crucifixion on the cross. Invented by the Persians between 300-400 B.C. and perfected by the Romans, crucifixion is called "the most painful death ever invented by man." It is where we get the term excruciating. To humiliate Him, Jesus was stripped naked, then placed on His back, arms stretched out and placed on a crossbar. Nails, about 7-9 inches long, were driven between the bones of the forearm (the radius and ulna) and the small bones of the hands (the carpal bones). This insured that He would hang there until dead, and also to sever the median nerve, the largest nerve in the hand. This severing is a medical catastrophe, causing severe burning pain and the permanent paralysis of the hands.


The positioning of the feet was critical. Jesus' knees were bent at about 45 degrees and the feet were flexed (bent downward) an additional 45 degrees. Another iron nail about 7-9 inches long was driven through His feet between the second and third metatarsal bones, severing the dorsal pedal artery. This set up a horrific series of events, resulting in a slow, painful death. Knees bent, Jesus now must try to bear His weight with the muscles of His thigh, an impossible position to maintain.


In minutes, the strength of Jesus' legs gave out, resulting in the weight of the body being borne by His arms and shoulders, causing the shoulders to become dislocated. This causes the arms to be 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, Jesus had to push down on His feet to allow the rib muscles to relax. Due to extreme fatigue, He could not do this for long, and as time went on He was less and less able, 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 Jesus could not maintain adequate ventilation of His lungs, the blood oxygen level began to diminish and the blood carbon dioxide level began to rise. This stimulated the heart to beat faster in order to increase the delivery of oxygen and the removal of the carbon dioxide. However, Jesus' body could not deliver more oxygen and the rising heart rate only increased oxygen demand. The process set up a vicious cycle of increasing demand, which could not be met, followed by an ever-increasing heart rate.

Jesus' heart began to fail and the lungs collapsed and filled up with fluid, which further decreased oxygen delivery to the tissues. The blood loss and hyperventilation combined to cause more dehydration. That is why Jesus said, "I thirst."


Gradually, 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. In effect, he cannot breathe properly and slowly suffocates to death. Making the situation much worse, because of the purpose of His suffering, Jesus also experienced the horror of separation from His heavenly Father, and the sins of all humanity.


At three o'clock in the afternoon, Jesus Christ, only about age 33, uttered His last words: "It is finished," declaring His redemptive work on earth complete. He gave up His Spirit. A soldier stuck a spear in His side, causing blood and water to gush out of His dead body. Jesus may have had a "cardiac rupture," the bursting of the heart, caused by severe cardiac stress. Jesus may have literally died of a "broken heart."


{Postscript: It gets even worse. Jesus then descended into hell (Ephesians 4:9), in our place. Then, just as He predicted, He was resurrected three days later! He made many appearances and was seen by more than 500 people. He then ascended into heaven, at which time two angels appeared and said He would return some day, just like He left. Many details of His birth, life, death and resurrection were prophesied hundreds of years in advance by the ancient Hebrew prophets, recorded in the Old Testament, or Jewish Bible.}

Why is this a love story?


A favorite verse in the Bible says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16, NIV).


Why was His death necessary? God is holy and perfect. Our sin separates us from Him, and for God to be consistent with His holy nature, sin must always be judged. But His love nature caused His Son to take all our judgment upon Himself. He voluntarily became our substitute. "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Christ's substitutionary death provides those who trust in Him with forgiveness, His presence now, and life with Him in heaven forever!


The Bible says about Jesus Christ (Hebrew: Yeshua HaMachiah): "...being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness…. He humbled himself and became obedient to death--even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:6-11).


His act of love was for you. Jesus did not have to go to the cross. He was the Son of God. He did it only because He loves you. He did it voluntarily. If you were the only person on earth, He would have done it just for you. Receive Christ's great love for yourself today, by faith. Trust in Him. Talk with Him often (prayer). Let Him be the Lord of your life, and obey Him. Do not reject this great love. There is no one like Him. "There is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Jesus: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).


"He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again" (2 Corinthians 5:15)



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