Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Crucifixion

Matthew 27:
33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.

Jesus had arrived at the place of the crucifixion, Golgotha, "the Place of the Skull." Some say its named because the mountain resembled the shape of a skull, others  say that it was covered in skulls from those that had been killed by the Romans. We don't know for sure why it was called that.

If Christ hadn't died by late that afternoon (when he did) rather than being buried, His body would have been thrown in the city dump, animals would have scattered His remains... God didn't allow for this. (Acts 2:31 "Nor did His flesh suffer decay")

When the crowd arrived there at Calvary the soldiers offered the victims a drink of vinegar mixed with myrrh. This was a drink to take the edge off from the pain (knockout drink) Christ tasted it, then spat it out -- why would He do this? Wouldn't He want something to take the edge off? Nope. He came to suffer ALL the pain for US!- He wasn't willing to dull His suffering even the slightest bit.

If you know anything about crucifixion, you know its not all fun and games, nor is it pretty and nice. Definitely not the prettiest way to die....
So get ready, this will get intense. While it can be hard to read or even study, its is fundamental to our faith and for us to realize of how much Jesus went through out of His Love for us.
Crucifixion probably began in Persia, Alexander the Great introduced it to Egypt, and Carthage and then the Romans probably learned it from the Carthaginians.
Even though the Romans didn't invent it,  they perfected the torture that was intended for a slow and painful death with more pain and suffering we could ever imagine. It was one of the most cruel methods of execution, normal for slaves, foreigners, revolutionaries, and the vilest of all criminals.In Persia the victim was either tied to a tree or at an upright post, to keep the feet from touching the ground. only later was a true cross used. The upright post (stipes) and a horizontal crossbar (patibulum) there were several variations, based on geographic region and in accordance with the imagination of the executioners.

They threw Christ down onto the crossbar (Patibulum) then they put two "nails" in his wrists.These were not little nails.. these nails were  5-7 inch iron spikes. and about a centimeter in diameter.; we often see images with Jesus having hold in his palms, but the Greek word for palm can also mean wrist. The palm would have been torn, most scholars believe that they were between two small bones on the inner side of his lower arm... they had to be careful not to strike an artery, or he would have bled too fast. Crucifixion is not a quick death.

After nailing His hands, they placed a small block of wood under His back and pusehed His knees towards His chest, and they drove one spike (5-7in long) through both of His feet. The soldiers were carful to keep Jesus' knees high toward His chestwhich would allow Him to push againste the block. this would prolong his life, and the pain.


When the victim's arms and legs were outstretched, the blood would settle toward the bottom of the body - which would cause low blood pressure and a high pulse.- in which the victim would pass out. for this reason, they provided a small block some say it was very sharp...  for the victim to sit on. this kept the blood circulating the the victim would stay conscious in order to experience the intensity of it all.
Often the  pectoral muscles would atrophy (freeze) and we can only imagine the discomfort that settled in the upper arms, neck and shoulders. this meant air would come into the lungs, but not escape, causing them to choke to death. to avoid this, the victim would stand up, placing pressure on this feet in order to relive the pain in the arms and chest...
so as the the victim was struggling and moved in order to find comfort, there was damage to the tailbone since that block that they were sitting on was sharp.
When Jesus' hands and feet were nailed four soldiers lifted up the cross with Jesus on it, and shoved it into a hold dug for the occasion.the jolt of the cross falling into the hole must have been a shock.
This might have been when His bones popped out of joint. ("I am poured out like water, and all my  bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me"Psalm 2:14)

After a few moments on the cross Jesus's body ached violently. nerves in his hands and feet had been shattered, and He began to experience swelling around the joints and His wounds. infection would have quickly invaded His wounds, not only the wounds that he had received getting on the cross, but all the wounds that he had gotten when he was scourged and beaten from the soldiers.

Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short 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 the life-giving oxygen.
in the next blog post we will look at what Jesus spoke on the cross.
we have almost made it through the crucifixion.