- To understand the power and glory of Jesus’ Resurrection, you must understand how utterly terrible His death was.
- Crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300 BC, and perfected by the Romans in 100 BC.
- It is the most painful death ever invented by man and is where we get our term “excruciating.” It was reserved primarily for the most vicious and the vilest of male criminals.
- The Crucifixion of Jesus guaranteed a horrific, slow, painful death.
- Jesus was stripped naked, and His clothing divided by the Roman guards.
(Psalms 22:18 NKJV) (18) They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.
- Prior to going to the Cross, Jesus endured a horrific beating by the Roman soldiers which would have literally ripped open His flesh and made bone visible.
(Psalms 22:17 NKJV) (17) I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.
- Jesus refused the anesthetic wine which was offered to Him by the Roman soldiers because of His promise in Matthew 26:29:
(Matthew 26:29 NKJV) (29) But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
- Having been nailed the Cross, Jesus now had an impossible anatomical position to maintain. Jesus’ knees were flexed at about 45 degrees, and He was forced to bear His weight with the muscles of His thigh, which is not an anatomical position which is possible to maintain for more than a few minutes without severe cramp in the muscles of the thigh and calf.
- Jesus’ weight was borne on His feet, with nails driven through them. As the strength of the muscles of Jesus’ lower limbs tired, the weight of His body had to be transferred to His wrists, His arms, and His shoulders.
- Within a few minutes of being placed on the Cross, Jesus’ shoulders were dislocated. Minutes later, Jesus’ elbows and wrists became dislocated. The result of these upper limb dislocations is that His arms were 9 inches longer than normal, as clearly shown on the Shroud of Turin.
(Psalms 22:14 NKJV) (14) I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me.
- After Jesus’ wrists, elbows, and shoulders were dislocated, the weight of His body on his upper limbs caused traction forces on the pectoral muscles of His chest wall. In order to breathe out, Jesus had to push down on the nails in His feet to raise His body and allow His rib cage to move downwards and inwards to expire air from His lungs. The crucified victim was physiologically forced to move up and down the cross, a distance of about 12 inches, in order to breathe.
- The process of respiration caused excruciating pain, mixed with the absolute terror of asphyxiation. Jesus’ movements up and down the Cross to breathe caused excruciating pain in His wrists, His feet, His back, and His dislocated elbows and shoulders.
- As the six hours of the Crucifixion wore on, Jesus was less and less able to bear His weight on His legs, as His thigh and calf muscles became increasingly exhausted. There was increasing dislocation of His wrists, elbows and shoulders, and further elevation of His chest wall, making His breathing more and more difficult. Within minutes of crucifixion Jesus became severely short of breath.
- The pain from His two shattered median nerves in His wrists exploded with every movement.
- Jesus was covered in blood and sweat. The blood was a result of the scourging that nearly killed Him, and the sweat as a result of His violent involuntary attempts to effort to expire air from His lungs. Throughout all this He was completely naked, and the leaders of the Jews, the crowds, and the thieves on both sides of Him were jeering, swearing and laughing at Him. In addition, Jesus’ own mother was watching.
- Physiologically, Jesus’ body was undergoing a series of catastrophic and terminal events.
- His blood oxygen level began to fall, and He developed Hypoxia (low blood oxygen). In addition, because of His restricted respiratory movements, His blood carbon dioxide (CO2) level began to rise, a condition known as Hypercritical.
- The Respiratory Center in Jesus’ brain sent urgent messages to his lungs to breathe faster, and Jesus began to pant. He involuntarily moved up and down the Cross much faster, despite the excruciating pain. The agonizing movements spontaneously started several times a minute, to the delight of the crowd who jeered Him, the Roman soldiers, and the Sanhedrin.
- However, due to His increasing exhaustion, He was unable to provide more oxygen to His oxygen starved body.
- The twin forces of too little oxygen and too much CO2 caused His heart to beat faster and faster, and Jesus developed Tachycardia. Jesus’ heart beat faster and faster, and His pulse rate was probably about 220 beats/ minute, the maximum normally sustainable.
- Jesus had drunk nothing for 15 hours, since 6 pm the previous evening. Jesus had endured a scourging which nearly killed Him. He was bleeding from all over His body following the Scourging, the crown of thorns, the nails in His wrists and feet, and the lacerations following His beatings and falls.
- Jesus was already very dehydrated, and His blood pressure fell alarmingly. His blood pressure was probably about 80/50.
- He was in First Degree Shock, with low blood volume, excessively fast Heart Rate, excessively fast Respiratory Rate, and excessive sweating. By about noon Jesus was in Heart Failure and Respiratory Failure.
- Jesus’ lungs probably began to fill up with fluid. This only served to exacerbate His breathing, which was already severely compromised.
- At this stage plasma and blood gathered in the space around His heart, called the Pericardium. This fluid around His heart prevented Jesus’ heart from beating properly.
(John 19:34 NLT) (34) One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water flowed out.
- Because of the increasing physiological demands on Jesus’ heart, Jesus probably eventually sustained Cardiac Rupture. His heart literally burst. This was probably the cause of His death. He literally died of a broken heart.
- To slow the process of death the soldiers put a small wooden seat on the Cross, which would allow Jesus the “privilege” of bearing His weight on his sacrum. The effect of this was that it could take up to nine days to die on a Cross. When the Romans wanted to expedite death they would simply break the legs of the victim, causing the victim to suffocate in a matter of minutes.
- At three o’clock in the afternoon Jesus said, “It is finished.” At that moment, He gave up His Spirit, and He died.
- When the soldiers came to Jesus to break His legs, He was already dead. Not a bone of His body was broken, in fulfillment of prophecy.
(Psalms 34:20 NKJV) (20) He guards all his bones; Not one of them is broken.
(Exodus 12:46 NKJV) (46) In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones.
- Jesus died after six hours of the most excruciating and terrifying torture ever invented.
Why did Jesus have to experience all of this?
- The plan of God was for Him to pay the price that all of mankind was supposed to pay.
You see it was not enough that Jesus died that horrible death for us because it is not just about physical death. It is about spiritual death and spiritual life.
As bad as the Cross was, the most excruciating thing that Jesus had to endure was something much worse than physical death itself. For the first time in all of His eternal existence, He had to experience separation from God, which is spiritual death.
(Matthew 27:46 NKJV) (46) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” (Direct quote of Psalm 22:1)
- Jesus paid the FULL price for all mankind.
(Hebrews 2:9 NKJV) (9) But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.
(Hebrews 7:27 NLT) (27) Unlike those other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices every day. They did this for their own sins first and then for the sins of the people. But Jesus did this once for all when He offered Himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.
- When the time came, there was nothing that could hold Him. Death, Hell, and the grave could not keep Him from getting up.
(Acts 2:23-24 NLT) But God knew what would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. With the help of lawless Gentiles, you nailed him to a cross and killed him. (24) But God released him from the horrors of death and raised him back to life, for death could not keep him in its grip.
As a three part being made up of spirit, soul and body, we need life in our spirit because we are spiritually dead without Jesus. That is why just being religious is not the answer. It does not address the root of the problem. Because of man’s sin in the Garden of Eden, all of humanity is born into spiritual death. Just as in the first time in His eternal existence Jesus experienced spiritual death, we can through Him for the first time in all of our existence, receive spiritual life.
- Jesus did not die to make bad people good. He died and was resurrected to make dead people alive!
- When you receive Christ, you are not just being forgiven of your sins, you are receiving new life, the life of God. Death must loosen its grip on you too!
(Romans 6:6-11 NLT) We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. (7) For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. (8) And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. (9) We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. (10) When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. (11) So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
- When you make the decision to receive Christ, there is nothing that can hold you back either!
- We celebrate the Resurrection not just because Jesus was raised from the dead, but we were raised up with Him.