Luke 23:34 "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do"
Medical experts, historians and archaeologists have examined in detail the execution that Jesus Christ voluntarily endured. All agree that he suffered one of the most gruelling and painful forms of capital punishment ever devised by man. Here is a brief summary of some of the things we know from history, archaeology and medicine about his last hours...
Jesus had the weight of the world on his shoulders. Even before the crucifixion began, he clearly had physical symptoms associated with severe stress. The night before the execution, his disciples reported seeing Jesus in agony on the Mount of Olives. Not only did he not sleep all night, but he seems to have been sweating profusely. So great was the stress that tiny blood vessels were rupturing in his sweat glands and emitting as great red drops that fell to the ground. This symptom of severe stress is called hematohidrosis.
Jesus was physically exhausted and in danger of going into shock unless he received fluids (which he apparently did not). This is the man that the Roman soldiers tortured.
Having previously been beaten by the Jews, it was now the Romans' turn. The beatings administered by Roman soldiers are well known to have been very bloody, leaving lacerations all over the body. Romans designed their whips to cut the flesh from their victim's bodies. These beatings were designed to be painful to the extreme. It would also cause a fluid build up around his lungs. In addition, a crown of thorns was forced into his scalp which was capable of severely irritating major nerves in his head, causing increasing and excruciating pain, as the hours wore on.
In Christ's severely stressed condition, these beatings were easily enough to kill him. His body was horribly bruised, cut and bleeding. Having had no nourishment for many hours, and having lost fluids through profuse sweating and much bleeding, Jesus would have been severely dehydrated. This brutal torture would certainly be sending him into what doctors call "shock", and shock kills.
In addition, Jesus was forced to carry the the wooden beam on which he would die. Imagine the effect of carrying a heavy weight if you were in that condition.
Hung completely naked before the crowd, the pain and damage caused by crucifixion were designed to be so devilishly intense that one would continually long for death, but could linger for days with no relief.
According to medical experts, piercing of the median nerve of the hands with a nail would cause severe, excruciating, burning pain; like lightning bolts traversing the arm into the spinal cord. Rupturing the foot's plantar nerve with a nail would have a similarly horrible effect.
Furthermore, the position of the body on a cross is designed to make it extremely difficult to breathe.
Just think of the tortuous effect --dizziness, cramp, thirst, starvation, sleeplessness, traumatic fever, tetanus, shame, publicity of shame, long continuance of torment, horror of anticipation, mortification of untended wounds - and all intensified just up to the point at which they can be endured at all, but all stopping just short of the point which would give to the suffer the relief of unconsciousness.
At the ninth hour (the time at which a sacrificial lamb was killed everyday in the Jewish temple), Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?". After uttering "It is finished", He gave up His life. This may have been at just the time when the temple's priestly ram's horn would have been blown, announcing that the priests had completed the sacrifice of the lamb for the sins of Israel. Also, at that moment, the great thick curtain that closed the Holy of Holies room from view, ripped open from top to bottom.
Some medical opinion is that Jesus did not die from exhaustion, the beatings or the three hours of crucifixion, but that he died from agony of mind producing rupture of the heart. This is based on what happened when the Roman soldier pierced Christ's left side. The Bible reports that the spear released a sudden flow of blood and water . Not only does this prove that Jesus was already dead when pierced, but it could also be evidence of cardiac rupture.
Whatever the final cause of death, there is no question that it was painful beyond words.
Near the end, a criminal beside him mocked, "If you are the Christ, save yourself and us". Little did this sinner know that the Man he was speaking to hung there voluntarily. He was speaking to our Creator, capable of releasing all the power in the universe and beyond, and easily saving Himself. Jesus remained in this agony and shame, not because He was powerless, but because of His incredible love for humanity. He suffered to provide the needed way of salvation for you and for me.
This article was closely based on "Why did Jesus Christ die" from Christian Answers.
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!