Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Death of Jesus



Last week I talked about John 19 and the death of Jesus. Here a medical doctor provides a physical description:

The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man 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 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 flex 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 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 bones of his feet. As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them 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. He 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 subsided.

Spasmodically, he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen. Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint wrenching cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against 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 has reached a critical level-the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues and the tortured lungs are making frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues...Finally, he can allow his body to die...

All this the Bible records with the simple words, "and they crucified Him", (Mark 15:24).

What wondrous love is this? Many people don't know all the pain and suffering Jesus Christ went through for us...because of the brutality, crucifixion was given as a sentence to only its worst offenders of the law. Thieves, murderers, and rapists would be the types who got crucified. Yet, here Jesus is being crucified between two hardened criminals...What did Jesus do? Did he murder anyone? Did he steal anything? The answer as we all know is NO!! Jesus did nothing to deserve this type of death, yet he went willing to die, in between 2 thieves, so that we might be saved. And there, in between the sinners, was our slain savior for our sins.

Thoughts?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

We often do not consider ourselves "that bad". Our sins are "little" sins. We gossip, we lie (but only to "help" situations), we manipulate (would we admit that?), we take our anger out on our families, we whine.

What is grace, if we don't think we really need it? What was the agony the Lord endured for, if we're happy living our fluffy Christian lives, and going to our happy little church? What were the wounds endured for, if we won't receive the healing He has provided?

People that understand the work of the cross are those who know they are completely depraved. People that know they must cling to the cross, or they're doomed. People that know they walk in victory not because of anything they have done, but because of what Christ has done. There is nothing good in us. We can't even do the good we WANT to do. Jesus. Oh JESUS. Forgive us. Lord, have mercy.

SoulPastor said...

So true!

Lexi said...

I hate thinking of my Jesus suffering like that and to think, I am the one that deserved that torture - my children, my husband, my mother and father...each of us.

This is why we need to be aggressive with sharing the gospel - so that the death of Jesus was not in vain.

filletofsoul said...

This is a bit off track, but on Sunday your life lesson talked about our sins and Christs redemptive act to forgive them. I have a question about "sin". What do you call sin? Lying, cheating, gossip, murder, adultry....I have heard these all referred to as "sin". Are they not just the EXPRESSION of our sin or in other words the acting out of our sin? If you can catagorize "sin" as the things mentioned above then you get sucked into the idea of "big" and "small" sins. Isn't all sin seen as equal in God's eyes? Back to you....thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder to stay focused on the cross and the immensity of the gift given there as we enter this season of celebrating His birth.

Anonymous said...

While the physical suffering was intense, I can't imagine the soul suffering Jesus endured. The Father's wrath? That's worse than crucifixion any day.

the first anonymous (sorry) said...

This is my third and final attempt to respond to filletofsoul... it keeps deleting.

I believe there are "big" and "small" sins in relation to how they affect people. Murder, rape, adultery, violent crimes, etc... carry bigger consequences in terms of hurting people. Sins like worry, unforgiveness, manipulation, jealousy, greed, etc, can be totally internal... other people may never know about them. Most internal sin eventually comes out in our actions if we entertain our sinful thoughts. Jesus said that "anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart". So, that would be sin. The one sin that God has said He hates is pride. It is in all of us, internally, but it manifests itself in so many different ways.

However, even if a person never, ever acted out a sin in their whole lifetime (yeah, right...) he would still go to hell. Why? because of our 'sinful nature'. If we look closely at our motivation for doing things, even things that are good, we will usually find something 'fleshly' behind it. And that is even after we know the Lord! How do I know this? Well, without doing a big study, if you believe that the Bible is the truth and the inerrant Word of God, then you will see that Hebrews 6:18 says, "it is impossible for God to lie", and Romans 3:23, which says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God". Here's another verse. Romans 5:12 says, "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because ALL SINNED..."

So, in my opinion, sin is "equal" in terms of our relationship with God, but not in our relationships with people, or the damage it can cause on earth.

Unfortunately, this post has mutated from my original, but I hope my opinion is clear - and I hope it works this time around, because I'm not redoing it again!

SoulPastor said...

Fishy,

I have been out of town and was unable to post a reply to your question, but Anonymous jumped in nicely. You asked “What is sin?” Fortunately we do not have to search very long in the Bible to find the answer to that question. The Bible gives the answer right at the beginning in the account that it gives of the very first sin of man. What was that first sin of man, according to the Bible? It was disobedience to a command of God. God said, "You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree"; but man ate of the fruit of the tree: and that was sin. There we have our definition of sin.

That was God's law; it was a definite command. Man disobeyed that command; man did what God told him not to do: and that was sin. But the law of God runs all through the Bible. It is not found just in this passage or that, but it is the background of everything that the Bible says regarding the relations between God and man.

Someone once said that "Sin is any want of conformity unto, or transgression of, the law of God." Those are the words of the Shorter Catechism, not of the Bible; but they are true to what the Bible teaches from Genesis to Revelation. The most elementary thing about sin is that it is that which is contrary to God's law. You cannot believe in the existence of sin unless you believe in the existence of the law of God. The idea of sin and the idea of law go together.

That being so, I ask you just to run through the Bible in your mind and consider how very pervasive in the Bible is the Bible's teaching about the law of God.
We have a tendency to categorize, and that is ok…it does help us understand, however…sin is still sin to GOD no matter how big or small we see it.