Volume. XVIII, No. 46
Sunday, 16 May 2004

From the pastors heart: the resurrection of Jesus, part 1

One of the challenges against the Christian faith is of its teaching of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This challenge comes from a wide range of doubters-both unbelievers and confessing Christians. How can a man be risen again after he died? Lee Strobel, former legal editor of Chicago Tribune and educated at Yale Law School, had this question in his mind and decided to pursue this question by interviewing well known medical and theological experts. I am going to bring out some of his points from his book, The Case for Easter, which is an outcome of his interviews.
Christ’s resurrection has been challenged.

The idea that Jesus did not die in the first place has been propagated over many centuries. Ahmadiya Muslims have contended that Jesus actually fled to India, and there is a shine which is supposed to be his burial site in Srinagar, Kashmir. Karl Bahrdt and Karl Venturini said that Jesus fainted, not died, which has been known as the swoon theory. Hugh Schonfield wrote The Passover Plot in 1965, in which he argued that “it was only the unanticipated stabbing of Jesus by the roman soldier that foiled His complicated scheme to escape the cross alive.” He conceded that this book did not represent what had actually happened. Donovan Joyce again wrote a book, The Jesus Scroll, from a similar angle. Barbara Thiering, an Australian, wrote Jesus and the Riddle of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1992 and revisited the swoon theory. However, her book was refuted by Luke Timothy Johnson as “being the purest poppycock, the product of fevered imagination rather than careful analysis.” It is sad to see that modern men and women deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ. As a result, Easter is for Easter bunnies, not for Christ and His people. Strobel interviewed many people with authorities in their respective fields and went over issues related to the resurrection of Christ one by one. I felt that his book is helpful to all of us.

Torture before the cross
Strobel interviewed Dr. Alexander Metherell who had a medical degree from the University of Miami, Florida and a doctorate in engineering from the University of Bristol in England. He is board-certified in diagnosis by the American Board of Radiology and has been a consultant to the Natiuonal Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health of Bethesda, Maryland. He has written articles ranging from Aerospace Medicine to Scientific American. His analysis of muscular contraction has been published in The Physiologist and Biophysics Journal. Therefore, he has credible credentials.

1. Jesus began to sweat blood. Is it possible?
“This is a known medical condition called hematidrosis. It is not very common, but it is associated with a high degree of psychological stress. What happens is that severe anxiety causes the release of chemicals that break down the capillaries in the sweat glands. As a result, there’s a small amount of bleeding into these glands, and the sweat comes out tinged with blood. We’re not talking about lots of blood: it’s just a very, very small amount,” he explained.

2. It does have certain effects on our bodies.
“What this did was set up the skin to be extremely fragile so that when Jesus was flogged by the Roman soldiers the next day, his skin would be very, very sensitive,” he said. The floggings Jesus received were severe ones. “Roman floggings were known to be terribly brutal. They usually consisted of thirty nine lashes but frequently were a lot more than that, depending on the mood of the soldier applying the blows. The soldier would use a whip of braided leather thongs with metal balls woven into them. When the whip would strike the flesh, these balls would cause deep bruises or contusions, which would break open with further blows. And the whip had pieces of sharp bone as well, which would cut the flesh severely. The back would be so shredded that part of the spine was sometimes exposed by the deep, deep cuts. The whipping would have gone all the way from the shoulders down to the back, the buttocks, and the back of the legs. . . One physician who has studied Roman beatings said, ‘As the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering rib-bones of bleeding flesh.’ A third century historian by the name of Eusebius described a flogging by saying, ‘The sufferer’s veins were laid bare, and the very muscles, sinews, and bowels of the victim were open to exposure. . . The victim would experience tremendous pain and go into hypovolemic shock.’”

3. What is hypovolemic shock?
“Hypo means ‘low,’ vol refers to volume, and emic means ‘blood,’ so hypovolemic shock means the person is suffering the effects of losing a large amount of blood. . . This does four things. First, the heart races to try to pump blood that isn’t there; second, the blood pressure drops, causing fainting or collapse; third, the kidneys stop producing urine to maintain what volume is left; and fourth, the person becomes very thirsty as the body craves fluids to replace the lost blood volume.” Then, is there any Gospel record that can prove that Jesus was in this condition? “Jesus was in hypovolemic shock as He staggered up the road to the execution site at Calvary, carrying the horizontal beam of the cross. Finally Jesus collapsed, and the roman soldier ordered Simon to carry the cross for him. Later we read that Jesus said, ‘I thirst,’ at which point a sip of vinegar was offered to him. Because of the terrible effects of this beating, there’s no question that Jesus was already in a serious to critical condition even before the nails were driven through His hands and feet.”

The next article is about His cross and death.
Pastor Ki

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 49: Which is the second commandment? The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Please continue to pray for Sis. Myung Ki, Rev. Peter Clements, Bro. Surish Dharmalingam, Sis Susan Varadi, Sis. Aranka Rejtoe, Sis. Irene Turner and Life Bible School (Kompong-som). “Cast thy burden upon the Lord and he shall sustain thee:” Psalms 55:22a.

Thank God for granting journey mercies to Ps. Ki (Adelaide), Dn. Michael Lee (Sydney), Bro. Lincoln Law (Warnambool), Sis. Peng Ha Yeo (Adelaide), Jasmin Chua (Adelaide).

Please pray for journey mercies for Dn. Michael Lee (Adelaide) and Sisters. Sooi Chin and Joyce Gong (Cairns), Jasmin Chua (Adelaide).

Special Meeting: Bro. Rukukye Mastaky will be giving a first hand missionary report on the state of the Central African nation of Congo. Please come this Friday and invite your friends, all are welcome.

Korean Presbyterian Church will be having a fair this coming Monday. The fair begins at 11:00am and the address is 309 The Parade, Beulah Park.

Cambodia Missions - Anyone planning to go to Cambodia, 10-31 Jan 2005, please see Ps Ki or Dn Michael D Lee ASAP.

Please note: The next term of BBK Classes will commence on 30 May 2004

Looking Ahead: Hope B-P Anniversary Service on Sunday, 6 June 2004. Guest Speaker: Rev. Peter Chua. Please invite your friends to come.

Looking Ahead: YAF Retreat from 9-11 July 2004. Venue: Boomer Beach. Please keep these dates free.



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