Volume. XVIII, No. 47
Sunday, 23 May 2004

From the pastors heart: Crucifixion of Jesus

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is in the centre of the Gospels. However, we tend to remember His suffering and death on the cross only during the Passion week. By looking into His suffering more carefully, Id like to remind all of us of His sacrifice for our sins again. Jesus was laid down, and His hands were nailed in the outstretched position to the horizontal beam. This crossbar was called the patibulum. The Romans used spikes, five to seven inches long and tapered to a sharp point. Possibly, they were driven through the wrists. Using nails on the body of the crucified ones was proven by archaeological discoveries. There are some disputes whether the nails were driven through the palms or the wrists. If He was nailed through the palms, His weight could not hold Him on the cross, and His skins were torn. Wrists were regarded as a part of hand. The nails went through His median nerves, and He must have felt extreme pain. Though we may not fully understand the extremity of His pain, we may draw a mental picture that the most sensitive nerves are banged and crushed by a pair of pliers. From this pain, a word, excruciating, came out. It literally means, out of the cross. Because there was no proper word to describe His pain, a new word was coined. Then, Jesus was nailed again through His feet. Dr. Metherell describes the body of Jesus on the cross as following (Lee Strobel, The Case for Easter, 20-21):

  1. His arms would have immediately been stretched, probably about six inches in length, and both shoulders would have become dislocated. It fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 22:13b, all my bones are out of joint.
  2. Once a person is hanging in the vertical position, crucifixion is essentially an agonizingly slow death by asphyxiation. The stresses on the muscles and diaphragm put the chest into the inhaled position; basically, in order to exhale, the individual must push up on his feet so the tension on the muscles would be eased for a moment. In doing so, the nail would tear through the foot, eventually locking up against the tarsal bones. After managing to exhale, the person would then be able to relax down and take another breath in. Again hed have to push himself up to exhale, scraping his bloodied back against the coarse wood of the cross. This would go on and on until complete exhaustion would take over, and the person wouldnt be able to push up and breathe any more.
  3. As the person slows down his breathing, he goes into what is called respiratory acidosis-the carbon dioxide in the blood is dissolved as carbonic acid, causing the acidity of the blood to increase. This eventually leads to an irregular heartbeat. In fact, with his heart beating erratically, Jesus would have known that he was at the moment of death, which is when he was able to say, Lord, into thy hands I commit my spirit. And then, he died of cardiac arrest.

Even before he died . . . the hyprvolemic shock would have caused a sustained raid heart rate that would have contributed to heart failure, resulting in the collection of fluid in the membrane around the heart, called a pericardial effusion, as well as around the lungs, which is called pleural effusion. . . . Because of what happened when the Roman soldier came around and, being fairly certain that Jesus was dead, confirmed it by thrusting a spear into his right side. It was probably his right side; thats not certain, but from the description it was probably the right side, between the ribs. The spear apparently went through the right lung and into the heart, so when the spear was pulled out, some fluid-the pericardial effusion and the pleural effusion-came out. This would have the appearance of a clear fluid, like water, followed by a large volume of blood, as the eye witness John described in his gospel.

As the Sabbath came nearer, the Jewish leaders wanted to take the bodies from their crosses before the sunset. To speed up death, the soldiers broke the legs of the two criminals being crucified with Jesus. The Romans would use the steel shaft of a short Roman spear to shatter the victims lower leg bones. This would prevent him from pushing up with his legs so he could breathe, and death by asphyxiation would result in a matter of minutes. However, the soldiers did not break Jesus legs. It is because He was already dead. Therefore, there was no need for it. Besides, it was a fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecy that His bones would not be broken. All these evidences prove that there was no chance that Jesus survived after crucifixion. He could not possibly have faked His death. The fact that the spear thrust into His heart settles all the disputes over His death. There was no possibility that Jesus swooned on the cross. Even if we agree with the skeptics that Jesus did not died and escaped from His grave, there is no way for us to explain how He appeared to his disciples on the road to Emmaus and walked with them for long distances with the crushed feet by nails and with the torn heart. Here is Dr. Metherells final argument against the view that Jesus swooned not died. A person in that kind of pathetic condition would never have inspired His disciples to go out and proclaim that Hes the Lord of life who had triumphed over the grave. Do you see what I am saying? After suffering that horrible abuse, with all the catastrophic blood loss and trauma, he would have looked so pitiful that the disciples would never have hailed him as a victorious conqueror of death; they would have felt sorry for him and tried to nurse him back to health. . . So its preposterous to think that if he had appeared to them in that awful state, his followers would have been prompted to start a worldwide movement based on the hope that someday they too would have a resurrection body like his. Theres just no way. He must have died and was risen again from the dead. His body was transformed. Thank the Lord for His crucifixion, suffering and death. We were crucified with Him toward sin and risen again with Him toward God. Praise the Lord.

Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 50: What is required in the second commandment? The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.

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). “The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed:” Psalms 28:8.

Thank God for granting journey mercies to Dn. Michael Lee (Adelaide), Sisters. Sooi Chin and Joyce Gong (Cairns) and Sis. Jasmin Chua (Adelaide).

Please pray for journey mercies for Rev. Peter Chua who will be arriving on Friday morning from Singapore. Bro. David Yeo (Singapore)

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

Mens’ Fellowship: Special Mens Fellowship meeting will be held at the Stone Mansion on Thursday 3 June at 8:00pm. Guest speaker will be Rev. Peter Chua

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

Hospitality: Rev. Peter Chua arrives on Friday 27 May. Please fill in your names in the sheet on the foyer table if you would be willing to have Rev Chua for lunch/dinner during his stay in Adelaide.

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



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