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Birth of Jesus, Crucifixion, Resurrection

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ChristianCrucifixion of Jesus

Crucifixion and Resurrection
Jesus Christ

Crucifixion of Jesus Christ-Did He die on the cross?
(Note on graphic)


There are some who question the validity of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ was not murdered and then rose from the grave, then He is no different than any of the wise men or prophets of other religions. Jesus' resurrection is what gives Him the authority to say He is God and that there is no other means to experience eternal salvation except to acknowledge Him as your Lord and Savior.

Some will argue that Jesus was never resurrected because He did not die on the cross. We will prove that Jesus not only suffered extreme pain, but had to have died on the cross. And after His death, He was resurrected.

We will be using medical and historical information, with some references to the Bible. Of course, the Bible more than verifies the truth of Jesus' claims, but an atheist, agnostic, or new spiritual seeker may not believe the Bible is true. In regards to the authenticity of Jesus being a real person who lived on this earth, the historical information on His crucifixion and resurrection will verify there was a historical Jesus, not just a mythical person. There are several books that cover this subject matter. They have much documented evidence to prove the reliability of the Bible.

If the Bible is true, then Jesus birth, Crucifixion, and Resurrection are true. Some will argue that you can't trust the Bible because it was written by those who believed in Jesus. If you use this argument regarding biographies and history books (this is what the Four Gospels are like), you see how foolish it is. Many biographies are written by people who loved the person they are writing about, but we do not question their validity. There are those who write about history who have their prejudices but we do not deny the facts that are in their books. Read on the Validity of the Bible.

Go to for a shockwave audiovisual presentation of the crucifixion.

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| Medical Evaluation I | Medical Evaluation II | Historical Writings I |
| Historical Writings II | The Hammer |

Medical Evaluation I of Crucifixion
Jesus physical suffering started at Gethsemane. Though very rare, the phenomenon of Hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. This process might well produce marked weakness and possible shock.

Jesus is brought before the Sanhedrin and Caiphus, the High Priest; He is spat upon and struck in the face.

In the early morning, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, Jesus is taken to Pontius Pilate and Pilate condemns Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.

Preparations for the scourging were carried out when the Prisoner was stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above Jesus is whipped with a flagrum. This is a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus' shoulders, back, and legs. At first the thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles.

The small balls of lead first produce large, deep bruises which are broken open by subsequent blows. Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. The Roman soldiers throw a robe across His shoulders, place a stick in His hand, and a crown make of branches covered with long thorns is pressed into His scalp. Again there is copious bleeding, the scalp being one of the most vascular areas of the body.

After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers take the stick from His hand and strike Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, the robe is torn from His back. Already having adhered to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, its removal causes excruciating pain, and almost as though He were again being whipped the wounds once more begin to bleed.

The heavy patibulum of the cross is tied across His shoulders. In spite of His efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious blood loss, is too much. He stumbles and falls. The rough wood of the beam gouges into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders.

Simon of Cyrene is commanded to carry the cross. Jesus follows, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock, until the 650 yard journey from the fortress Antonia to Golgotha is finally completed.

Jesus quickly thrown backward 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 wrists and deep into the wood. Nails driven through the palms will strip out between the fingers when made to support the weight of the human body. Anatomists, both modern and ancient, have always considered the wrist as part of the hand.

The left foot is now 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 moderately flexed. The Victim is now crucified. As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists excruciating 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 His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.

At this point, as the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by his arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostal muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, he is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen.

Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain where tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins...A terrible 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 tissue; the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain.

Finally, Jesus cries, "Father! Into thy hands I commit my spirit."

The common method of ending a crucifixion was by crurifracture, the breaking of the bones of the legs. This prevented the victim from pushing himself upward; thus the tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest and rapid suffocation occurred. The legs of the two thieves were broken, but when the soldiers came to Jesus they saw that this was unnecessary.

Apparently to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance through the fifth interspace between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart, "And immediately there came out blood and water." That is, there was an escape of water fluid from the sac surrounding the heart, giving postmortem evidence that Jesus died not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.

Even if Jesus did not die from crucifixion and "giving up His spirit", he would have been dead after His side being pierced.

This is an edited description given by Dr. C. Truman Davis is an Ophthalmologist. Some will argue that he is just an eye doctor. Ophthalmologists (not Opticians) are required to go through the same medical training as a physician.


Medical Evaluation II of Crucifixion
The procedure of crucifixion may be summarized as follows. The patibulum was put on the ground and the victim laid upon it. Nails, about 7 inches long and with a diameter of 1 cm ( roughly 3/8 of an inch) were driven in the wrists . The points would go into the vicinity of the median nerve, causing shocks of pain to radiate through the arms. It was possible to place the nails between the bones so that no fractures (or broken bones) occurred. Studies have shown that nails were probably driven through the small bones of the wrist, since nails in the palms of the hand would not support the weight of a body. In ancient terminology, the wrist was considered to be part of the hand. (Davis) Standing at the crucifixion sites would be upright posts, called stipes, standing about 7 feet high (Edwards). In the center of the stipes was a crude seat, called a sedile or sedulum, which served a support for the victim. The patibulum was then lifted on to the stipes. The feet were then nailed to the stipes. To allow for this, the knees had to be bent and rotated laterally, being left in a very uncomfortable position. The titulus was hung above the victim's head.

There were several different types of crosses used during crucifixion. In Jesus' time, it was most likely that the cross used was a T shaped (or tau cross,), not the popular Latin, or t shaped cross which is accepted today (Lumpkin).

Having suffered from the beatings and flogging, Jesus suffered from severe hypovolemia from the loss of blood. The verses above describe His dehydrated state and loss of His strength.

When the cross was erected upright, there was tremendous strain put on the wrists, arms and shoulders, resulting in a dislocation of the shoulder and elbow joints (Metherall). The arms, being held up and outward, held the rib cage in a fixed end inspiratory position which made it extremely difficult to exhale, and impossible to take a full breath. The victim would only be able to take very shallow breaths. (This may explain why Jesus made very short statements while on the cross). As time passed, the muscles, from the loss of blood, last of oxygen and the fixed position of the body, would undergo severe cramps and spasmodic contractions

With the sin of the world upon Him, Jesus suffered spiritual death (separation from the Father ). Isaiah 59:2 says that sins cause a separation from God, and that He hides His face from you so that He does not hear. The Father must turn away from His Beloved Son on the cross. For the first time, Jesus does not address God as His Father (Courson).

  1. Shallowness of breathing causes small areas of lung collapse.
  2. Decreased oxygen and increased carbon dioxide causes acidic conditions in the tissues.
  3. Fluid builds up in the lungs. Makes situation in step 2 worse.
  4. Heart is stressed and eventually fails.

The slow process of suffering and resulting death during a crucifixion may be summarized as follows:

" appears likely that the mechanism of death in crucifixion was suffocation. The chain of events which ultimately led to suffocation are as follows: With the weight of the body being supported by the sedulum, the arms were pulled upward. This caused the intercostal and pectoral muscles to be stretched. Furthermore, movement of these muscles was opposed by the weight of the body. With the muscles of respiration thus stretched, the respiratory bellows became relatively fixed. As dyspnea developed and pain in the wrists and arms increased, the victim was forced to raise the body off the sedulum, thereby transferring the weight of the body to the feet. Respirations became easier, but with the weight of the body being exerted on the feet, pain in the feet and legs mounted. When the pain became unbearable, the victim again slumped down on the sedulum with the weight of the body pulling on the wrists and again stretching the intercostal muscles. Thus, the victim alternated between lifting his body off the sedulum in order to breathe and slumping down on the sedulum to relieve pain in the feet. Eventually , he became exhausted or lapsed into unconsciousness so that he could no longer lift his body off the sedulum. In this position, with the respiratory muscles essentially paralyzed, the victim suffocated and died. (DePasquale and Burch)

Due to the shallow breathing, the victim's lungs begin to collapse in small areas causing hypoxia and hypercarbia. A respiratory acidosis, with lack of compensation by the kidneys due to the loss of blood from the numerous beatings, resulted in an increased strain on the heart, which beats faster to compensate. Fluid builds up in the lungs. . Under the stress of hypoxia and acidosis the heart eventually fails. There are several different theories on the actual cause of death. One theory states that there was a filling of the pericardium with fluid, which put a fatal strain on the ability of the heart to pump blood (Lumpkin). Another theory states that Jesus died of cardiac rupture" (Bergsma). Another says the cause of Jesus' death "may have been multifactorial and related primarily to hypovolemic shock, exhaustion asphyxia and perhaps acute heart failure" (Edwards). A fatal cardiac arrhythmia may have caused the final terminal event (Johnson, Edwards).

The average time of suffering before death by crucifixion is stated to be about 2-4 days (Tenney). There are even reported cases where the victims lived for 9 days (Lipsius). Jesus died a relatively quick physical death. In fact, Pilate was surprised that He had died so soon (Mark 15:44). While many of the physical signs preceding death were present, Jesus did not die from physical causes.

Jesus gave up His life of His own accord. All of the final statements that Jesus makes on the cross leave one with the impression that Jesus chose His time to die. His last statement, "Into your hands I commit my Spirit" shows that Jesus' death occurred by giving Himself up. John's gospel records Jesus' death in this way: "With that He bowed His head and gave up His spirit" (John 19:30b). Matthew writes: "And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, He gave up His spirit" (Matthew 27:50).

Earlier in Jesus' ministry, Jesus made it clear that only He has the power to lay down His life (John 10:17-18). He proved His power over death by His resurrection. Jesus gave up His life of His own accord.

This is an edited description given by David Terasaka, M.D.

Short summary of the Crucifixion of Jesus/

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Historical Evidence I of Jesus' Crucifixion
1) Non-Jewish and non-Christian sources:

a) Tacitus, a Roman historian, in his Annals, c. AD 115, describes the Roman
Emperor Nero's actions after the great fire of Rome, c. AD 64:

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judća, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.
Annals 15 -44

” Mischievous Superstition”.
Exitiabilis is the latin word for mischievous. It means destructive, fatal, deadly. So it would seem that what tacitus actually said was it was “a destructive or fatal or deadly superstition”. He was calling Christianity evil. So, it is obvious that he was not a Christian, thus he would not be sharing about the death of Jesus to support the fact that there was a historical Jesus that was killed by Pontius Pilate. Note that Tacitus is not referring to the death of the Jesus as supersititon but the practice of Jesus’ followers.

A famous historian, reputed in his own days as being extremely careful and factual, Tacitus would not have been prone to writing about a movement without first checking the Roman archives to see if he could not get the most accurate report possible. He wrote his history of Rome covering the death of Augustus to the death of Domitian, that's 14-96 AD.  He used earlier works by historians cross checking them with each other. He sought to verify his facts, something unusual in the writing of the time. He clearly has bias as he hated Domitian and wasn't a great fan of Tiberius, but this would have no bearing on mentions of Christ.

Some say that Tactitus also wrote about Hercules so his works are not valid. Read our response to this accusation.

b) Lucian of Samosta, Greek satirist, second century AD, alludes to Christ:

The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day--the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account. . . . You see, these misguided creatures start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the comtempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on faith, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property.

Lucian also reported that the Christians had 'sacred writings' which were frequently read. When something affected them, "they spare no trouble, no expense."

Lucian, "The Passing of Peregrinus" 12, 13. Loeb Classical Library. English translation by A. M. Harmon (London: William Heinemann, Ltd.; Cambridge, mass.: Harvard University Press, 1936), pp. 13, 15.

Lucian, The Death of Peregrine, 11–13, in The Works of Lucian of Samosata, transl. by H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler, 4 vols. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1949), vol. 4

c) Thallus, a Samaritan-born historian, wrote a history of the Eastern Mediterranean world from the Trojan War to his own time 52 AD.  His writings are only found as citations by others. Thallus was quoted by Julius Africanus who wrote about AD 221 mentioned Thallus' account of an eclipse of the sun.

On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down. This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun.

The oddity is that Jesus' crucifixion occurred at the Passover which was a full moon.  It is not possible for a solar eclipse to occur at a full moon. So, the event had to be a supernatural event.

Julius Africanus, Extant Writings, XVIII in the Ante–Nicene Fathers, ed. by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1973), vol. VI, p. 130. as cited in Habermas, Gary R., The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company) 1996.

2. Jewish sources:

a) Josephus, Jewish historian (AD 37-100) wrote of Jesus:

"About this time appeared Jesus, a wise man (if indeed it is right to call Him man; for He was a worker of astonishing deeds, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with joy), and He drew to Himself many Jews (many also of Greeks. This was the Christ.) And when Pilate, at the denunciation of those that are foremost among us, had condemned Him to the cross, those who had first loved Him did not abandon Him (for He appeared to them alive again on the third day, the holy prophets having foretold this and countless other marvels about Him.) The tribe of Christians named after Him did not cease to this day." (Jewish Antiquities, 18.3.3 §63 )

Most scholars agree that the statements in italics were added later by others, most likely Christians. However, there has not been any dispute regarding the accuracy of his statement regarding the crucifixion of Jesus.

b) The Jewish Talmud (Centuries of Jewish oral tradition committed to
writing between AD 200 and AD 500), In the Babylonian Talmud in tractate Sanhedrin (43A), there is an interesting reference to Jesus.

On the eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu (of Nazareth) and the herald went
before him for forty days saying (Yeshu of Nazareth) is going to be stoned
in that he hath practiced sorcery and beguiled and led astray Israel. Let
everyone knowing aught in his defense come and plead for him. But they found
naught in his defense and hanged him on the eve of Passover.

The Babylonian Talmud, transl. by I. Epstein (London: Soncino, 1935), vol. III, Sanhedrin 43a, p. 281 as cited in Habermas, Gary R., The Historical Jesus: Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ, (Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing Company) 1996.

3. Conclusions from the non-biblical sources:

Historians and others that were not Christians, acknowledge the death and/or crucifixion of Jesus. Most Jews even to this day don't doubt that Jesus died on a cross. They just don't recognize Him as the Messiah and that He rose from the dead.

Some of this information is from Spotlight on Muslim Misconceptions Website.

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Historical Evidence II of Jesus' Crucifixion
Justin Martyr, an early Christian apologist, made clear reference to a document called the Acts of Pilate in a letter addressed to the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius in AD 150. Describing in detail the passion of Jesus he writes:

And the expression "They pierced my hands and feet," was used in reference to the nails of the cross which were fixed in His hands and feet. And after He was crucified, they cast lots upon His vesture, and they that crucified Him parted it among them. And that these things did happen, you can ascertain from the ‘Acts of Pontius Pilate’ (First Apology 35:7-9, translation from Rev. Alexander Roberts D.D. and James Donaldson LL.D editors, The Anti Nicene Fathers, Vol 1, WM B. Eerdman Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 174-75).

Justin went on to list many of Jesus’ miracles such as the healing of the blind and the lepers. He also credits Jesus with raising people from the dead. This description of Jesus’ deeds is concluded with the following words:

And that He did those things, you can learn from the ‘Acts of Pilate’ (First Apology 48:3, Ibid. p. 179).

Justin must have assumed that this record still existed in the official Roman archives and that Antoninus Pius could verify the facts easily. Justin’s whole purpose in writing his letter was to obtain mercy from the highest official in the known world, thus sparing the Christian community a persecution which was becoming so commonplace. It is unlikely that Justin would ask a Roman Emperor to check a document if he did not feel extremely confident that the document existed. Otherwise, he would be foolishly putting his own life and reputation at risk.

There is currently not one original copy of the Acts of Pilate. It also appears the Acts of Pilate had some mean things to say about Christians, so later in time copies started being circulated that were edited. Even though there is no manuscript, again there had to have been something that said what Justin was quoting or he would have no defense.

Another early Christian leader, Tertullian (160-220AD), wrote to Roman officials about the unusual events surrounding the trial, death and resurrection of Jesus. Discussing a time when the Roman Senate actually considered classifying Jesus as a Roman deity due to the miraculous nature of his life, he wrote:

To go back to the origin of such laws there was an old decree that no one should be consecrated a god by an emperor till he had been approved by the senate. Marcus Aemilus followed this procedure in the case of a false god, Alburnus. This reinforces my argument that among you, godhead is conferred by human approval, if a god does not satisfy man he does not become a god, so according to this it is for man to show favor to God. Tiberius then in whose time the name of Christian came into the world, when a report of this doctrine reached him from Palestine where it originated, communicated to the senate making it clear to them that he favored the doctrine. The senate however, because they had not examined the doctrine for themselves, rejected it. But Tiberius stuck to his own view and threatened to execute any who accused the Christians (Apology 5, Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson Anti-Nicene Fathers Vol. 3, Hendrickon Publishers, Peabody, Massachusettes 1995, pp. 21-22).

It should be noted that Christianity is a religion based upon relationship, not knowledge. It is a religion of faith not logic. The information provided is to help answer questions, but ultimately you must believe in the gospel accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ because you believe in the claims of Jesus that we are sinners and we  need a savior.
How To Accept Christ

Note on Graphic:
Most of the pictures that you see of Jesus on the cross are not accurate.
1. During His time, most of the crosses were in the shape of a T. The top part of the T, patibulum, is what He would have carried.
2. He would have been naked.
3. His body would have been grotesque to look at.

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by Ray Boltz
The Hammernotes.gif (802 bytes)notes.gif (802 bytes)notes.gif (802 bytes)
click on link to hear audio

Click on image if you need to download RealPlayer G2

I was in the crowd the day that Jesus died
And as He hung upon the cross His mother cried

I saw the crown of thorns He wore
The stripes upon His back
The water and the blood ran out
And then the sky turned black
My mind was filled with anger
My heart was filled with shame
The man brought only healing
Who could bring Him pain
Why does it seem the strong
Always victimize the weak
And suddenly I found myself
Standing to my feet

And I cried
Who nailed Him there
This child of peace and mercy
Who nailed Him there
Come and face me like a man
Who nailed Him there
And the crowd began to mock me
I cried oh my God I just don't understand
Then I turned and saw the hammer
In my hand!

I am just a Roman soldier
An ordinary man
I love my wife and children
I do the best I can
How could I have killed Him
It must be someone else
There's got to be an answer
I just can't blame myself

Repeat Chorus

I nailed Him there
This child of peace and mercy
I nailed Him there
I am the guilty man
I nailed Him there
With my sins and transgressions
I cried oh my God now I understand
When I turned and saw the hammer...
In my hand!



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