Description of Crucifixion by Dr. C. Truman Davis
The following description of the crucifixion is by Dr. Truman 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. Click here for more detailed description.
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.