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pray_hands.GIF (680 bytes) Prayer & Spirituality
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The Medical view of His suffering

by Gerald H. Bradley M. D.

Condition of Jesus

During the 12 hours between 9 PM Thursday and 9 AM Friday, he had suffered great emotional distress (as evidenced by hematidrosis), abandonment by his closest friends (the disciples), and a physical beating (after the first Jewish trial). Also, in the setting of a traumatic and sleepless night, he had been forced to walk more than 4km to and from the sites of the various trials. These physical and emotional factors may have rendered Jesus particularly vulnerable to the adverse hemodynamic effects of the scourging.

Jesus took his disciples to the garden of Gethsemane to pray… They all fall asleep. He was alone. He knew what we must pass through.
This is known in medical terms as "Hematidrosis" (Bleeding Sweat). This strange effect sometimes happens when emotional pressures are so great that tiny blood vessels burst in the sweat glands and mix the blood with the sweat causing great weakness"
Gerald H. Bradley, M.D

"And being in agony he prayed until his sweat became as great drops of blood falling to the ground." Luke 22:44

The Scourging of Jesus

At the Praetorium, Jesus was severely whipped. It is not known whether the number of lashes was limited to 39, in accordance with Jewish law. The severe scourging, with its intense pain and appreciable blood loss, most probably left Jesus in a preshock state. Moreover, hematidrosis had rendered his skin particularly tender. The physical and mental abuse meted out by the Jews and the Romans, as well as the lack of food, water, and sleep, also contributed to his generally weakened state. Moreover he was mocked, beaten and made fun by soldiers. Therefore, even before the actual crucifixion, Jesus' physical condition was at least serious and possibly critical.

The leather whip usually had pieces of steel, balls of lead and sharp bones attached

Medical aspects

As the Roman soldiers repeatedly struck the victim's back with full force, the iron balls would cause deep contusions, and the leather thongs and sheep bones would cut into the skin and subcutaneous tissues. Then, as the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the underlying skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh. Pain and blood loss generally set the stage for circulatory shock. The extent of blood loss may well have determined how long the victim would survive on the cross.

This what they used to jam his head while he was in shock and loss of blood. It had 1 to 6 inch of thorns. He was mocked by soldiers.

After all the cruel scourging, His flesh is hanging in ribbons. While he suffered, he was ordered to carry a cross weighing over 100 pounds, 650 yards to the place of execution (Golgotha). The rough wood gouged into His torn back. By now He was dehydrated. Only miracle was that he was living. 

Rusty nails were driven on both his hands and his feet. It was driven amongst the carpal bones of the wrists instead of his palms. Because of the weight of his body would have ripped away the flesh between his fingers.

In ROME, they considered the wrist to be part of the hand.

The rusty, germ laden nails would caused gangrene and tetanus to victims.

This was the most agonizing death man could face. 

He had to support himself in order to breathe. The flaming pain caused by the spikes hitting the median nerve in the wrists explodes up his arms, into his brain and down his spine. The spike burning through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet jerks his body erect, then the leg muscles convulse and drive his body downward…beating him against the cross.

Air is sucked in, but cannot be exhaled until the buildup of carbon dioxide in the lungs and blood stream stimulates breathing to relieve the cramps.

Exhaustion, shock, dehydration and paralysis destroy the victim. The heart is barely able to pump the thick blood as each of his billions of cells die one at a time.

Prior to his death in all his agony, Jesus is in full control of his mind, he asks "Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing" (Luke 23:34).

Finally in death the blood coagulates and separates into serum and clotted blood cells.
Gerald H. Bradley M.D

"For God (The Father) so loved the world (that's you and me), that He gave His one and only Son (Jesus) that whosoever believes in Him (trust), should not perish (in the lake fire), but have everlasting life (in Heaven)" John 3:16

 See Also:

The Meaning of the Cross
Although the cross reveals the ugliness of human heart, it also reveals God's grace and forgiveness. It was on the cross God himself laid upon our sins upon His own dear Son, Jesus Christ. On that cross, Jesus paid the penalty of our sins.

The Passion of the Christ: Review of the Movie - From a Christian Perspective
In my opinion, the move is exceptionally good in depicting the last 12 hours of Jesus Christ. It truthfully depicts what is in the Gospels; a few artistic liberties were taken, however, without affecting what is portrayed in the bible. And these are kept absolutely to a minimum.

The Passion of The Christ: Another Review
When I sat down this evening to write a review of The Passion of The Christ, you must imagine how profound it is for me that I am struggling with words and with the very idea of having to write about this movie. To say I am at a loss doesn't begin to express how inadequate I feel to even attempt to convey all that this movie is.

Passion of Christ- Mel Gibson's Act of Faith
Mr. Gibson emerged as a man with strong convictions about his faith as he detailed his own passions for alcohol, drugs etc. which brought him close to suicide once. On TV, he witnessed how Christ's passion helped him overcome his battles in life.

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