Today’s Scripture and Thought
Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.1 Corinthians 15:12-19
After stating the above Paul says the following in verse 20, But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Earlier in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Paul said this;
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
Did Jesus really die on the cross? Was His death faked? Let’s look at the medical evidence. In Lee Strobel’s book The Case for Christ he interviews Dr. Robert J. Stein and Alexander Metherell, M.D., PH.D. In these interviews some facts that only medical doctors could see surface.
The torture that would end on the cross actually began in the garden of Gethsemane. The Bible says in Luke 22:41-44; “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
There is a medical condition called hematdrosis. It is a condition associated with a very high degree of psychological stress. What happens is that severe anxiety causes the release of chemicals that break down small blood vessels in the sweat glands. As a result there is a small amount of bleeding occurs and the sweat comes out tinged with blood. It also has the effect of making the person’s skin extremely fragile so that when Jesus was flogged by the Roman soldier His skin would have been very, very sensitive.
Roman flogging was very brutal and though the sentence given was usually 39 lashes, the prisoner frequently received more depending on the mood of the soldier giving out the punishment. They 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 very deep cuts.
One physician who has studied Roman beatings said, ” As the flogging continued, the lacerations would tear into the skeletal muscles and produce quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh.” A historian by the name Eusebius who lived in the third century described it saying. “The sufferer’s veins were laid bare and the insides of his body were laid open to exposure”
Many people were known to have died from a beating like this before they were crucified. At the very least the person would suffer a tremendous amount of pain and go into hypovolemic shock which is a condition brought on by loss of a large amount of blood.
Because of the terrible effects of the beating Jesus received there is no question that Jesus was already in a critical condition even before the nails were driven through His hands and feet.
After He arrived at Golgotha, they bound Him to a cross. They fastened him to it by driving spikes that were 5 to 7 inches long through His wrists just below the palms. This is where the median nerve runs. This is the largest nerve going into the hand and it would have been crushed by the spike. The pain that this would have produced would be like someone taking a pair of pliers and squeezing and crushing that nerve. Imagine the pain of a dentist accidently hitting a nerve in your mouth but instead of the pain leaving, it stays. He was then hoisted up and spikes were driven through His feet, producing the same pain He received in His hands. This is just the beginning of what He suffered. Next because of the weight of His body on the cross His arms would have stretched and His shoulders would have become dislocated.
Crucifixion is essentially an agonizingly slow death by asphyxiation. The reasons for this is that the stresses on the muscles and diaphragm put the chest into an inhaled position and to exhale the person must push up on his feet so that the tension on the muscles would be eased for a moment. Each breath was complete agony. Every time the person would struggle to breath their battered back and spine would rub against the rough wood of the cross and the spikes would tear deeper into their flesh. Eventually exhaustion would set in and they would go into a condition called respiratory acidosis. This eventually leads to an irregular heartbeat and to finally a heart attack. This is the manner in which Jesus died.
How do we know He actually died and didn’t faint? When a person dies their blood stops flowing and in Jesus case because of the hypovolemic shock which contributed to the rapid heartbeat and failure, there was a collection of fluid in the membrane around the heart and as well as the lungs. So when the Roman soldier thrust the spear into Jesus side blood and water flowed out. This can only occur if a person’s heart has stopped beating and is dead.
Jesus died in a way that exacted the most pain that a human being could endure and He did it all with you in mind. Jesus was not killed, He gave His life willingly and became the ultimate sacrifice bridging the gap that sin had made between us and God.
But He didn’t stay dead. Christ is risen! He is risen Indeed!
Today’s Worship Songs
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1. Wake – Hillsong Young & Free
2. Jesus I Come – Elevation Worship
3. His Eye is On the Sparrow – Newsboys
4. Good Fight – Unspoken
5. Light of the World – Jesus Culture
6. I Lift My Hands – Chris Tomlin
7. Jesus Friend of Sinners – Casting Crowns
God bless and keep you – Gerry Desjardins
Today’s Worship is a ministry of The Worshipper’s Space