Tag Archives: cross

A MENTAL CHALLENGE FROM GOD


William Andrew Dillard

PARSON TO PERSON

A MENTAL CHALLENGE FROM GOD

All who take the name of Christ Jesus in salvation and discipleship are issued a distinct mental challenge from God. To ignore it is folly, incurring great loss. To take it up is to benefit in both in time and in eternal reward. What is this mental challenge? It is to have the same mindset as Jesus did in His earthly ministry. Now wait! Don’t you dare to shut your mind down to this challenge under the puny excuse that you can’t do that because you still live in the sinful flesh. Don’t you think God knows that? Do you think He is playing mind games with His people? No? Then think with me!
There is always an excuse for failure. He addressed that in Phil. 2: 3-4, but the biblical admonition is to overcome the excuses by dedication to the practices set forth in the grace and word of God. The apostle Paul appealed to the church at Philippi, and by application to the Lord’s true churches throughout the age, to press forward in Christian maturity to fulfill both his joy, as well as the joy of the Master. He was specific in the challenge.
Said he, if there be any consolation, comfort of love, fellowship of the Spirit, any compassion and mercies, they would fulfill his joy by being of one mind in these Christian qualities. The bottom line is concisely stated in Phil. 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Consider then the exaltation/abasement of the God-man Jesus. He was in the form of God. He did not consider it robbery to be counted equal with God, but did not seek a reputation for Himself. He took upon Himself the form of a slave and humbled Himself in obedience even to the death of the cross.
Folks can twist the scriptures of Philippians 2:1-5, as many do, and surely will, but they remain in their purity the inspired Word of God, a challenge to every Christian to, as Peter puts it, “that ye should follow in his steps.” Still, many prefer to whine: “I can’t do that! It cramps my style, and I simply am not able.” What can one say? Poor ole God! In His infinite wisdom He asks us to do what we cannot do even with His divine help. Doubtless, all of His people would do well to remember more of the inspired Word, such as “Ye are bought with a price; therefore, Glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Here then is the meaning and challenge of true Christianity. It is sad that in too many churches the main motivation is social instead of spiritual, and the whine may be oft heard: “There is nothing to do at our church!” If that indeed be so, may I introduce you to biblical Christianity? God has a mental, and spiritual, challenge especially for you!

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Day 1 – Psalm 73:28 – Draw near, Trust Him and Declare His Works.


PSALMS OF COMFORT

Day 1 – Psalm 73:28 – Draw near, Trust Him and Declare His Works.

Here is the bold implication that we as a people wander away from God. This may not be our intention but yet the attractions of the world, the insistence of problems, distractions, work and family turn us to the beggarly things of this world and draw our attention away from God. A result of this separation are a growing dis-satisfaction with life. We encounter more afflictions and trials. We become engrossed in the art of fire fighting instead of seeking the nearness of the Lord. Stress, worry and indecision brings defeat, discouragement and dread. Our lives become a battle ground of drama, hurt feelings, loss of friendships, and broken heartedness. We are looking for acceptance of those that are infused with worldly wisdom. Anger and angst overtake our once happy peaceful lives. We have lost our joy of salvation, our joy of living and our thought process has turned from Godliness to self. When we draw near to the Lord rely and depend upon Him for the answers of life.

Our greatest need after salvation is to put our trust completely in Jesus. How often do we trust Him with our soul and not with our life? As we turn our sight more upon the Lord for our daily living, we find the help in the pitfalls of living. We rise up from our pity pot of sorriness and confer with the Lord about our attitudes. We rise above the pettiness of the world and strengthen our daily living with daily conversations with our Lord and Savior. When our bonds are strengthened spiritually, the critics of the world become irrelevant. Our desire is to please our Lord by trusting implicitly in Him.

Many are the people that have drawn closer to the Lord and thereby in obedience declared to a lost and dying world the great works of God. Those that are lost see the work of salvation that Christ accomplished on the cross. They see the myriad lives that have changed because of the inner work of the Savior. Our testimony is not just a verbal one but is one that is displayed by the life we live. We declare the mighty works of God. We affirm His spoken creation, His spoken decoration, and marvelous preservation of this world. Our greatest declaration and demonstration is of a greater work than creation of the world. Our greatest declaration and demonstration of the work of God and the Holy Spirit and the Son of God is the work they do in the cleansing of a wretched sin encrusted heart that is made pure by the work of Christ on the Cross.

Let us draw near and declare the work of Christ in man.

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271 – Sept. 28 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

 

The ground is level at the cross

Sept 28, 1930 – Charles Evans Hughes, chief justice of the United States Supreme Court presented himself for membership in a Baptist church in Washington, D.C. It was the custom of the church to invite the new members to come forward and introduce them to the congregation. On this same morning a Chinese laundryman had come for membership, having moved to the Capitol from San Francisco. A dozen others came forward and stood on the opposite side of the pulpit from the Chinese man named Ah Sing who stood alone. Chief Justice Hughes was called who took his place beside Ah Sing. After welcoming the new members into the church the pastor said, “I do not want this congregation to miss the remarkable illustration of the fact that at the cross of Jesus Christ the ground is level!” Charles Evans Hughes had been born into the family of a Baptist pastor. Early in life he responded to the gospel and was saved. During his entire political career he was a faithful witness to the gospel of Christ. He served two terms as Gov. of New York. He was defeated for President in 1921 by Woodrow Wilson. He served twice on the Supreme Court, the last time he was appointed by Pres. Herbert Hoover. He had a reputation of “fearless integrity”. [“Hughes, Charles Evans,” Microsoft Encarta 97 Encyclopedia. 1993-96 Microsoft Corp. Dr. Greg J. Dixon: From: This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson,   pp.  531 – 32.

 

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Robespierre’s, “The Terror Justified”


As you read this discern whether or not, we as a nation are close to this condition.

RobespierreAmerican Minute with Bill Federer

France’s King Louis XVI sent his navy and troops to help America win independence.

Afterward, France had a few years of crop failure, then a Revolution.

In Paris, King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were beheaded.

Robespierre led the “Committee of Public Safety,” giving a speech to the National Assembly, February 5, 1794, titled “The Terror Justified”:

“Lead…the enemies of the people by terror…Terror is nothing else than swift, severe, indomitable justice.”

Robespierre began his Reign of Terror, accusing, arresting, then beheading all the royalty;
then the wealthy;
then the farmers and businessmen;
then those hoarding food;
then the clergy,
then the former revolutionaries.

Over 40,000 were beheaded in Paris.

An intentional campaign began to de-christianize French society and replace it with a civic religion of state worship.

Not wanting a constitution ‘Done in the year of the Lord,’ they made 1791 the new “Year One.”

They did not want a seven day week with a sabbath day rest, so they came up with a ten day week and ten month year – ten being their number of man with ten fingers and ten toes.

They created the metric system with all measurements divisible by ten.

Crosses were forbidden;
Religious monuments were destroyed;
Public and private worship and education outlawed;
Priests and ministers, along with those who harbored them, were executed on sight;
Graves were desecrated, including Sainte Genevieve’s, the patron saint of Paris who called the city to pray when Attila the Hun was attacking in 451 AD;
Churches were closed or used for “immoral,” “lurid,” “licentious,” “scandalous” “depravities.”

Robespierre put a prostitute in Notre Dame Cathedral and called her the goddess of reason to be worshiped.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg was turned into a Temple of Reason.

Hundreds of thousands were killed throughout France, especially in a religious area called the Vendee’ in western France. French officer
Napoleon pleaded poor health so as to not participate.

During this time, French privateers ignored treaties and by 1798, had seized nearly 300 American ships bound for British ports.

Talleyrand, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, demanded millions of dollars in bribes to leave America’s ships alone.

Known as the XYZ Affair, the American commission of Charles Pinckney, John Marshall and Elbridge Gerry refused.

The cry went across America, “Millions for defense, not a cent for tribute.”

As America and France came close to war, second President John Adams asked George Washington, now retired at Mount Vernon, to again be Commander-in-Chief of the Army.

Washington agreed, writing the year before he died, July 13, 1798:

“Satisfied…you have…exhausted, to the last drop, the cup of reconciliation, we can, with pure hearts, appeal to Heaven for the justice of our cause;

and may confidently trust the final result to that kind Providence who has, heretofore, and so often, signally favored the people of these United States…

Feeling how incumbent it is upon every person…to contribute at all times to his country’s welfare, and especially in a moment like the present, when everything we hold dear and sacred is so seriously threatened, I have finally determined to accept the commission of Commander-in-Chief.”

President Adams declared a Day of Fasting, March 23, 1798, and again, March 6, 1799:

“The people of the United States are still held in jeopardy by…insidious acts of a foreign nation,

as well as by the dissemination among them of those principles subversive to the foundations of all religious, moral, and social obligations…

I hereby recommend…a Day of Solemn Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer; That the citizens…call to mind our numerous offenses against the Most High God, confess them before Him with the sincerest penitence, implore His pardoning mercy, through the Great Mediator and Redeemer, for our past transgressions,

and that through the grace of His Holy Spirit, we may be disposed and enabled to yield a more suitable obedience to His righteous requisitions…

That He would interpose to arrest the progress of that impiety and licentiousness in principle and practice so offensive to Himself and so ruinous to mankind…

‘Righteousness exalteth a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.’”

As the nation prayed, war with France was averted and a revival, called the Second Great Awakening, spread across America with church membership soaring in all denominations.


Bill FedererThe Moral Liberal contributing editor, William J. Federer, is the bestselling author of “Backfired: A Nation Born for Religious Tolerance no Longer Tolerates Religion,” and numerous other books. A frequent radio and television guest, his daily American Minute is broadcast nationally via radio, television, and Internet. Check out all of Bill’s bookshere.

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His Return in Glory  


 

Revelation 22:12, 13

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be,” Revelation 22:12.

 

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor.5:10).

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. . . . For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:23-26).

He will not tarry. When the Father tells the Son to go get His bride to the wedding feast, it will be the crowning event of the history of mankind, the most magnificent celebration the world has ever seen. He will not need seven years to judge His people. He is bringing His reward with Him. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. . . . Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matt. 24:27-30).

 

 

JUST SAYING

There are one hundred sixty-eight hours in a week. How many hours are spent storing up rewards where we live?

Robert Brock

 

 

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HEBREW HONEYCOMB


 

LOVE THY NEIGHBOR

 

Author: William Andrew Dillard

 

From the living pages of ages past, comes the encapsulated foundation of acceptable life among men on earth. It is called the Ten Commandments. Some would say the commandments were a part of the Mosaic Law, which has been fulfilled, and no longer in force. Right, and wrong! Jesus did fulfill the Law and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross, Col. 2:14-17, but what is removed from us today is the present penalty of the Law, not the principle. Think with me!

 

In the initial writing of the Law, the one governing neighborly relationship is stated: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor; Thou shalt not covet they neighbor’s house, wife, servant, ox, ass, nor anything that thy neighbors. Exo. 20:16-17. Later, this was appropriately summarized as “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” First, to love God supremely, then to love one’s neighbor as one’s self is said to be the summation of all the law.

 

The question then arises from some who quibble over such things for self justification is: “who then is my neighbor?” This very question was posed to Jesus by a lawyer, and is recorded in Luke 10. It is here that the story of the good Samaritan is related. A man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho was robbed, beaten and left half dead in the road. It is ironic that a priest passed by and refused to help. Also a Levite, those who produced the priests, also observed and passed by without helping. It was the lowly Samaritan who took care of the unfortunate traveler, and paid for his medical care. When Jesus posed the question, which of these three was a neighbor to him who fell among thieves, the answer was obvious and so stated: he who showed mercy on him. Jesus’ pointed reply was that they, and us, should go and do likewise.

 

The position God’s people occupy on this planet is that of an ambassador. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Cor. 5:20. Representatives of heaven on earth who are reconciled to God see others in need as their neighbor, and they respond accordingly. It is the right thing to do. It is the godly thing to do. It may not be one’s opportunity to help another who has fallen among thieves, but there are so many other areas of life that manifest a need for help. Chief among those is the obvious need to share the gospel, the great love of the Creator/Redeemer with those who have been wounded by sin. There is no shortage of them. Do you love your neighbor?

 

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71 – March – 12 – THIS DAY IN BAPTIST HISTORY PAST


 

He preached politics from the pulpit

1807 – Samuel Stillman, Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Boston during the Revolutionary War died on this day at seventy years of age.  He was converted to Christ and baptized under the ministry of Oliver Hart when his parents moved to S.C.  He later founded a Baptist Education Society in Charleston.  Always weak in health he moved back to N.J. to improve his physical condition.  He was called as the assistant pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Boston.  After one year, he became the pastor of the historic First Baptist Church of that city on Jan. 9, 1765 where he stayed until his death.  The Baptists, with only two or three exceptions stood solidly behind the Revolution.  Stillman was one of the strongest proponents.  His heart blazed for liberty.  He despised the Stamp Act and preached against it from his pulpit.  He was outraged over the inflicted Baptists of Ashfield, Mass., and authored a petition to the general court against it.  The issue had to do with a general assessment for the support of the state church (Congregational).  He was a powerful preacher who drew crowds from great distances including dignitaries such as, Washington, Adams, John Hancock, and Gen. Knox.  He lifted high the cross, preached sin black, and hell hot and saw great revivals.  His flock was scattered during the war but he returned, gathered them together again, and First Baptist was the only church in Boston that stayed open for the duration.  The forty-two years he spent in Boston covered the great debates of the Revolution, the war itself, the birth of the nation, the Federal Constitution, and the presidencies of Washington, Adams, and Jefferson.  Samuel Stillman was a remarkable man for remarkable times.  But history shows that God always has His man for the times.

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Focus on Jesus


 

Hebrews 12:1, 2

 

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God,” Hebrews 12:2.

 

Jesus has set the race of life for each of us to run. Our focus determines how we will run that race. Fellowshipping with God must be through Jesus. God has made Jesus the finish line. He hung on the cross, writhing in pain, but he had joy in His heart because He knew He was bringing many children to the Father. Isaiah said that Jesus would be set as our banner, a flag, seen from afar to help orient the weary, lost traveler.

 

My youngest son once ran an important physical training test in the Army Reserves with a young African sergeant from Kenya. They were racing against the clock with a mile to go. The sergeant said, “Let’s make like a female lion is chasing us.” That would definitely make one goal-oriented, concentrating on the finish line.

 

Abraham was promised a city and a great nation of children. At the time he was a pilgrim in a strange land with no children. He died believing that God would keep that promise. He was focused on the One who made the promise and in faith lived his life toward that goal. Focusing on the goal gave him courage to keep running the race.

 

We must not expend all our energy concentrating on the problems that occur in the race, but look unto Jesus. He promised us a city where there are no more tears, pain or death. Keep your eyes on the finish line; He’s waiting with open arms.

 

 

Just Saying

 

A plowman looking backward always plows a crooked row (Luke 9:62).

 

Robert Brock

 

 

 

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271 – Sept 28 – This Day in Baptist History Past


 

The Ground is level at the Cross

 

1930 – Charles Evans Hughes, chief justice of the United States Supreme Court presented himself for membership in a Baptist church in Washington, D.C. It was the custom of the church to invite the new members to come forward and introduce them to the congregation. On this same morning a Chinese laundryman had come for membership, having moved to the Capitol from San Francisco. A dozen others came forward and stood on the opposite side of the pulpit from the Chinese man named Ah Sing who stood alone. Chief Justice Hughes was called who took his place beside Ah Sing. After welcoming the new members into the church the pastor said, “I do not want this congregation to miss the remarkable illustration of the fact that at the cross of Jesus Christ the ground is level!” Charles Evans Hughes had been born into the family of a Baptist pastor. Early in life he responded to the gospel and was saved. During his entire political career he was a faithful witness to the gospel of Christ. He served two terms as Gov. of New York.  He was defeated for President in 1921 by Woodrow Wilson. He served twice on the Supreme Court, the last time he was appointed by Pres. Herbert Hoover. He had a reputation of “fearless integrity”. [“Hughes, Charles Evans,” Microsoft Encarta 97 Encyclopedia. 1993-96 Midrosoft Corp. This Day in Baptist History II: Cummins and Thompson, BJU Press: Greenville, S.C. 2000 A.D. pp. 531-32.]
Prepared by Dr. Greg J. Dixon

 

 

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The Medical Account of the Crucifixion by Daniel DeSailles


The Medical Account of the Crucifixion by Daniel DeSailles

Posted: 28 Mar 2013 06:31 PM PDT

The Medical Account of the Crucifixion

In this paper, I shall   discuss some of the physical aspects of the passion, or suffering, of   Jesus Christ.  We shall follow Him from Gethsemane, through His   trial, His scourging, His path along the Via Dolorosa, to His last   dying hours on the cross…This led me first to a   study of the practice of crucifixion itself; that is, the torture and   execution of a person by fixation to a cross.

Apparently, the first   known practice of crucifixion was by the Persians. Alexander and his generals   brought it back to the Mediterranean world – Egypt and Carthage.  The Romans apparently learned the practice   from the Carthaginians and (as with   almost everything the Romans did) rapidly developed a very high   degree of efficiency and skill in carry it out.  A number of Roman authors   (Livy, Cicero, Tacitys) comment on it.   

Several innovations and   modifications are described in the ancient literature; Ill mention only a few which   may have some bearing here.

The   upright portion of the cross (or stipes)   could have the cross-arm (or patibulum) attached two or three feet below   its top – this is what we commonly think of today as the classical form of   the cross (the one which we have later named the Latin cross); however, the   common form used in Our Lords day was the Tau cross (shaped like the   Greek letter Tau or like our T).  In   this cross the patibulum was placed in a   notch at the top of the stipes.  There   is fairly overwhelming archeological   evidence that it was on this type of cross that Jesus was crucufied.

The upright post, or   stipes, was generally permanently fixed in the ground at the site of execution   and the condemnded man was forced to carry the patibulum, apparently   weighing about 110 pounds, from the prison to the place of execution.  Without any historical or biblical proof,   medieval and Renaissance painters   have given us our picture of Christ carrying the entire cross.  Many of these painters and most of the   sculptors of crucifixes today show the   nails through the palms.  Roman   historical accounts and experimental   work have shown that the nails were driven between the small bones of   the wrists and not through the palms.    Nails driven through the palms   will strip out between the fingers when they support the weight of a   human body.  The misconception may have   come about through a misunderstanding   of Jesus words to Thomas, Observe my hands.

Anatomists, both modern   and ancient, have always considered the wrists as part of the hand.

A titulus, or small sign,   stating the victims crime was usually carried at the front of the   processions and later nailed to the cross above the head. This sign with its staff   nailed to the top of the cross would have given it somewhat the   characteristic form of the Latin cross.

The physical passion of   the Christ begins in Gethsemane.  Of   the many aspects of this initial   suffering, I shall only discuss the one of physiological interest;   the bloody sweat.  It is interesting   that the physician of the group,   St. Luke, is the only one to mention this.    He says, And being in agony,   He prayed the longer.  And his sweat   became as drops of blood, trickling   down upon the ground.

Every attempt imaginable   has been used by modern scholars to explain away this phrase, apparently   under the mistakes impression that this just doesnt happen. A great deal of effort   could be saved by consulting the medical literature.  Though very rare, the phenomenon of   Hematidrosis or bloody sweat, is well documented.   Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can   break, thus mixing blood with sweat.    This process alone could have produced   marked weakness and possible shock.

We shall move rapidly   through the betrayal and arrest; I must stress that important portions of the   passion story are missing from this account. This may be frustrating to   you, but in order to adhere to our purpose of discussing only the purely   physical aspects of the Passion, this is necessary.  After the arrest in the middle of the   night, Jesus was brought before the Sanhedrin and   Caiphas, the High Priest; it is here that the first physical trauma is   inflicted.  A soldier struck Jesus   across the face for remaining silent   when questioned by Caiphas.  The palace   guards then blindfolded Him and   mockingly taunted Him to identify them as they each passed by, spat on   Him, and struck Him in the face.

In the morning, Jesus,   battered and bruised, dehydrated, and exhausted from a sleepless night, is   taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia, the seat   of government of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate.  You are, of course, familiar with Pilates   action in attempting to pass   responsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea. Jesus apparently suffered   no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to   Pilate.

It was then, in response   to the cries of the mob, that Pilate ordered Bar-Abbas released and   condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion. There is much disagreement   among authorities about scourging as a prelude to crucifixion.  Most Roman writers from this period do not   associate the two.  Many scholars believe that Pilate   originally ordered Jesus scourged as his full punishment and   that the death sentence by crucifixion came only in response to the   taunt by the mob that the Procurator was not properly defending Caesar   against this pretender who claimed to be the King of the Jews.

Preparations for the   scourging are carried out.  The   prisoner is stripped of His clothing and His   hands are tied to a post above His head.    It is doubtful whether the   Romans made any attempt to follow the Jewish law in this matter of   scourging.  The Jews had an ancient law   prohibiting more than forty lashes.  The Pharisees, always making sure that the   law wa strictly kept, insisted   that only thirty-nine lashes be given.    (In case of a miscount, they were   sure of remaining within the law.)  The   Roman legionnaire steps forward   with the flagrum (or flagellum) in his hand. 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 heavy thongs cut   through the skin only.  Then, as the blows continue, they are 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.  When it   is determined by the   centurion in charge that the prisoner is near death, the beating is finally   stopped.

The half-fainting Jesus is   then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with His own   blood.  The Roman soldiers see a great   joke in this provincial Jew   claiming to be a king.  They throw a   robe across His shoulders and place a   stick in His hand for a scepter.  They   still need a crown to make their   travesty complete.  A small bundle of   flexible branches covered with long   thorns (commonly used for firewood) are plaited into the shape of a crown   and this 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, they tire of their   sadistic sport and the robe is torn from   His back.  This had already become   adherent to the clots of blood and   serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a   surgical bandage, causes exruciating pain…almost as though He   were again being whipped – and the wounds again begin to bleed.

In deference to Jewish   custom, the Romans return His garments.    The heavy patibulum of the cross is   tied across His shoulders and the procession of the condemned Christ, two   thieves and the execution detail of the Roman soldiers, headed by a   centurion, begins its slow journey along the Via Dolorosa.  In spite of His efforts to walk erect, the   weight of the heavy wooden cross 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.  he tries to   rise, but human muscles have been   pushed beyond their endurance.  The   centurion, anxious to get on with the   crucifixion, selects a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene,   to carry the cross.  Jesus follows,   still bleeding and sweating the   cold, clammy sweat of shock.  The 650   yard journey from the fortress   Antonia to Golgotha is finally completed.    The prisoner is again stripped   of His clothes – except for a loin cloth which is allowed the Jews.

The crucifixion begins,   Jesus is offered wine mixed with Myrrh, a mild analgesic mixture.  He refuses to drink.  Simon is ordered to place the cross on the ground and   Jesus is 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 wrist and deep   into the wood.  Quickly, he moves to   the other side and repeats the   action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some   flexibility and movement.  The   patibulum is then lifted in place at   the top of the stipes and the titulus reading Jesus of Nazareth, King of   the Jews is nailed in place.

 

The left foot is 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, fiery 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   wrenching torment, He places His   full weight on the nail through His feet.    Again there is the searing agony   of the the tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of   the feet.

At this point, another   phenomenon occurs.  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. It was undoubtedly during   these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences which are   recorded:

The first, looking down at   the Roman soldiers throwing dice for His seamless garment, Father,   forgive them for they know not what they do.

The second, to the   penitent thief, Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise.

The third, looking down at   the terrified, grief stricken, adolescent John, (the beloved Apostle), He   said, Behold thy mother, and looking to Mary, His mother, Woman behold   thy son.

The fourth cry is from the   beginning of the 22nd Psalm, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Hours of this limitless   pain, cycles of twisting joint- rending cramps, intermittent partial   asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves   up and down against the rough timber.    Then another agony begins.  A deep crushing pain deep in the chest as   the pericardium slowly fills   with serum and begins to compress the heart.

Let us remember again the   22nd Psalm (the 14th verse), I am poured out like water, and all my   bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my   bowels.  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 draw in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated   tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain.

Jesus gasps His fifth cry,   I thirst.

Let us remember another   verse from the prophetic 22nd Psalm: My strength is dried up like a   potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the   dust of death.

A sponge soaked in Posca,   the cheap, sour wine which is the staple drink of the Roman legionnaires,   is lifted to His lips.  He apparently   does not take any of the   liquid.  The body of Jesus is now in   extremis and He can feel the chill of death   creeping through His tissues.  This   realization

brings out His sixth words   – possibly little more than a tortured whisper.

It is finished.

His mission of atonement   has been completed.  Finally He can   allow his body to die. With one last surge of   strength, he once again presses His torn feet against the nail,   straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His seventh and last cry,   Father into thy hands I commit my spirit.

The rest you know.  In order that the Sabbath not be profaned,   the Jews asked that the condemned   men be dispatched and removed from the crosses.

The common method of   ending a crucifixion was by cruxifracture, the breaking of the bones of   the legs.  This prevents the victim   from pushing himself upward; 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 they came   to Jesus they saw that this was unnecessary,thus fulfilling the   scripture, not one bone shall be broken.

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.  The 34th verse of the 19th   chapter of the Gospel according to John:   And immediately there came out blood and water.

Thus there was an escape   of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart and blood from the   interior of the heart.  We, therefore,   have rather conclusive   post-mortem evidence that Our Lord died, not the usual crucifixion death by   suffocating, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart   by fluid in the pericardium.

Thus we have seen a   glimpse of the epitome of evil which man can exhibit toward man – and toward   God.  This is not a pretty sight and is   apt to leave us despondent and   depressed.  How grateful we can be that   we have a sequel:  A glimpse of the infinite mercy of God   toward man – the miracle of the atonement and the   expectation of Easter morning!

 

John   3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that   whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Contact:   Daniel de Sailles
Email: hbeng151@csun.edu

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