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As an Orthodox Christian, I celebrate Easter with many other Eastern Orthodox Christians on a later day than when it’s observed by many western churches. The Orthodox church uses the Julian calendar rather than the Gregorian calendar to determine its holy days. Easter is the biggest holiday for us.
On this day, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion on Orthodox Good Friday. There are many churches in the United States that celebrate Easter using the Julian calendar, including the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate Church, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, Russian Orthodox Church, and Greek Hellenic Orthodox Church, along with other smaller Orthodox Churches.
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The day is also known as Pascha. Orthodox Easter for the year 2023 is celebrated on Sunday, April 16, which is today. The weather wasn’t the best today in the Chicago area, but my soul was light and happy, as Jesus saved all of us through His resurrection from the dead and saved our souls from death.
Several days ago I learned more about the crucifixion of Jesus, and that information literally shocked me. I learned about a physician's view of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Particularly, I learned about the view of Dr. C. Truman Davis, who was a nationally respected ophthalmologist, vice president of the American Association of Ophthalmology, and an active figure in the Christian schools movement. He was founder and president of Trinity Christian School in Mesa, Arizona, and a trustee of Grove City College. Dr. C. Truman Davis was also a Master of Natural Sciences.
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“About a decade ago, reading Jim Bishop’s The Day Christ Died, I realized that I had for years taken the Crucifixion more or less for granted — that I had grown callous to its horror by a too easy familiarity with the grim details and a too distant friendship with our Lord,” wrote Dr. C. Truman Davis. “It finally occurred to me that, though a physician, I didn’t even know the actual immediate cause of death.”
This led him to a study of the practice of crucifixion itself; that is, torture and execution by fixation to a cross.
A physician’s analysis of the last six hours before Jesus Christ passed on from the crucifixion is difficult to read, but I still want to share it with you. We all need to know what Jesus went through. We have to. Made by Dr. S. Truman Davis, this analysis is from New Wine Magazine, April 1982 and was originally published in Arizona Medicine Magazine, March 1965, Arizona Medical Association.
Crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300 BC and perfected by the Romans in 100 BC.
1. It is the most painful death ever invented by man and is where we get our term “excruciating.”
2. It was reserved primarily for the most vicious of male criminals.
Jesus refused the anesthetic wine which was offered to Him by the Roman soldiers because of His promise in Matthew 26: 29, “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”
3. Jesus was stripped naked, and His clothing divided by the Roman guards. This was in fulfilment of Psalm 22:18, “They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.”
4. The Crucifixion of Jesus guaranteed a horrific, slow, painful death.
Having been nailed the Cross, Jesus now had an impossible anatomical position to maintain.
5. Jesus’ knees were flexed at about 45 degrees, and He was forced to bear His weight with the muscles of His thigh, which is not an anatomical position which is possible to maintain for more than a few minutes without severe cramp in the muscles of the thigh and calf.
6. Jesus’ weight was borne on His feet, with nails driven through them.
As the strength of the muscles of Jesus’ lower limbs tired, the weight of His body had to be transferred to His wrists, His arms, and His shoulders.
7. Within a few minutes of being placed on the Cross, Jesus’ shoulders were dislocated.
Minutes later Jesus’ elbows and wrists became dislocated.
8. The result of these upper limb dislocations is that His arms were 9 inches longer than normal, as clearly shown on the Shroud.
9. In addition prophecy was fulfilled in Psalm 22:14, “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint.”
10. After Jesus’ wrists, elbows, and shoulders were dislocated, the weight of His body on his upper limbs caused traction forces on the Pectoralis Major muscles of His chest wall.
11. These traction forces caused His rib cage to be pulled upwards and outwards, in a most unnatural state. His chest wall was permanently in a position of maximal respiratory inspiration. In order to exhale, Jesus was physiologically required to force His body.
12. In order to breathe out, Jesus had to push down on the nails in His feet to raise His body and allow His rib cage to move downwards and inwards to expire air from His lungs.
13. His lungs were in a resting position of constant maximum inspiration.
Crucifixion is a medical catastrophe.
14. The problem was that Jesus could not easily push down on the nails in His feet because the muscles of His legs, bent at 45 degrees, were extremely fatigued, in severe cramp, and in an anatomically compromised position.
15. Unlike all Hollywood movies about the Crucifixion, the victim was extremely active.
The crucified victim was physiologically forced to move up and down the cross, a distance of about 12 inches, in order to breathe.
16. The process of respiration caused excruciating pain, mixed with the absolute terror of asphyxiation.
17. As the six hours of the Crucifixion wore on, Jesus was less and less able to bear His weight on His legs, as His thigh and calf muscles became increasingly exhausted.
There was increasing dislocation of His wrists, elbows and shoulders, and further elevation of His chest wall, making His breathing more and more difficult.
Within minutes of crucifixion Jesus became severely dyspneic (short of breath).
18. His movements up and down the Cross to breathe caused excruciating pain in His wrist, His feet, and His dislocated elbows and shoulders.
19. The movements became less frequent as Jesus became increasingly exhausted, but the terror of imminent death by asphyxiation forced Him to continue in His efforts to breathe.
20. Jesus’ lower limb muscles developed excruciating cramp from the effort of pushing down on His legs, to raise His body, so that He could breathe out, in their anatomically compromised position.
21. The pain from His two shattered median nerves in His wrists exploded with every movement.
22. Jesus was covered in blood and sweat.
23. The blood was a result of the Scourging that nearly killed Him, and the sweat as a result of His violent involuntary attempts to effort to expire air from His lungs.
Throughout all this He was completely naked, and the leaders of the Jews, the crowds, and the thieves on both sides of Him were jeering, swearing, and laughing at Him.
In addition, Jesus’ own mother was watching.
24. Physiologically, Jesus’ body was undergoing a series of catastrophic and terminal events.
25. Because Jesus could not maintain adequate ventilation of His lungs, He was now in a state of hypoventilation (inadequate ventilation).
26. His blood oxygen level began to fall, and He developed Hypoxia (low blood oxygen).
In addition, because of His restricted respiratory movements, His blood carbon dioxide (CO2) level began to rise, a condition known as Hypercapnia.
27. This rising CO2 level stimulated His heart to beat faster in order to increase the delivery of oxygen, and the removal of CO2.
28. The Respiratory Centre in Jesus’ brain sent urgent messages to his lungs to breathe faster, and Jesus began to pant.
29. Jesus’ physiological reflexes demanded that He took deeper breaths, and He involuntarily moved up and down the Cross much faster, despite the excruciating pain.
The agonizing movements spontaneously started several times a minute, to the delight of the crowd who jeered Him, the Roman soldiers, and the Sanhedrin.
30. However, due to the nailing of Jesus to the Cross and His increasing exhaustion, He was unable to provide more oxygen to His oxygen starved body.
31. The twin forces of Hypoxia (too little oxygen) and Hypercapnia (too much CO2) caused His heart to beat faster and faster, and Jesus developed Tachycardia.
32. Jesus’ heart began to beat faster and faster, and His pulse rate was probably about 220 beats/ minute, the maximum normally sustainable.
33. Jesus had drunk nothing for 15 hours, since 6 pm the previous evening.
Jesus had endured a scourging which nearly killed Him.
34. He was bleeding from all over His body following the Scourging, the crown of thorns, the nails in His wrists and feet, and the lacerations following His beatings and falls.
35. Jesus was already very dehydrated, and His blood pressure fell alarmingly.
36. His blood pressure was probably about 80/50.
37. He was in First Degree Shock, with Hypovolaemia (low blood volume), Tachycardia (excessively fast Heart Rate), Tachypnoea (excessively fast Respiratory Rate), and Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).
38. By about noon Jesus’ heart probably began to fail.
39. Jesus’ lungs probably began to fill up with Pulmonary Oedema.
40. This only served to exacerbate His breathing, which was already severely compromised.
41. Jesus was in Heart Failure and Respiratory Failure.
42. Jesus said, “I thirst” because His body was crying out for fluids.
43. Jesus was in desperate need of an intravenous infusion of blood and plasma to save His life.
44. Jesus could not breathe properly and was slowly suffocating to death.
45. At this stage Jesus probably developed a Haemopericardium.
46. Plasma and blood gathered in the space around His heart, called the Pericardium.
47. This fluid around His heart caused Cardiac Tamponade (fluid around His heart, which prevented Jesus’ heart from beating properly).
48. Because of the increasing physiological demands on Jesus’ heart, and the advanced state of Haemopericardium, Jesus probably eventually sustained Cardiac Rupture. His heart literally burst. This was probably the cause of His death.
49. To slow the process of death the soldiers put a small wooden seat on the Cross, which would allow Jesus the “privilege” of bearing His weight on his sacrum.
50. The effect of this was that it could take up to nine days to die on a Cross.
51. When the Romans wanted to expedite death, they would simply break the legs of the victim, causing the victim to suffocate in a matter of minutes. This was called Crucifragrum.
52. At three o’clock in the afternoon Jesus said, “Tetelastai,” meaning, “It is finished.”
At that moment, He gave up His Spirit, and He died.
53. When the soldiers came to Jesus to break His legs, He was already dead. Not a bone of His body was broken, in fulfilment of prophecy (above).
54. Jesus died after six hours of the most excruciating and terrifying torture ever invented.
Jesus died so that ordinary people like you and me could go to Heaven.
After reading this analysis, I realized that we don’t understand even a small portion of what Jesus went through for us. We take it for granted. I went to church with a different feeling today.
God went through unbelievable pain for us. God rose from the dead for us. “Christ rose from the dead and will never die again. Death no longer has any power over Him” (Romans 6:9, TLB).
Christ is Risen! Христос Воскресе из мертвых смертию смерть поправ и сущим во гробех живот даровав! www.youtube.com/watch?v=oD_AIj_3Cvo
The views expressed in this post are the author's own. Want to post on Patch?