Tag Archives: Happy Easter

The Physical Pain Of The Cross

Two thousand years ago Jesus was crucified for our sins. It is easy to say those words, but what does it mean. The English language derives the word “excruciating” from crucifixion, acknowledging it as a form of slow, painful suffering. This punishment was reserved for slaves, foreigners, revolutionaries, and the lowest of criminals. Crucifixion was invented by the Persians between 300-400 B.C. It is quite possibly the most painful death ever invented by humankind.

Pilate ordered Jesus to be flogged. Traditionally, the accused stood naked, and the flogging occurred from the shoulders to the upper legs. The whip contained metal balls that hit the skin, causing deep bruising. Sheep bone attached to the tips of each strip ripped the flesh and muscle.

Roman soldiers placed a crown of thorns on Jesus’ head. As they hit Jesus in the head, the thorns from the crown pushed into the skin and He began bleeding profusely. The thorns also caused damage to the nerves to the face, causing intense pain down His face and neck. Due to severe blood loss, Jesus was likely in shock. As such, He is unable to carry the cross and Simon of Cyrene executes this task.

They nailed Jesus’ wrists and feet to the wood. The huge nails damaged or severed the major nerves causing continuous agonizing pain. As the cross bar was lifted into position Jesus’ full weight pulled down on His nailed wrists and His shoulders and elbows dislocated. In this position, Jesus’ arms stretched to a minimum of six inches longer than their original length.

As Jesus hung on the cross, the weight of His body pulled down on the diaphragm. In order to breathe or speak Jesus needed to painfully push up on His nailed feet enabling his lungs to function. The difficulty surrounding exhalation led to a slow form of suffocation. Carbon dioxide built up in the blood, resulting in a high level of carbonic acid in the blood. Jesus’ body responded instinctively, triggering the desire to breathe. At the same time, His heart beat faster to circulate available oxygen. The decreased oxygen caused damage to the tissues and the capillaries began leaking watery fluid from the blood into the tissues. This resulted in a build-up of fluid around the heart and lungs. The collapsing lungs, failing heart, dehydration, and the inability to get sufficient oxygen to the tissues essentially suffocate the victim. The decreased oxygen also damages the heart itself, which leads to cardiac arrest. In severe cases of cardiac stress, the heart can even burst, a process known as cardiac rupture. It is possible Jesus died of a heart attack.

While these unpleasant facts depict a brutal murder, the depth of Christ’s pain emphasizes the true extent of God’s love for His creation. Teaching the physiology of Christ’s crucifixion is a constant reminder of the magnificent demonstration of God’s love for humanity that was expressed that day in Calvary. This lesson enables us to participate in communion, the remembrance of His sacrifice, with a grateful heart. As a flesh and blood human, Jesus felt every ounce of this execution. What greater love than this can a man have for others?

The core of this post was liberated from Cahleen Shrier, Ph.D. of Azusa Pacific University.

Is It Really That Simple?

The Bible promises us that Christians will be hated and persecuted throughout the world only because they are Christians.  It even promises that Christians will betray each other.  False leaders (in politics, entertainment and sports) will come and attempt to pry our focus away from Christ.  Our job in the midst of these distractions, worldly concerns and frenzy is to remain focused on the cross.  (Matthew 24:9-14)  Whoever told you being a Christian was an easy thing did not consult the Bible.

Today the world is focusing on the economy, pirates, Obama’s new dog, and Iran’s nukes.  In 10 years, heck – in one year, those issues will be long forgotten and replaced by other mundane topics to distract us from the cross.  But, the eternal love of Christ will still exist.

We are called to let our lives be sacrifices to God. (Romans 12:1)  We are instructed to give up what is important to us and focus on Christ.  (Luke 9:23)  And, warned against walking with one foot in the world and one foot in the Kingdom. (Romans 6:13)  God is clear.  His message is simple.  The results are eternal.

Sometimes it seems hard to give up the world and embrace Christ.  Our family attempts and fails every day.  It seems complex and difficult.  But, in reality it is simple.  Start with the bottom line. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)  From there the desire to serve and give and sacrifice becomes so obvious.

Not just today, but everyday, remember that the resurrection was a personal gift from the Creator of the Universe to you.  It really is that simple, and complex, and loving, and perfect.

He is risen!

Raised From The Dead…So What?

The Bible teaches that on the third day Christ rose from the grave and showed Himself alive to His disciples. Why is this resurrection so special? Weren’t lots of people raised from the dead in the Bible? (1 Kings 17:22, 2 Kings 4:34-35, 2 Kings 13:20-21, Matthew 9:18-26, Luke 7:11-15, John 11: 39-44, Acts 9:40-41, Acts 20:9-20). Sure, being raised from the dead is a neat trick, but, why does it matter?
What made the resurrection of Jesus noteworthy and unique was that His death was a response to God’s calling in His life. A response that was not given for himself, but, for others. Christ received no benefit for enduring what He did. It is us, His redeemed, who reap all the benefit.
For our gain, Christ experienced a cruel suffering in His body and soul. He was ridiculed, tortured, crucified, murdered and buried. After three days in the grave He rose from the dead, with the same body. After being seen by more then 500 people He ascended into heaven, and today sits beside His Father, making intervention for me and, I pray, you.
The factual resurrection of Jesus proves that He is the Son of God. It proves that Jesus’ doctrine is the truth. It proves that God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice for the reclaiming of man. And, it proves that all those who have a relationship with Him will be with Him for eternity.
His endurance, death and resurrection were freely given to us to make us acceptable to God. Simply believing this story as fact is not enough. We must look to Jesus as our only possible rescuer. We must live each day of our lives with loving adoration and appreciation. Our gratitude for this perfect gift can easily be demonstrated by loving Him enough to share this amazing news with those who do not know. Christ has risen!

Bunnies and Eggs and Jesus, Oh My

Does Easter represent eggs, and bunnies or the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ? Is Easter rooted in heathenism with pagan origins and customs or is it a symbol of the Christian faith. The answer to all these questions…YES.
Originally a Saxon word (Eostre), denoting a goddess of the Saxons, in honor of whom sacrifices were offered about the time of the Passover. Hence the name came to be given to the festival of the Resurrection of Christ, which occurred at the time of the Passover.
Some Christians who today know the pagan origins of Easter use the term “Resurrection Sunday.” This only succeeds in dishonoring all the other Sundays of the year. For a Christian, every Sunday should be resurrection Sunday.
Does “Easter” even appear in the Bible? Well, yes…sort of. In the KJV, Acts 12:4. However, there has never been a more absurd or unhappy translation than this. The original verbiage is simply from the Passover. The word “Easter” today denotes the observed festival. But the original has no reference to that, nor is there the slightest evidence that any such festival was observed at the time when this book was written.
Now that I have succeeded in upsetting and alienating every Christian friend I ever had, ignore me. Paint your eggs and eat your chocolate bunnies…I will. But, never forget, it is the resurrection and ascension of the living Christ that separates Christianity from all other religions. Christ Jesus is the one who died, but more importantly the one who was raised. And, those who are in Him will never die again.
As usual, the Apostle Paul says it best, “For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.   And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead.”