God’s divine plan had arrived to the appointed time on God’s calendar for the saving of the souls of man. He had designed a plan before the beginning of the creation of the heavens and the earth to show man what redemption from sin looks like. He had designed every detail. From the creation of Adam and Eve, down through history God was showing man what was required to receive forgiveness of sin. The Bible records verse after verse of instructions for worshipping and pleasing God and points directly to the coming of His Messiah Jesus Christ for redemption of sin. The Bible records promises and prophecies given by God to His people. These details flowed like a scarlet thread throughout history from Adam and Eve to Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his sons, David and all the prophets and now, at this appointed time Jesus Christ would appear to complete His ministry for the saving of the world through His sacrifice.
God’s appointed time for Jesus was in the midst of Roman rule. While crucifixion on a wooden cross was not invented by the Romans, the procedure for torture and giving intense physical pain to the victim was perfected by them. Subjects were tortured in such a way as to render the most excruciating pain imaginable while extending the number of days the victim would live in agony. Most of those on the cross lived from 3 to 6 days. Roman soldiers assigned to the execution scene were skilled in administering pain and torture including breaking of bones to speed up the death process. Only after the victim died were the soldiers relieved of duty.
High Priest Caiaphas with the Scribes and Elders, and temple officers: Jesus was spit upon, struck in the face, blindfolded and beaten. Roman Guards: Give Jesus 2 additional beatings causing severe disfigurement of the face; brutal treatment; eyelids swollen shut; badly bruised all over, dehydrated, exhausted, and possibly in shock.
Pontius Pilate and Roman Guards: Jesus was flogged with a whip made of leather strips 18-24 inches long with metal, bone, or glass embedded at the end of the leather strip. Extreme punishment delivered on the back, shoulders, buttocks and legs. The flesh was shredded exposing muscles and bones causing severe blood loss and dehydration. Skin is torn to ribbons and bleeding.
Roman Guards: With a robe place on His bloody back, a wooden stick as a scepter in His hand and a crown of thorns placed on His head, Jesus was mocked and beaten. The guards spit on Him and struck Him on the head driving the thorns deep into scalp tissue causing profuse bleeding. Ripping the robe from His back caused the re-opening of the wounds on His back.
On the way to Golgotha with Roman Soldiers in charge: Jesus carried the wooden crossbeam weighting about 75-125 lbs. In His weakened condition, Jesus fell 3 times. He most likely was already suffering from shock with shortness of breath and profuse bleeding.
At Golgotha with Roman Soldiers:
The Nails: Iron spikes 6” long and 3/8“ thick driven into wrists. Excruciating pain surged through both arms as He was lifted up onto the upright post of the cross. The crossbar was then attached. Severe pain and nerve damage occurred as a single nail was pounded through one foot placed on top of the other.
Breathing: The weight of the body was on the nails causing unbearable pain and making it very difficult to breathe. In order to breathe, Jesus would have pushed up with His feet. When the pain in the feet became unbearable, He would slump down and immediately feel excruciating pain in the arms. Over and over this cycle would occurr. And each time the back of Jesus would be scraped against the splinters of the wood causing excess pain to open wounds. Muscle cramps and exhaustion grew more severe.
Insects: Flies, gnats, and other insects would burrow into open wounds and into the eyes and ears of Jesus.
Broken Bones: Breaking the bones in the legs was a common practice to speed up the death of a crucified victim. Jesus was already dead when the soldiers came to break his legs.
The Spear: To ensure death a spear was thrust through the heart. When struck, the dead body of Jesus poured forth blood and water.
Death most likely came from traumatic hypovolemic shock and asphyxiation. Jesus experienced horrify physical pain but what He experienced in separation from God the Father must have been the most devastating pain of all. Jesus was on the cross from the third hour at approximately 9 am until His death at the ninth hour about 3 pm. For those last 3 hours there was darkness on the face of the earth as God the Father turned His face from Jesus.
As Jesus hung on the cross, the Passover lambs were being sacrificed in the temple. At the ninth hour, a priest in the temple would blow a three-fold blast on a ram’s horn (shofar) to signal the close of evening service. And at this same time just after Jesus spoke these words: “It is finished“, He died. Scripture has been fulfilled. His work of redemption was complete. He was dead.
“Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Matthew 27: 51-54
He was dead. Was His death the end? Wickedness and evil seemed to have won. But wait-there is more…..