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What Exactly Caused Jesus Christ’s Death?

Jesus Christ death
The exact cause of Jesus’ death has puzzled experts. Credit: Pixabay/Public Domain

It is known that the death of Jesus Christ occurred somewhere between AD 30 and AD 33. But the manner of his death remains a mystery.

According to the Bible, Jesus fell while carrying the cross to Calvary, the skull-shaped hill in ancient Jerusalem, on his way to his own crucifixion.

A Roman soldier stabbed Jesus’ side with a spear after the crucifixion, causing blood and water to stream forth. However, the mysteries surrounding the exact cause of his death have always puzzled experts.

All agree that he suffered one of the most grueling and painful forms of capital punishment ever devised by man. But what exactly led to his passing?

Jesus death caused by his dislocated right shoulder

A doctor-turned priest has attempted to provide a scientific analysis of Jesus’ death recently.

The Rev. Prof Patrick Pullicino has published his theory in the latest edition of Catholic Medical Quarterly (CMQ), claiming that Jesus Christ may have died as a result of complications related to his dislocated right shoulder. Scholars agree that Jesus most likely dislocated his right shoulder during his fall and while carrying the cross.

He analyzed work carried out by forensic and medical experts on the Shroud of Turin, also known as the Holy Shroud, within which Jesus was wrapped after the crucifixion. One of the most controversial relics in the Christian world, it bears the faint image of a man whose body appears to have nail wounds to the wrists and feet.

Looking at the faint imprint on the shroud, which appears to depict a figure bearing the wounds of crucifixion, Rev. Prof Pullicino said the position of the man’s dislocated shoulder was significant.

He said it was pulled so far out of its socket that the right hand stretches 4 inches (10cm) lower than the left.

When stretched out for crucifixion like this, Rev. Prof Pullicino believes it would cause the subclavian artery—a pair of large arteries in the thorax that supply blood to the head, neck, shoulder, and arms—to rupture.

This would in turn cause huge internal bleeding, he said, and ultimately result in a person’s death.

Jesus Christ had symptoms of severe stress

Other experts point to the fact that even before the crucifixion began, Jesus Christ clearly had physical symptoms associated with severe stress. The night before the execution, his disciples reported seeing Jesus in “agony” on the Mount of Olives. Not only did he not sleep all night, but he seems to have been sweating profusely.

So great was the physical stress that tiny blood vessels were rupturing in his sweat glands and emitting great red drops that fell to the ground (see Luke 22:44). This symptom of severe stress is called hematohidrosis, says a comprehensive report in Christiananswers.net.

The beatings administered by Roman soldiers are well known to have been very brutal, leaving lacerations all over the body. These beatings were designed to be painful to the extreme. These would result in a fluid build-up around his lungs.

In addition, a crown of thorns was forced into his scalp which was capable of severely irritating major nerves in his head, causing increasing and excruciating pain, as the hours wore on.

Beatings enough to kill him

In Christ’s severely stressed condition, these beatings were easy enough to kill him. His body was horribly bruised, lacerated, and bleeding. Having attained no nourishment for hours on end and having lost fluids through profuse sweating and bleeding, Jesus would have been severely dehydrated. This brutal torture would certainly be sending him into what doctors call “shock,” and shock kills.

In addition, Jesus was forced to carry the wooden beam on which he would die. Imagine the effect of carrying a heavy weight if you were in that condition.

Hung completely naked before the crowd, the pain and damage caused by crucifixion were designed to be so devilishly intense that one would continually long for death but could linger for days with no relief.

Piercing of the hands causes incredible pain

Medical examiner Dr. Frederick Zugibe says that piercing of the median nerve of the hands with a nail can result in such an incredible amount of pain that even morphine won’t help with “severe, excruciating, burning pain, like lightning bolts traversing the arm into the spinal cord.” Rupturing the foot’s plantar nerve with a nail would have a similarly appalling effect.

Furthermore, the position of the body on a cross is designed to make it extremely difficult to breathe. Zugibe believes Christ died from shock due to loss of blood and fluid plus traumatic shock from his injuries along with cardiogenic shock, all of which caused Christ’s heart to fail.

Frederick Farrar a cleric of the Church of England (Anglican), schoolteacher, and author described the torturous effect of death by crucifixion in the late 19th-century.

“For indeed a death by crucifixion seems to include all that pain and death can have of horrible and ghastly—dizziness, cramp, thirst, starvation, sleeplessness, traumatic fever, tetanus, shame, publicity of shame, long continuance of torment, horror of anticipation, mortification of untended wounds—all intensified just up to the point at which they can be endured at all, but all stopping just short of the point which would give to the suffer the relief of unconsciousness,” said Farrar.

 

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