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Daily Encounter: A Week-day Devotional by Richard (Dick) Innes of ACTS International.

Friday, April 18, 2014
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The Agony of the Cross Part III

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."6

According to a report by medical doctor Mark Eastman, the suffering Jesus experienced on the cross is almost unbearable just to think about it.

For instance, prior to Jesus' trial he was flogged by the Roman guards. "This process typically involved a whip with numerous leather thongs, 18-24 inches long, with bits of metal, bone or glass embedded in the leather.... Scourging was an extreme form of punishment. The skin on the victim's back was usually shredded, thus exposing the underlying muscle and skeletal structures. Severe blood loss and dehydration were the rule. Many victims died from such scourging.

"After the scourging of Jesus, the Roman soldiers beat Him a second time with their hands and with a reed. Then they put on him a 'crown of thorns.'"7

Then came the crucifixion. "It is arguably the most painful death ever invented by man and is where we get our term 'excruciating.' It was reserved primarily for the most vicious of criminals."8

Even though Pilate, the Roman Governor, said, "I find no fault in this man," he gave in to the jealous crowd and allowed Jesus to be crucified. With his arms stretched out Jesus was nailed to a wooden cross. "The nails, which were generally about 7-9 inches long, were placed between the bones of the forearm (the radius and ulna) and the small bones of the hands (the carpal bones)," permanently destroying the largest nerve in the hand "called the median nerve.... In addition to severe burning pain the destruction of this nerve causes permanent paralysis of the hand."9

"The positioning of the feet is probably the most critical part of the mechanics of crucifixion. First the knees were flexed about 45 degrees and the feet were flexed (bent downward) an additional 45 degrees until they were parallel to the vertical pole. An iron nail about 7-9 inches long was driven through the feet between the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones. In this position the nail would sever the dorsal pedal artery of the foot, but the resulting bleeding would be insufficient to cause death.

"The resulting position on the cross sets up a horrific sequence of events which result in a slow, painful death. Having been pinned to the cross, the victim now has an impossible position to maintain....

"The result is that within a few minutes of being placed on the cross, the shoulders will become dislocated. Minutes later the elbows and wrists become dislocated.... As time goes on, the victim is less and less able to bear weight on the legs, causing further dislocation of the arms and further raising of the chest wall, making breathing more and more difficult. The result of this process is a series of catastrophic physiological effects"10

Eventually, the heart begins to fail, the lungs collapse, and the victim suffocates. He dies a slow, unbelievably excruciating death.

And all of this Jesus did for you and me gladly and willingly because he loves us with an everlasting love. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins and mine so we could be totally forgiven and given the gift of eternal life with him in Heaven forever. The good news is that Jesus, after three days, rose from the dead assuring us that we who believe in him will also rise from physical death to be alive forever with God.

If you've never thanked Jesus for dying on the cruel cross in your place, why not do this right now and ask him to come into your heart and life as personal Lord and Savior and accept his full and free forgiveness.

NOTE: For further help, click on the Know God button below for a copy of "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian," or click on www.actsweb.org/christian.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, again I thank You for giving Your life as a ransom price for my sins. And because You gave your life for me please help me live my life for You. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

6. John 3:16 (NIV).
7. Page 10, Personal Update, "The Agony of Love," by Mark Eastman, M.D., Used by permission.
8. Ibid, Page 11.
9. Ibid, Page 11.
10. Ibid, Page 12. Web site of Mark Eastman, M.D. http://www.MarsHill.org.

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