What He Did For You: A Physiologist’s Viewpoint

I felt the need to take some time out just to try and summarize the PHYSICAL implications of what Christ did for you and I over two millenia ago. This goal of this piece isn’t to undermine, but to make you all the more appreciate the spiritual significance of Christ’s death and resurrection.

At the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ’s sweats were as droplets of blood. This is medically referred to as HEMATIDROSIS. It occurs in instances of great emotional distresses, as a result of ruptures of the capillaries of the sweat glands. The condition usually makes the skin very tender, meaning that the physical assaults that Christ would later receive were going to be really painful for Him.

After Christ was arrested for a sham trial, He was smitten on behalf of the High Priest, by an officer. Though, we can’t determine the exact force of the blow, it’s easy to estimate that these early beatings were sufficient to induce MULTIPLE CONTUSION, especially because Christ had earlier gone through a phase of HEMATIDROSIS.

Between the Lord’s Supper and the end of the Roman trial, Christ endured great emotional stress compounded by His disciples absconding and a beating after the Jewish trial. He was forced to walk for almost 3 miles to the various trial sites. Besides, Christ must have slept little (if at all) and all these factors were going to make Him particularly vulnerable to the severe scourging He’d later receive.

The whips used by the Roman soldiers had thongs, to which small iron balls or sheep bones were tied at intervals. Though, Jewish law commanded that the highest strokes a man could receive was 39, the Romans had no limits. So, it’s save to say that Christ’s flogging could have been much worse.

Christ was whipped by two Roman soldiers referred to as LICTORS. He was whipped on His Chest, Back, Gluteus and Legs. The beatings tore His Skin and underlying subcutaneous tissues. Then the underlying muscles were tattered by the whippings. The ribs could have been fractured by repeated blows, leading to laceration of superficial blood vessels. At a point of the fierce whippings, blood would have spurted out of His deep wounds with each beat.

Blows to Christ’s back would have been excrutiatingly painful. Perforation of the back muscles by the whippings would send impulses that exceeded the pain threshold. The spinous processes of His vertebrae would have been cracked as a result of the beatings.

By the time the lictors were done, Christ had lost so much blood that He had a reduced blood pressure and blood flow. This would have led to a state of shock which would in turn lead to irreversible cell and organ damage.

A crown of thorns (which was most likely to be a helmet of thorns, rather than a carefully plaited crown) was placed on Christ’s head. With the crown on His head, He was also receiving blows to that same head. This would have driven the thorns deeper into the highly vascularized scalp and forehead. At this point, the pain could be best described as indescribable, because of the perforation of nerves, arteries and veins on His head.

Roman soldiers got Christ a royal robe which they consistently wore and took of Him. Each time this happened, the clotted blood on His wounds would reopen, bleed and cause more pain.

Weakened from His scourging, Christ was made to carry His Cross. He fell from the weight of the Cross. This could have led to a blunt chest trauma and a contused heart.

Christ was dehydrated and hypovolemic by the time He reached Golgotha. Nails of about 5 to 7 inches in length were driven into His hands and feet. The nails caused injuries to His median, peroneal and plantar nerves. Insects burrowed into open wounds and orifices in His battered body.

On the cross, Christ had difficulty in breathing. Maximum inhalation was only possible when His body weight was supported by His outstretched arms. But exhalation was impossible in this position, besides, the pain would be too much for His perforated arms to bear, so He had to shift His weight back to His lower extremeties. Christ had to alternate between the two positions just to keep breathing, yet He also had to be careful so as not to reopen clotted wounds. Eventually, fatigue would build up in His muscles and so, He was forced to support His weight on His lower extremeties. Not being able to breathe properly, Christ’s chest and respiratory muscles became paralyzed with increased strain and pain. The inevitable was only moments away…

To ascertain Christ’s clinical death, a random Roman soldier pierced Christ’s side at an angle that reached the base of His heart. The serous pericardial fluid, as well as blood from the heart, gushed out of Christ’s side.

Christ was buried and on the third day, He was resurrected and now is on the right side of power.

But what I continually see, is Christ, with His outstretched arms on the Cross, saying:

“I love you this much. I’d rather die, than live without you”

What would your response be ?!!


Bleeding Bland Blood

In the days of old, the eyeballs of the Medical Profession were at the patellas. All were in the darkness of ignorance, groping via trial and error. Dirty gloves were used and reused till they tore. Single needles used on multiple patients. Painful surgeries without anaesthesia. Surgery equipments were not sterilized. In fact, ‘sterile’ was accepted as standard medical practice as recently as the early 20th century. Thank God for advancements in science!

Bleeding was one of the crude practices carried out by the doctors of those days. They would usually bleed a terminally ill patient, with the hope that ‘old contaminated’ blood would be flushed out of the body! As you probably guessed right, these patients were usually bled to death.

The logic behind bleeding in those days was plausible, but was not practical for a number of reasons. For instance, blood is needed to transport materials such as oxygen, food nutrients and waste round the body. Bleeding a terminally sick patient was always going to make matters worse. Also, ‘flushing’ out ‘old blood’ isn’t going to do anything if the basic cause of the sickness was not found. Even if it could, it would take weeks, if not months for the ‘new blood’ to meet the required volume necessary to support life!

Thankfully, doctors don’t bleed patients nowadays. But as individuals, we should NEVER stop bleeding ourselves. Figuratively, of course!
We all have character flaws that we aren’t happy with.
We find ourselves in circumstances we’re uncomfortable in.
We all want a better quality of life for ourselves and loved ones.
But are we ready to bleed?
Are we ready to take a leap of faith and let go of whatever we already have in order to get what we are anxiously looking for?
Are we ready to release the old to make room for the new?
Are we ready to jump headlong into uncertainty?
I can’t answer these questions for you. But as you are pondering on these matters, I wish you a Happy Bleeding in advance.