Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday reflections from Dr. Holoubek

Why did Jesus die? I think it's the question all Christians have to confront at one time or another, especially on this day, Good Friday.

Well, Dr. Joe Holoubek wrote an article looking at it from a medical perspective because people who were crucified usually took more than 24 hours to die. Jesus died in three hours. Here's pieces of the article:

Jesus died when He willed it.

For decades (my wife) Dr. Alice and I gave presentations on the sufferings of Christ at Calvary. We also researched and published scholarly articles on the subject.

I discovered, for instance, that there are 78 documented cases of hematidrosis or bloody sweat in medical literature. Other people, under severe stress, have sweat blood through unbroken skin.

In our more than 300 public meditations on the death of Jesus, Dr. Alice would show images of the Shroud of Turin, an ancient burial cloth of a man who was crucified, and discuss what the stains tell us about the wounds and battered condition of the body. But she refused to pin down a medical cause for Christ’s early death. Jesus died, she would say, when He wished to die....

There’s no doubt Christ was weak. He’d had no sleep for at least 30 hours, having walked to Jerusalem from Ephraim. He’d had nothing to eat or drink for about 20 hours—since the Passover meal. At the house of Annas and later, He took several heavy blows to the face and head. Then He was scourged and crowned with thorns. And yet Jesus was able to walk to the home of Pontius Pilate, to the palace of Herod and back.

He had to carry a 90-pound crosspiece on the path to Calvary. It surely was a stumbling procession, even with the help of Simon the Cyrene. And yet Jesus was able to talk clearly with the women on the scene.

His was a routine and professional crucifixion. Nails were driven through His hands and feet with excruciating pain but a minimum of bleeding.

Jesus probably coughed continuously from congestion of the lung. But He received enough blood to the brain to forgive his enemies, entrust his mother to John the apostle, and speak to the thieves crucified alongside him.

No one in a state of shock could have said all of this, especially from an upright position. Blood pressure would be too low or completely absent.

Then the dying Jesus let out a final cry. It is consummated. Or, in another translation, It is finished.

What was consummated? What was finished? It has to be that Jesus had completed the work his Father had sent Him to do.

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