When the movie The Passion of the Christ was released 15 years ago, snobbish Hollywood critics mocked it because it offered a realistic depiction of Jesus' torture and death. I know people who couldn't watch the R-rated violence in Mel Gibson's movie because it was such an accurate portrayal of a brutal, first-century Roman execution.
Yet the blood in that movie was fake. The intense pain Jesus felt on the cross was real.
Nobody performed an autopsy on Jesus' mangled body after He was taken down from the cross. But doctors who have studied the Bible's description of His death say the pain would have been beyond excruciating. In fact, the word "excruciating" means "out of the cross."
His suffering began in Gethsemane, where God laid the sins of the world on His beloved Son. The intense stress caused hematidrosis, a condition in which blood seeps out of sweat glands. Luke the physician, whose description of the crucifixion is the most detailed, wrote that Jesus' sweat "became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44b).
After His arrest, Jesus was flogged so mercilessly that his skin was stripped off His back, exposing muscle and bone. After being slapped, punched, crowned with thorns and beaten with reeds, He was covered with a red robe and led to Golgotha. There, Roman soldiers drove nails (more like seven-inch spikes) into his wrists—most likely hitting the median nerve, causing more blinding pain. read more