AND THEY CRUCIFIED HIM
A medical doctor provides a physical description:
The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown
backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the
depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought-iron
nail through the wrist deep into . Quickly he moves to the other
side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly,
but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place.
The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet
extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the
knees flexed. The victim is now crucified.
As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists,
excruciating fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode
in the brain — the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median
nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he
places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the
searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of
As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting them deep
relentless, and throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to
push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not
exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath.
Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and
the cramps partially subsided. Spasmodically, he is able to push himself
upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.
Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-renting cramps,
intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his
lacerated back as he moves up and down against rough timber. Then another
agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium
slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.
It is now almost over. The loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical
level. The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish
blood into the tissues. The tortured lungs are making frantic effort to gasp
in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through his
Finally, he allows his body to die.
All this the Bible records with the simple words,
“and they crucified Him” (Mark 15:24).
— C. Truman Davis, M.D., M.S., Medicine, Vol. 22 No. 3 March 1965