If you’re a Christian, you know that this week is holy week. I know that some of the days in Holy Week aren’t celebrated by every church. I work at a Methodist school, so we have observances for every day.
For today’s Worship Wednesday post, I wanted to talk about some of the science behind some of the conditions that Jesus suffered from on his way to the cross. And, if you’re a non-believer who thinks I will be saying “he didn’t really die and rise from the dead,” then don’t bother reading. I fully believe this happened.
So, let’s get in to this:
JESUS SWEATS BLOOD
The medical term for sweating blood is Hematidrosis. While doctors don’t know exactly what triggers Hematidrosis, many think it is linked to the body’s “fight or flight” response. Hematidrosis has been linked to extreme distress or fear like facing death, torture, or severe and ongoing abuse.
While this could just be a sort of imagery in Luke to mean that Jesus was praying with great effort, it seems his situation would warrant the medical side of this very real condition.
Although there doesn’t seem to be too much information about it, we know from historical research from the time that this was the normal scourging that went on. Most scholars believe the soldiers who scourged Jesus used a flagrum (pictured) which was a leather whip containing pieces of metal, glass, and metal balls at the end of each strip of the whip.
CROWN OF THORNS
They mocked him by putting this crown of thorns on his head. They also gave him a reed in his hand and said to him, “Hail, King of the Jews.”
I never really connected it before, but I wonder if they chose thorns because of his parable of the seeds where he says that seeds are often chocked by thorns. Interesting!
But, at this point, we know that Jesus is severely stressed, he has taken a beating with a very dangerous weapon, and he has had a crown of thorns placed on to his head.
CARRYING THE CROSS
So, imagine being beaten, mocked, and wearing a crown of thorns and being forced to carry the cross up to Calvary. We know it was hard for him to carry.
“And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.” – Matthew 27:32
JESUS' TIME ON THE CROSS
as he pushed up on his nailed feet just to breathe. This would also cause him pain on his wounds and his hands and arms. The goal was to make those being crucified suffer as much as possible. It might take days for someone to die. People would come out for the set up and stay for a while, but then they would leave the crucifixion victims out there until they passed.
Usually, to make sure that they couldn't escape, the guards would break their knees. This didn't happen with Jesus.
"Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water." - John 19:32-34
This water mingled with blood is a condition that happens when the organs begin to shut down. This was likely coming from his lungs and heart. Dr. Cahleen Shrier from Azusa Pacific University, said that this watery liquid was lkikely caused by carbon dioxide build-up in the blood, which causes a high level of carbonic acid in the blood.
This makes the person want to breathe to get more oxygen in the body. However, if the person can't breathe well, it causes damage to tissues which cause capillaries to leak!
Welcome to a new series all about Christ! For the next few Sundays, the blog posts will be Jesus-themed focusing on Christmas as the time of year where Christians observe Jesus' birthday.
In today's blog, I wanted to talk a bit about the religious origins of Christmas. Grab a snack, sit back, and prepare to learn more about the day we celebrate Jesus' birth.
EARLY RELIGIOUS CELEBRATIONS
Several centuries prior to Jesus' birth, the winter months were always used as a time of celebration to help lift the spirits around the darkest times of year. Dark meaning the opposite of light. However, you could also say that time of year was rather dark, as many cattle were slaughtered so that farmers wouldn't have to feed them in the winter.
Winter solstice was often celebrated as long days were finally over! Celebrations also happened in Norse communities where Dec. 21 marked the first day of Yule when it was customary for fathers and sons to gather logs to burn while they enjoyed a Winter solstice feast. This is where the Yule log's name came from.
Pagans paid respects to Oden, of whom they were terrified. The pagans believed that Oden would fly through the sky and watch them at night to decide their fate. Even though the winter was freezing, most pagans would say they were staying inside to escape Oden's watchful eye.
JESUS' INTRO TO WINTER CELEBRATIONS
Unsurprisingly, Christmas wasn't the most important holiday to early Christians. Instead, Christians focused their religious celebrations on Easter Sunday, the day that Jesus rose from the grave after being crucified three days earlier.
No one is 100 percent sure as to why the date was chosen, but most scholars believe that Pope Julius I was trying to have the Christian holiday around the same time as pagan holidays and holidays of the non-religious in order to take over their traditions.
Christmas spread to Egypt by 432, then to England by the end of the 6th century, according to the History Channel. People around the world all the way to Scandinavia celebrated the holiday. Of course, the tradition came to America along with the pilgrims and other early settlers.
A MISDIRECTION IN PLANS
I apologize if this blog post seemed entirely too long, but I really enjoyed doing the research! I hope you learned something new. It seems that our modern-day Christmas combines a number of old traditions and Christmas traditions.
I hope you enjoyed and I hope you enjoy this educational series!
HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
There is a common misconception that there are several ways to get to Heaven when you die. This isn't true. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN.
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do: