The death of Jesus Christ is one of the most significant events that Christians commemorate. This topic is worth discussing since different theories try to explain the crucifixion. What people want to understand is how did Jesus die?
Though the Bible suggests that Jesus died on the cross when he was crucified, no verse clearly explains the cause of his death. Matthew 27 describes how Jesus was crucified. It says he was accused and condemned before Pilate and was taken by the soldiers to Golgotha. They stripped him, put him in a scarlet robe, and placed a crown of thorns on his head. They nailed his hands and crucified him on the cross. Darkness filled the earth in the sixth hour, and in the ninth hour, Jesus died.
Does the Bible mention how Jesus died? How did Jesus die from a medical point of view? How can scientists tell what caused Jesus’ death? These are some of the questions that this article will cover. By the end of it, one can also learn how Jesus was crucified. Read on to find out more!
Does the Bible mention how Jesus died?
Though the Bible explains how Jesus was crucified, it does not explicitly state how Jesus died.
According to the canonical gospels, the Roman Empire crucified Jesus. They stripped him of his clothes and hung him on a cross between two convicted thieves. The Gospel of John suggests that the Roman soldiers did not break the legs of Jesus as they did to the two thieves. The Gospel of Mark explains that Jesus died by the 9th hour.
Isaiah 53:5 tries to explain some of the things Jesus underwent when he was crucified. This verse says, But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds, we are healed.
On the other hand, Matthew 27:46 reveals how much agony Jesus went through before he died. This verse says, And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, Eli, Eli lama sabachthani, that is My God my God, why have you forsaken me?
How did Jesus die from a medical point of view?
Execution by crucifixion involved a slow and painful death. There is no clear consensus among physicians on what exactly caused Jesus’ death from a medical point of view. Some argue that he died from a fatal stab wound, while others believe that his cause of death was a traumatic hemorrhagic shock.
Those who believe that Jesus died from a fatal stab wound try to support this theory by quoting John 19:24. This verse says, instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. However, some experts do not agree with this theory, arguing that blood flowing from his side meant that he was still alive when he was stabbed since dead bodies did not bleed.
Other experts believe that Jesus’ cause of death was a traumatic hemorrhagic shock. John 19:1-25 describes how Pilate ordered Jesus to be brutally beaten with a whip of leather straps. The whip had pieces of lead that were tied in the ends. Experts argue that such extraordinary beating caused blunt trauma in the body of Jesus before he was crucified. According to these experts, the beatings may have caused shock, an effect of decreased blood perfusion, and tissue damage from oxygen deprivation.
How can scientists tell what caused Jesus’ death?
Some scientists believe that he died from extreme blood loss from the beatings and the crown of thorns. John 19:1 says, Then Pilate ordered Jesus to be brutally beaten with a whip of leather straps embedded with metal. And the soldiers also wove thorn branches into a crown and set it on his head.
Scientists argue that the metal balls in the middle of the strips caused deep bruising on Jesus’ body. Since the tips of each strip also have sheep bone, this dags into Jesus’ muscles, leading to flesh tearing. The beating, therefore, made Jesus lose lots of blood, making his blood pressure fall and his body into shock.
John 19: 28 says, Later, knowing that everything has now been finished and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, I am thirsty. Scientists suggest that Jesus felt thirsty since his body tried to remedy imbalances like decreased blood volume. His thirst may have been his body’s response to his suffering.
They also argue that the crown of thorns on Jesus’ head caused nerve damage to his head and severe pain to his neck and face. Mark 15:24 says, they nailed his hands and feet on the cross.
Some scientists believe that the piercing of the hands also contributed to more pain which in turn led to his death.
Others also argue that the position of Jesus’ body on the cross made it difficult for him to breathe. This factor and shock due to blood loss might have caused his heart to fail.
How was Jesus crucified?
According to the Gospels, the Roman soldiers mocked Jesus, calling him the King of the Jews, and dressed him in a purple robe. They placed a crown of turns on his head and led him to Golgotha, a place of skull. Since he was in so much pain and unable to carry his cross, Simon of Cyrene helped him.
When they got to Mount Calvary, the soldiers stripped him and nailed his hands on the cross. They offered him vinegar mixed with myrrh to drink, but Jesus refused. The soldiers placed an inscription on the cross stating that he had committed the crime of claiming to be the King of the Jews. Jesus hung on the cross in agony for hours as the soldiers divided his garments into four parts. He was crucified between two convicted thieves.
The Gospel of John explains that while on the cross, one of the soldiers drove a spear into his side, and blood gushed from the wound. They continued mocking Jesus, daring him to come down from the cross to save himself (Luke 23:36). Before Jesus died, he said, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (Luke 23:46). After Jesus died, he was buried at a nearby tomb.
What was the relevance of Jesus’ death?
Though Jesus suffered one of the most painful deaths, the Bible suggests that he died for the sins of man as explained in 1st Corinthians 15:3. This verse says, For I delivered to you as of importance what I also received that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.
When Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s command, sin came to earth. Romans 3:23 says, For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But God sent his son to save us from sin. 2nd Corinthians 5:21 says, For our sake he made him be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The Bible also suggests that the death of Jesus was necessary, as explained in John 3:14. This verse says, And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.
Hebrews 10:7-10 also speculates that Jesus’s death was part of God’s eternal purpose. His death not only paid the penalty for sin but also brought redemption for humans. Galatians 3:14 talks of Jesus redeeming humankind from the curse of the law through his death. This verse says Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. For it is written, cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree. By his death, Jesus managed to destroy the works of the devil (Hebrews 2:14).
- Why did Jesus have to die?
- Don Stewart: Why Did Jesus Die on the Cross?
- Jesus’ Death and Resurrection (Matthew 27-28)
- What is more important, the death of Christ or his resurrection?
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.