A medical doctor provides a physical description:
The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quicklyÂ thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaireÂ feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy,Â square wrought-ironÂ nail through the wrist deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to theÂ other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the armsÂ too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement.
The cross is thenÂ lifted into place. The left foot is pressed backward against the rightÂ foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven throughÂ the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is nowÂ crucified.
As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists,Â excruciating fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms toÂ explode in the brain — the nails in the wrists are putting pressureÂ on the medianÂ nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment,Â he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feelsÂ the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between theÂ bones of his feet.
As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through his muscles, knotting themÂ deep relentless, and throbbing pain. With these cramps comes theÂ inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into theÂ lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get evenÂ one small breath.
Finally, carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the bloodÂ stream, and the cramps partially subsided. Spasmodically, he is ableÂ to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.
Hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-renting cramps,Â intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn fromÂ his lacerated back as he moves up and down against rough timber. ThenÂ another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as theÂ pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.
It is now almost over. The loss of tissue fluids has reached aÂ critical level. The compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy,Â thick, sluggish blood into the tissues. The tortured lungs are makingÂ frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill ofÂ death creeping through his tissues.
Finally, he allows his body to die.
All this the Bible records with the simple words, “and they crucifiedÂ Him” (Mark 15:24)
– – – written by C. Truman Davis, M.D., M.S.