Good Friday Reality Check

Noon, Friday, April 7, About 30AD: The hardened Romans who lead the bloody and battered Jesus on His final walk through Gennath Gate towards Golgotha – the Place of the Skull – are mostly indifferent to His acute pain and impending execution.

On the 500-metre journey from Pontius Pilate’s Antonia Fortress, several Jewish women join the mob following the execution party.

They begin to weep and wail, but Jesus – speaking in the manner of the great prophets – warns of a world of the future; a time of great misery for those who reject his message of love.

The two thieves who are to die with Him are probably already naked and semi-conscious on their crosses when Jesus arrives. The centurions who accompanied the robbers are sitting on the ground, sharing out the possessions of the two men.

Others untie the ropes binding Jesus and strip Him of His clothes. The Roman practice of crucifixion includes total degradation. The only concession is that women are allowed to be crucified facing the cross, but they, too, are naked.

The soldiers work efficiently to nail Jesus’ wrists to the patibulum (the horizontal part of the cross) and attach it to the upright. Two nails are then driven through each foot.

Looking down from the cross, Jesus must experience the world’s rejection. This final barbaric operation is watched by His enemies.

A priest, perhaps the High Priest Caiaphas, shouts: “He helped others. He can not help Himself.”
There are no clouds in the sky and no sound of thunder or flashes of lightning. But the heavens deepen to a deep blue and continue to darken for the rest of the day. Many are afraid.

The darkness seems to be experienced throughout Europe. In fact, records found later in Rome state the darkness is worldwide and can not be explained.

Greek historian Phlegon is later to write that in the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad, there was a great darkness over Europe, surpassing anything that had been seen. At the same time, an earthquake caused significant damage in Cyprus.

1pm: Behind the crosses, according to a chilling account in Luke, the soldiers play a game rolling knucklebones and argue loudly over the possessions of the condemned.

About this time, Jesus looks up and says something extraordinary: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

He is praying for his enemies, as He encouraged others to do in that unforgettable sermon delivered on Mt Hattin.
This is what He meant by love.
The crowd is thinning, but there are still the mocking voices. They are joined by one more from a cross.
The man on Jesus’ left finally explodes in anger.
“Are you not the Messiah?” he screams. “Save yourself, and then us.”
The other thief yells that he and his companion deserve death, but Jesus does not.
“Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom,” he says.
The Messiah, speaking and breathing with great difficulty, makes a promise: “Today you shall be with me in paradise.”
The three men are weak, but death is not ready for them yet. Of the three, Jesus is closest to death. He has been given no food or water for many hours, He has been beaten and is in great shock.

2pm: Jesus begins his final hour on the cross, surrounded by a few who love Him, and a few who despise Him.
He calls forward His mother, Mary. He says to the disciple John, “Behold, here is your mother”.
The message is clear. John must care for Mary as if she were his natural mother.

3pm: He cries: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
Then, with a final cry, “It is finished”, Jesus’ body sags on the cross and dies.
The ground trembles and a crack splits the hill of the execution. The crack goes right through Jerusalem, right through the middle of the Temple.

The inner veil of the Temple is split from top to bottom. The news of this rending is not revealed immediately to the people.

A CENTURION, jumping to his feet in alarm, looks at Jesus.
“Surely, this man was the Son of God,” he says.
The bodies of the crucified must be removed from the crosses by sundown on the Passover, otherwise the place will be defiled and no Jew can set foot in it.

The guards are ordered to apply the crufragium, an instrument designed to break the legs of the crucified. This brings certain and quick death by asphyxia because the condemned can no longer catch their breath by pushing on their legs to raise the body.

The guards begin with the one to be called The Good Thief. He sinks to the bottom of the cross.
Then they move towards Jesus. A guard says Jesus is already dead, but another is to make certain because any mistake on the soldier’s part will result in his death.

The guard draws back his lance and aims for the right side of the Messiah’s chest. The lance drives inwards between the fifth and sixth ribsEven if Jesus was in perfect health, He could not survive this blow.

Out of the wound comes blood and water. Modern medicine tells us this can only happen when the aortic valve ruptures because of the formation of thrombotic vegetations in the valve. Such certain death is caused by extreme emotional trauma.

This banal act of desecration is conclusive post mortem evidence that Jesus is dead – not the usual crucifixion death of suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock.

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28 thoughts on “Good Friday Reality Check

  1. Pingback: Good Friday Reality Check | debbiehughett1

  2. The guards are thinking Jesus must be the Son of God, yet they inflict a fatal spear blow? After a perfectly timed earthquake? At which point they still feared for their lives more than they feared the wrath of God?

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    • Jason,

      No, the account does not say the guards think he is the Son of God. It is only the Centurian who is supposed to have said that.

      Another point there. As I understand it, there is no definite article in the sentence supposedly spoken by him, and recorded in the Greek text of the Christian Testament. And for a Pagan individual like that officer, it is not impossible for him to recognize some of the attributes that one would expect to discern in ‘a’ son of God (quite a legitimate Pagan concept). Not at all likely that he would be using Jewish type of terminology or meaning.

      I am of course quite familiar with the legends that give the Centurian the name of Longinus. If I recall correctly, they go on to make him into a Christian Saint. Still held by the Orthodox Church to this day.

      By the way, Bryan, just where can one read about this darkness over the world other than in the much touted Phlegon bit? Just what Roman records??? Funny that it is not observed and quoted anywhere else, as for example, in the very meticulous records of Pliny fo example. In China? In India? Persia? Just sounds a bit too much like typical folk-lore.

      Rian.

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      • Ah so the Centurion is the Roman overseer who would be the least likely to believe in Jesus as the Son of God, while the guards were more likely to be of the poor class who Jesus helped and would be more likely to believe – as the historian Josephus mentions crucifixions were typically run by those of the poor class?

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      • Many writers have adopted an intertextual approach, looking at earlier texts from which the author of the Mark Gospel may have drawn. In particular, parallels have often been noted between the darkness and the prediction in the Book of Amos of an earthquake in the reign of King Uzziah of Judah: “On that day, says the Lord God, I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight”.[59] Particularly in connection with this reference, read as a prophecy of the future, the darkness can be seen as portending the end times.[60]

        Another likely literary source is the plague narrative in the Book of Exodus, in which Egypt is covered by darkness for three days.[61] It has been suggested that the author of the Matthew Gospel changed the Marcan text slightly to more closely match this source.[62] Commentators have also drawn comparisons with the description of darkness in the Genesis creation narrative,[63] with a prophecy regarding mid-day darkness by Jeremiah,[64] and with an end-times prophecy in the Book of Zechariah.[65][66]

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  3. Dabs,

    I’m half asleep; just got woken up by a loud knock on the door ( room service). As I am taking in the beautiful vista from our holiday accommodation, a thought comes to mind that it is Michael’s birthday today, which just happens to be on Good Friday this year, chuckle.

    Anyway, just wanting to wish you a Happy Birthday old chum…..and to remind you that God loves you. He demonstrated His love for us on this Day we call GOOD.

    Also, many Happy Returns Bryan for your birthday.

    Love you

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    • blimey,
      well happy birthday to all thems what has birthdays about now. And – well I had no idea that we’d manage to hear from our dear Monica during her trip away.
      Hi Mon my love, if you are on line in any shape or form. do look after yourself.
      Rian.

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    • And for me, which is in a few days! I didn’t know there were so many April babies here.

      Can’t wait to hear about your trip Monica.

      Happy Easter!!

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    • Too many anomalies to be taken seriously.
      eg….”3pm: He cries: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.”
      Then, with a final cry, “It is finished”, Jesus’ body sags on the cross AND DIES.”

      So he’s dead before he gets speared, and, being dead has no heartbeat.
      Without a heart beating a spear-wound would not bleed (and/or expel water as far as I know). Further, whose (eyewitness) word are wed expected to believe, on what authority, and where were they standing when the ‘reported’ events occurred?

      Can anyone really imagine a Roman soldier going out of his way to be different, in direct defiance of his orders, military protocols and SOP?

      Someone also forgot to mention that anyone suffering from thrombotic vegetations is on the point of death anyway, from cancer, heart-disease. TB, etc. It may, in fact, be what killed him.

      This, … “Even if Jesus was in perfect health, He could not survive this blow.” is an assumption. There are endless examples of creatures with much more severe injuries surviving ~ at least for some period of time.
      In fact, my mother took 24 hours to die from a (real) lacerated aorta. She bled to death.

      Think I’ll wait for the movie to come out……

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      • Yes, and if I believed in star signs, I would actually fit the Taurus sign quite well 🙂

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      • I knew that!
        My crystal-ball told me just that, and numerology confirmed it! 🙂

        Seriously though, I think it’s remarkable about how accurately those astrology ‘characters’ can be on more than a ‘law-of-averages’ basis.
        My mother often said I was a typical Aries, even as a little kid:- ‘Lead-With-The-Chin’ was my nickname! (at least in places where more than four letters were required….:) )

        And she was present at the mid-April birth of my youngest niece, who apparently came out kicking and screaming. Whereupon my mother was heard to utter in despair: ‘Oh god! It’s another Michael’. (As she grew my brother, in unguarded moments actually used to wonder………True ~ she even looked like me: a tough blonde: nothing at all like her sisters.)

        She got a write-up in the local rag for decking a pet-shop owner for not treating a kitten properly….right in front of the local police-sergeant who’d turned up to keep the peace!

        Or maybe we just subconsciously see in people what ‘the stars’ tell us we should see?….and they respond accordingly?

        I mean….think about it:- Can you imagine a more classical ‘Capricorn’ than Jesus?? 😯

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      • There you go Dabs. In life most of my close friends are Aries. You see. It was meant to be.

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    • aaah Monica!:- “more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.”
      Thanks for the thought ~ and even more for the memory.
      Another case of where very little can mean so much.
      Must make the effort to catch up when you get back.

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      • Thanks young fella; you too. (Explains where the bossiness comes from, huh? 🙂 )
        And you’re right: my mother deliberately named me after the fella with the flaming sword and warped sense of humour ~ (he’s the one that got involved with Barbarella, isn’t he?) ~ and all her life kept lamenting:- “It didn’t take!”
        “Where did god and I go wrong?” 😆

        It’s all in the perspective though. My catholic ‘friend’ of 30+ years made the same connection early on. Spent some time with her a few days ago, and SHE still reckons god git it “ju-u-ust right”.

        Ycan see why I’m not a feminist, can’t you? I just like women too much!

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    • Actually Dabbles,]
      there is absolutely no evidence that Christians were ever tormented or killed in the Roman Colosseum. But they were killed in a number of the other public arenas in the Empire. It appears that every major city had its own such construction. It was at Carthage that one of the most quoted martyrdoms took place. — a very gory and horrible story it is too.
      Rian.

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  4. He was executed to remove a perceived threat to the state then and all who have followed Him since, have been so perceived as well. Now Western governments are reaching the point that they can move to fully extirpate the Judep Christian churches from public influence … unless something changes. . If I recall, the most notable aspect of such changes, is that they are painful.

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