As we all know, Jesus died around 2,000 years ago. What you may not have known is how Jesus died. Apparently, as Jesus was being tortured on the cross a fatal blood clot made it into His lungs. This would also account for His shortness of breath and chest pains. When questioned, a Roman Soldier, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “We had just finished beating, whipping, mocking, and spitting on an exhausted man, then we nailed Him to the cross and raised it (the cross) up in the air, and then all of a sudden, after He had hung up there, struggling for breath for six hours, He just died. Let me just say on behalf of the Roman Empire, we never intended for it to go this far.”
First it was asphyxiation, then blood loss, now a pulmonary embolism. What’s next, natural causes? It seems that the world wants to be rid of the guilt of Christ’s murder. But that’s another blog. This is about how Jesus died.
Looking at this biblically, we must consider two things, 1) Jesus was murdered, and 2) Jesus gave up His own life. These two statements seem at odds. Either He was murdered or He gave up His own life, but it cannot be both. Or can it? The Bible says both. (Acts 2:22-23, John 19:30) How can we reconcile these? Very simply. Jesus used His own murder as the means of giving up His own life by His own will. And this is the way God had planned from the beginning. The Son would lay down His life as a ransom for many. He was then taken by wicked hands and crucified. And yet at the end we are reminded that He is still in control by the statement, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. (ESV)
What about the blood clot, asphyxiation, blood loss, exhaustion, and emotional trauma? We can understand these in the same way. Jesus used them just as He used Pilate, the Sanhedrin, and the Soldiers. But He was always in control.
However, focusing on these physical sufferings of Christ, although needful at times, is not the main point of His death. God was doing something on the cross. He was taking all our sin, exemplified by our human hands that killed Jesus, and placing them on Christ. And then the Father punished His Son for those same sins. Tradition says that the centurion believed and became a Christian. If so, then even the very murder of Christ was placed upon Christ. Christ died for His own murder! Understood biblically, we all are that centurion. Our sins are the reason Christ died. Our sins were, in a sense, the hands that nailed Him to the cross.
Another transaction was also taking place. Even as Jesus was taking our sin on Himself, we were taking His righteousness on ourselves. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Imagine that! Better yet, don’t imagine it, experience it! That centurion who had just nailed Christ to the cross no longer had the guilt of nailing Christ to the cross. Christ had it. And in its place the centurion had the righteousness of Christ. The sin had been committed by the centurion, but the consequences of that sin had been poured out on Jesus Christ. Christ was punished for our sins, so that we might become righteous before God, and in turn have peace with God.
So instead of worrying about Christ’s physical pain (which was excruciating, I’m sure), remember His spiritual pain. He took the full wrath of God Almighty in His own body, in order to be able to present us, one day, righteous before God Almighty.