Holy Week Experience
You’ve seen many pictures where it looks like the nails were through the palms, but historically they would nail in the wrist, between the two bones. When it would go through it would hit that nerve that goes up your arm and be excruciatingly painful.
The death on the cross was a death of suffocation. If you hang this way for any period of time, what happens is the muscles around your chest cavity begin to paralyze. When all the weight of your body is held this way, eventually you’re able to breathe in but you can’t breathe out. So the death on the cross would have been a simple death of suffocation except the Romans didn’t want to make it that easy.
What they would do is take a person’s knees and bend them a little bit and nail the feet to the cross. So a man would be hanging there in absolute agony until the pain in his chest was about to explode then he would lift himself up on his feet that were nailed to the cross, so he could breathe. He would hold that position until He could no longer stand the pain in his feet and He would let himself back down again, until the pain in his lungs became unbearable.
The death on the cross was up and down, up and down. It was an incredibly torturous event. That’s why the Bible tells us (and history too) that the Romans would eventually break the legs of the person on the cross. They couldn’t stand up anymore and then they’d suffocate.
That’s the kind of punishment that Jesus went through on the cross. Why? Why did Jesus have to die? They took a spear and stuck it in His side just to make sure He had died and it says water and blood came out of the chest cavity.
There are many books that have been written on this and doctors say that the only way you get water and blood mixing in the chest cavity is if the heart rips. You can call it what you want, but Jesus died of a broken heart. His heart exploded. He was saying, “I love you so much it hurts!”
Why did Jesus have to die, because somebody had to pay for our sins. There’s a law of the universe that says you reap what you sow. If you break man’s laws, you pay man’s penalties. If you break God’s laws, you pay God’s penalties.
The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” The Good News is it’s already been paid for. Jesus said, “You deserve punishment.” Because, all of us do, because, none of us are perfect. All of us have blown it. He said, “I love you so much. I created you, I will come to earth and take your punishment for you.”