(Editor’s Note: This article originally was posted in 2004. The Father’s love and the Father’s sacrifice of His one and only Son is a pain well known to the author of this article. Nine years ago today Alex Metherell’s son, Mark, was killed when a roadside bomb exploded in Baghdad, Iraq. Metherell was a former Navy Seal and was serving in Iraq to train Iraqi forces to defend their own country. He was described by neighbors as friends as a gentleman, a godly and loving husband, and a true hero. But to Pam and Alex Metherell, he was their only son. As you read Alex’s scholarly medical article about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, read it this week knowing that this sacrifice is real. God really gave up His own Son sacrificially on our account. And that reality changes not only the history of the world but the reality of death’s power over us today. Mark Metherell’s life verse was Romans 8:38, “All things work together for Good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.” Indeed, Mark lived a life worthy of the calling to which he was called and we pray today for his family and friends who remember today differently than all others.)
By Alex F. Metherell, MD, PhD
Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ” has generated more controversy in the media than any movie in recent memory. One of the main criticisms has been that the violence the movie depicts is excessive. The fact is that neither the flogging nor the crucifixion as shown was as bad or as violent as the actual event – as I will explain later.
I became interested in the medical and engineering aspects of the crucifixion when, as a relatively new believer, I attended medical school at the University of Miami in Florida in 1974-1976. I already had my engineering doctorate so my medical training made it fairly simple to work out the physiology of whole process, which was confirmed later in the JAMA paper published by W. D. Edwards, et. al. in 1986. The engineering load analysis, when added to the physiological information, will make it obvious why the Roman form of crucifixion is the most horrible, cruel, painful and humiliating form of execution ever devised.
I could describe it all in antiseptic impersonal terms removed from the actual event, which would make it easier for our minds to bear. Instead, I will describe it as we are going along following the events as they actually happened to our Lord and Savior as depicted in the movie by Gibson. As a physician it is easy to be impersonal and detached, but the subject matter demands that we experience it in our hearts as well as our minds – so that we can know how great a price he paid to redeem us and so that we may love him all the more. So, bear with me because this is going to be simultaneously a horrifying and wonderful experience for us all.
Read the rest of The Passion of the Christ The Most Amazing Love Story of all Time.