From the Cross
When we speak of excruciating pain, we do well to look at the etymology of that adjective: ex cruce, “out of the cross.” It is nearly impossible to exaggerate what the Savior suffered on the cross.
Whether the cause of Jesus’ death was asphyxiation, or hypercarbia, or hypovolemic shock, or heart failure, or exsanguination, or total physical exhaustion brought on by tetanic contractions throughout his entire bodyor any combination of these, or any other plausible suggestionthe astounding fact is that Jesus, at the very end, “cried out again with a loud voice.” From a medical perspective, this is surprising.
Surely, it was the last thing anyone on Calvary could have expected. This “loud voice” demonstrated, nonetheless, the truth of the Savior’s claim: “I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:1718).
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).
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