What is crucifixion?
C. Truman Davis, MD in The Expositer’s Bible Commentary writes: The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist (not the palm of the hand). He drives a heavy, square wroght-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place.
The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified. As he slowly sags down, with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain — the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid stretching torment, he places full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the bones of the feet.
As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.
Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins: a deep crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.
It is now almost over — the loss of tissue fluids reaches a critical level — the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues — the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air.
He can feel the chill of death creeping through his tissues … finally he can allow his body to die.
All this the Bible records with the simple words, “And they crucified him.” (Mark 15:24)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.” John 3:16-19 ESV