Why did blood and water come out of Jesus’ body when he was pierced with a spear?

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Blood and water came out of Jesus’ body when he was pierced with a spear due to a process of sufferings that He experienced. Let’s review it briefly:

Hemohedrosis at Gethsemane

Jesus lost bodily fluids in the Garden of Gethsemane where He went to pray.  There, He sweat drops of blood. This is a medical condition called hemohedrosis, where the capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands break down. And blood released from the vessels mixes with the sweat; therefore, the body sweats drops of blood. Jesus’ great mental anguish was the cause for He declared, “my soul is deeply grieved to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38).

The flogging

Again, Jesus lost blood when he was flogged by the Romans (Mark 15:15; John 19:1) for they flogged their victims with 39 lashes. The instrument of wiping was made of leather strips with metal balls and sharp bones. The flogging left deep cuts into the flesh tearing it and exposing the bones causing the victims to bleed heavily. The beatings were so severe that some victims didn’t survive the experience.

After the flogging victims would lose about one fifth or more of the normal amount of blood due to bleeding. So, they slip into a hypovolemic shock. This condition happens when a severe blood or fluid loss makes the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body. And the loss of blood would make the heart speed to pump more blood causing the victim to fall or faint due to low blood pressure.

The crown of thorns

Then, Jesus lost blood when the Roman soldiers placed a crown of thorns on His head (Matthew 27:28-29) and hit His head (Matthew 27:30). The thorns from the crown pierced His skin and He bleed profusely (Matthew 27:30). At this point, Jesus’ physical condition due to severe blood loss without replacement was dangerous.

The hypovolemic shock

Consequently, Jesus experienced a hypovolemic shock when he was carrying the cross on his way to Golgotha (John 19:17). And He was unable to carry the cross. So, the soldiers compelled a man named Simon of Cyrene to bear His cross to the place called Golgotha (Matthew 27:32–33; Mark 15:21–22; Luke 23:26).

The nails in the hands and feet

At Golgotha, the soldiers “nailed his hands and feet to the cross” (Mark 15:24-26). So, Jesus hands and feet bled heavily. And the weight of His body pulled down on the diaphragm and the air moved into His lungs and remained there. So, to exhale, Jesus had to push up on His nailed bleeding feet which increased the agony and the bleeding.

The pericardial and pleural effusion

At the same time, the continued fast heartbeat to circulate the available oxygen before Jesus’ death, caused damage to the tissues. So, the capillaries leaked watery fluid from the blood into the tissues. This condition resulted in an accumulation of fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion) and the lungs (pleural effusion). And these bodily fluids abnormally gathered in the pericardial and pleural cavities.

And this explains why, when a Roman soldier pierced Jesus’ side after He died (John 19:34) with a spear into his lungs and heart to make sure He was dead, that “blood and water came out” (John 19:34) which referred to the watery fluid around the heart and lungs.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

This page is also available in: हिन्दी (Hindi)

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