David wrote his stunning description of the Messiah’s crucifixion, 1,000 years before Jesus was born and 600 years before the Persians invented this horrific method of execution.
By the time that Jesus was condemned to die on the cross, the Romans had perfected, what is described as “the most painful method of death that a man could experience.” The word “crucifixion” originates from the word “excruciating,” which means “agonizing or very embarrassing.” The agony of being crucified is described as so intense and traumatic that many a man would expire on the cross from the pain alone.
There are so many details in the 22nd Psalm which accurately describe the excruciating experience of the Messiah under crucifixion; it is certain that this was written exclusively for Jesus who fulfilled every verse of this execution narrative. This account is a vivid description of what the Messiah will endure when He arrives at Jerusalem to fulfill His appointed place in human history.
Psalms 22:6-17 But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.
Psalms 22:7 All those who see Me ridicule Me
Psalms 22:14 I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me.
Psalms 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws
Psalms 22:16 …They pierced My hands and My feet…
Psalms 22:17 I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.
Psalms 22:18 They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.
It has been calculated that the odds of one person being able to fulfill just eight of the over 400 prophecies which Jesus fulfilled, as greater than, 10¹⁷. To give you an idea just how enormous this number is: Experts, who believe that the universe originated from a singularity, estimate that since the initial “Big Bang,” there have been 10¹⁷ seconds that have passed, or about 13.7 billion earth years.
The 22nd Psalm alone contains 17 predictions regarding the death of the Messiah. The probability that Jesus could fulfill these 17 prophecies which David vividly described, is beyond any possibility that He did so by accident. The fact that Jesus fulfilled all 17 of David’s predictions in the 22nd Psalm, demands that we acknowledge Him as the intended subject of these prophecies.
The Messiah’s suffering was more than physical
Jesus paid for our sins in both His body and His soul. Living as a perfect man in a fallen world alone was an incredibly difficult task for Jesus and caused Him unimaginable suffering. As righteous Lot was daily vexed in his soul by living in Sodom and Gomorrah, so also was Jesus deeply hurt by seeing the effect that sin had on human life. As He observed how sickness and death touched so many people, it grieved Jesus deeply in His soul. The Lord watched as lives were shattered by hatred, greed, and a callous disregard for God in every part of their life. Jesus grieved and He suffered as a result of living amongst us for 30 years.
As the day of Jesus’ crucifixion drew near, His heartbreak for mankind increased drastically. In Matthew 26:38, Jesus told His disciples:
Matthew 26:38 “… My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”
Abandoned by His friends
All that Jesus asked of His friends was that they stay awake on the final night of His life and pray with Him. These men who had vowed to die for their Lord were so weak in their flesh that they could not fulfill this simple request. Jesus was left alone to bear the stress and anxiety of what He knew was ahead for Him in just a few hours. As the soldiers drew near to arrest Jesus, He would endure six illegal trials throughout the night and be brutally beaten and tortured. See the chapter in this book: The Illegal Trials of Jesus.
It is safe to say that Jesus experienced more mental anguish and went through greater physical suffering than any human being has ever endured. The reason that this is true is that no human being has ever had to bear the entire horror and burden of every sin committed by all human beings. As Jesus took the full weight of the sins of the world upon Himself, this was the source of His greatest suffering.
Consider this mental image:
Take all of the sins which you have committed throughout your life and place them into a cup. Now combine the sins of every member of your family. Next, take all the horrible things that everyone in your city has done throughout their lifetime. Finally, pour into this cup the horrors of all the vile and filthy sins that all people have committed for the entire history of the world.
All these horrifying, loathsome and unimaginable transgressions combined together into a single cup that Jesus would drink from in order to redeem us.
2 Corinthians 5:21 For He (the Father) made Him (the Son) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
1 Peter 2:24 (Jesus) who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree…
This requirement that Jesus would become all of our sins was perhaps the greatest suffering that He experienced. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked the father if He would remove His need to drink from this cup. To take all of our sins would mean that Jesus could no longer have fellowship with the Father. It was this reality that terrified Jesus the most. 
Luke 22:42-44 (Jesus) saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup (of sin) away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.… And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”
There was no other way that we could be set free from our sins and obtain eternal life, except that Jesus would drink from this cup and bear all our debt upon the cross. The stress and anguish of this moment caused a physical manifestation of devistation in Jesus’ body, which very few human beings have ever experienced.
According to medical science, during a moment of tremendous stress, the sweat gland of a person may rupture and emit drops of blood through the skin. This condition is known as “Hematidrosis.” Jesus was under such intense pressure at the knowledge that He was about to bear the sins of the whole world—He sweat great drops of blood.
This is a stunning example of the physical force that was upon Jesus while going to the cross on our behalf. Paul later used this example of Jesus’ sweating blood—as encouragement for us when we are suffering distress in our own life.
No matter how great our suffering might be—regardless of the distress we might be under, very few of us will ever sweat drops of blood as a result of our suffering. Although Jesus was the Son of God, He learned obedience by the things He suffered for us.
Hebrews 12:2-4 “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.”
The horrible consequences of crucifixion
Death by crucifixion was really death by suffocation. As the condemned person’s arms are outstretched to each side of the upper cross member, the lungs are compressed, causing great difficulty in breathing.
The only way that the condemned may take a breath is by pushing down onto the wooden cross with their pierced feet to relieve pressure on the upper arms. This allowed the lungs to decompress, permitting air to be taken into the lungs. The intense pain that would be experienced by pushing down on the two feet which are nailed to the cross would be unimaginable. With each lifting of the body, the torn and bleeding back of Jesus would scrape against the splintered wood of the cross, causing additional tearing and bleeding.
During the crucifixions of this day, many of the condemned were scourged before being placed on the cross. The purpose of the scourge was to exact a confession of guilt. If a confession of the crimes committed was made early, the criminal would receive fewer lashes from the scourge. In Jesus’ case, He had no crimes to confess because He was innocent of all charges to which He was accused. Paradoxically, because Jesus was innocent, He endured greater suffering as He was forced to take all 39 lashes. The torture of the scourge was so severe that many men expired long before they made it to the cross.
Because Jesus was fulfilling prophecy, He was required to endure the full number of 39 strikes by the scourge as well as the horrible brutality of the cross. It was not until all of this misery was heaped upon Jesus that He permitted His Spirit to depart His body, allowing death to free Him of this horrible suffering.
This narrative from Psalms 22:14, describes the Messiah’s heart melting like wax within Him.
Psalms 22:14 … My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me.”
Finally, when dehydration and exhaustion ended their efforts to raise their body up to breathe, the torture achieved its intended goal; being deprived of oxygen, the heart begins to accelerate its rate to over 300 beats per minute, called: “Tachardia.”
In one final massive failure, the heart bursts due to the stress placed upon it and the crucified dies immediately.
The testimony of those who were present at the time that Jesus was crucified—describes a Roman soldier who pierced Jesus side to ensure that He was dead. As the lance pierced Jesus flesh—blood and water came from the wound.
John 19:34 “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.”
Medical science describes the process of intense stress on the heart when under the suffering of crucifixion: The outer lining of the heart will often fill with fluid. As the heart races to try and carry the limited availability of oxygen to the lungs, the stress becomes so great that the heart ruptures. The presence of blood and water from the wound as described by the Apostle John, is an indication that Jesus heart had ruptured due to “Pericardial Effusion.” Literally, Jesus heart melted within Him and He died of a broken heart.
The horror of crucifixion is the topic of Psalm 22. Unquestionably, David was not speaking of anything that he had personally experienced. He was never placed on a cross—nor had anyone in Israel ever heard of this brutal form of death before. The specific details written by David which graphically describe a man being pierced in His hands and feet, his ribs protruding due to his outstretched arms, and ruptured heart from the intense suffering of the cross—were written one thousand years before this horrific form of death was invented.
David’s description in Psalm 22, was clearly intended as a prophetic prediction for the coming Messiah.
As we compare prophecies 77-80, with the accounts of those who witnessed Jesus scourging and death, we find that all of the reports made concerning His final hours on the cross, are identical to the descriptions that David made in the four prophecies of Psalm 22:14-16.
These events are described in vivid detail by David—ten centuries before Jesus death took place.
For a detailed medical account of what Jesus experienced while being crucified, see the chapter: The Crucifixion of Jesus.
 Encyclopedia Britannica. “Encyclopedia Britannica Online: crucifixion”. Britannica.com. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
Crucifixion”. Mb-soft.com. Retrieved 2009-12-19.
 Cooper HC: The agony of death by crucifixion. NY Med J 1883;38;150-153.
 Retief FP, Cilliers L (December 2003). “The history and pathology of crucifixion”. South African Medical Journal 93 (12): 938–41. PMID 14750495
 “Jesus would not have been as concerned with the physical pain of his death as with the spiritual desolation of bearing our sin and its judgment on the cross” Expositors Bible Commentary”.
 Holoubek, JE; Holoubek AB (1996). “Blood, sweat and fear. “A classification of hematidrosis””. Journal of Medicine 27 (3–4): 115–33. PMID 8982961
 Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
 Please see the chapter “The Crucifixion of Jesus”
 Please see the chapter on “The Crucifixion of Jesus.”