Jesus likely died of heart failure caused by suffocation, dehydration and other reasons when he was nailed to the cross, said an Aberdeen doctor who will give a presentation tonight.
Dr. Dawn Snow will discuss the medical aspects of Jesus' crucifixion at New Life Fellowship Church. The presentation will explore Christ's journey from the days before he was tortured to the pain he felt while on the cross.
"I hope to really share the gospel with them as well. I don't want to do just the blood and gore part," Snow said. "It's so important that they understand why he did this."
Snow will give her presentation on Good Friday, the day Jesus was crucified.
"People would suffer for days," she said about the typical crucifixion death. "(But) Christ was so tormented before he even got to the cross that he only lasted six hours on the cross."
Snow will talk about Christ's time on the cross and the processes his body went through while he died.
Some of the things Snow will touch on are the amount of pain felt being nailed through the hands, how his body was able to sweat blood and what factors led to his death.
One point of interest she will bring up is that Jesus likely suffocated while he was on the cross. Because of the way he was positioned on the cross, it's likely he would not have been able to exhale, she said.
"You have to get your arms and certain parts of your diaphragm to relax in order to push out that air," she said.
The idea sprang from a presentation on the crucifixion she saw when she was a medical student in Sioux Falls.
It also affected her on a spiritual level. Snow wants to have the same impact when she gives her presentation.
"It was much more important for me to put many more biblical aspects in it, not just all the the objective suffering Christ went through," she said.
The idea stayed with her. Last year, she approached pastors at her church about doing the presentation. Rodney Johnson, a pastor at New Life, said he thought, "Why not?" when Snow suggested it.
"A lot of people have a natural desire to know what Christ went through as he suffered," Johnson said.
The inaugural presentation in 2012 drew about 200 people. It's expected to draw around 300 today.
Mark Zimmerman, another pastor at New Life who attended first presentation in 2012, said he was more informed about how much torture Jesus went through.
"I'm surprised he even made it to the cross," Zimmerman said.