When my husband suffered a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), his head and face were bruised and bloated beyond recognition. A retrobulbar hematoma left his left eye black and swollen to four times the normal size. It was painful to look at his disfiguration. While praying for him one day in the SICU I thought, Did Jesus have head injuries at the crucifixion?
The Gospels record how people struck Jesus with their fists and slapped him (Matthew 26:67) while soldiers flogged him and struck him on the head repeatedly with a staff (Matthew 27:26-30). Isaiah wrote, “His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness” (52:14). The horror of the cross became real to me as I grasped that Jesus must have suffered a TBI. My heart overflowed with a deep sense of gratitude for Jesus’ suffering as I pondered this new insight.
Six months after the injury, Richard and I are home. Severe TBI has taken a huge toll. Richard is physically normal and developing strength. Mentally and emotionally, he has little memory, poor cognitive processing, significant expressive aphasia, and most likely will never return to work. We do rehab every day to help restore his mental capacity. Today, it occurs to me that when Jesus was resurrected, his brain was restored--no long-term disability for our Savior! Why? Because of the “incomparably great power that raised Jesus from the dead” (Ephesians 1:18-23).
This Easter season, remember Jesus’ severe suffering and let your heart overflow with sorrow and gratitude. Then remember the incomparable power of his resurrection that is also for us who believe!
Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner, PhD, RN, is NCF’s National Director and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Christian Nursing.
Bible studies for nurses
Journal of Christian Nursing: Award-winning, peer reviewed quarterly journal including spiritual care