How the Research Influenced the Writing

The research on Centurion has been really enlightening. And helpful in the writing, too, beyond just getting the dates and places right. For example, you can see in my notes from the previous post this interesting fact.

Regarding the sluicing of blood from the temple mount. Speaking of how the vast amounts of blood were removed from the temple at such times as Passover, Alfred Edersheim explains: “The system of drainage into chambers below and canal, all of which could be flushed at will, was perfect; the blood and refuse being swept down into Kedron and towards the royal gardens” (Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972], 55).

         “Admittedly the Kidron valley is a wadi, with water flowing only in winter (Ant. 8:17; John 18:1), but an artificial supply which made the valley so extraordinarily fruitful was the blood of the Temple sacrifices. . . . The Temple floor was paved and sloped in particular directions, so that the blood from sacrifices could easily be rinsed away (Pseudo-Aristeas 88, 90). . . . The channel which drained it away began by the altar. . . . This drainage channel led underground into the Kidron valley.” (Joachim Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1969], p. 44.

When I discovered that bit of information, it gave me a fresh way of communicating the scene of the soldier piercing Jesus’ heart with his spear to see if he was still alive. If you recall, the piercing caused both blood and water to flow together, a result of the build-up of fluid in the pericardium which happens after a person dies. I could have shown that scene, but it has been shown before. By cutting away from the cross and going to the scene of the blood and water flowing from the side of the city into the Kidron Valley, I was able to do two things with the scene instead of one. I was able to show that Jesus was dead and his sacrifice was finished, and, at the same time, connect his sacrifice with the Passover sacrifices.

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