Swoon theories all rest on the premise that somehow Jesus managed to deceive the Roman soldiers who were in charge of the crucifixion. Theorists posit that either Jesus somehow passed out on the cross and the Romans did not realize that He was still alive or that Jesus was given some type of sedative which caused Him to seem dead once again fooling the Roman soldiers. This last theory is best popularized by the Hugh Schonfield book, The Passover Plot. However even in the book the plot fails due to the Roman soldier piercing Jesus’ side with a spear. All swoon theories run into the same problems. How could a man survive crucifixion and if he did survive, how could he trick people into believing he was resurrected?
In his book, The Case For Christ, Lee Strobel interviews Dr. Alexander Metherell about the effects that crucifixion would have on the body. In the interview Dr. Metherell talks about not only the great stress that the actual crucifixion would have placed on Jesus’ body, but also what happened prior to the crucifixion. Jesus had been without sleep for over twenty-four hours and He had been questioned numerous times. Pilot had Him flogged. A Roman flogging could, in its self, kill a person. Jesus was nailed to the cross and finally, to ensure that He was dead, a Roman soldier pierced Him with a spear. This piercing would have penetrated both Jesus’ lung and heart.
There is no credible evidence that Jesus was drugged. Even if He had been the spear would have killed Him. One is left with only one conclusion. Jesus died on the cross as the Gospel accounts tell. Finally, if some how Jesus had managed to survive all this He would hardly have looked like someone who had conquered death.
Hugh Shonfield, The Passover Plot (New York: Bernard Geis Associates, 1965).
Lee Strobel, The Case For Christ (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1998), 191 to 204.