Crucifiction, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
The death of Jesus Christ
The world at large sometimes asks the question, "If Jesus is still alive to-day as claimed by Christians, did He actually die?" Let me state emphatically that Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God, did die.
I believe that this factor is fundamental to Christian beliefs meaning that by His death He bore the sins of the world in His own body on the cross, thereby offering to all people the opportunity to receive salvation through faith. It is, of course, recorded in scripture that He died (John 19.30, Rom 5.8). The Romans who controlled Palestine in Jesus' day practiced the breaking of legs of those crucified to ensure the person was dead. Jesus did not have His legs broken as the Roman soldiers, who knew what they were doing and were used to seeing death, could see that He was dead already and therefore did not need to break His legs (as recorded by John in John 19.33).
THe burial of Jesus Christ
Scripture records that a man by the name of Joseph of Arimathea went to the Roman official named Pilate and asked that he be allowed to take the body of our Lord down from the cross and then be permitted to bury it. Pilate gave Joseph his permission (John 19.38). John also records in his gospel that Joseph was assisted by another man named Nicodemus, a high Jewish official who had previously come to Jesus at night for fear of the Jews. This would appear to show that he had been a secret disciple of our Lord, but his actions at the cross clearly reveal him now to be openly supportive. John also records in John 19.39-40 that Nicodemus had brought with him spices to prepare the Lord’s body for burial. This consisted of a mixture weighing about seventy five pounds and involved the use of myrrh and aloes. The Bible records in Mark 16.1 that Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome also brought spices to anoint the body of our Lord. This may not have been necessary if Joseph and Nicodemus had completed their work.
Jesus activity during the three days following His crucifiction
The gospel writers do not make any mention of Jesus doing anything in the three days following His death. The apostle Peter, however, in his first letter (1 Peter 3.18-20) wrote these remarkable words, “He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom He also went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water.” No doubt Peter’s readers would have known what he was writing about, but in the 2000 years since then, his statement has been pondered over, debated and discussed by untold numbers without any finality being reached. I tend toward the view that the “spirits in prison” referred to fallen angels (sons of God) who married “daughters of men” and had children “Nephilim” (giants) by them in the days of Noah. Gen. 6.1-4. No mention is made in scripture of what message Jesus preached, and I tend to the view that it may have been a message of victory over sin.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ
An important question to be asked is, “Who raised Jesus from the dead?”
- In 1 Peter 3.18-20 Peter suggests “the Spirit”, and in Romans 8.11 Paul also states that,”If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you….”
- Paul informs us in Gal. 1.1 and Rom. 6.4 that “God the Father” raised His Son to life.
- Jesus raised Himself. See next section.
Is it possible that Jesus raised Himself from the dead?
In John 10.17-18 the apostle records the following words of the Lord Jesus Christ, “The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and I HAVE AUTHORITY TO TAKE IT UP AGAIN. THIS COMMAND I RECEIVED FROM MY FATHER.” Again in John 10.31 Jesus goes on to state that “I DO EXACTLY AS MY FATHER COMMANDED ME”. I suggest to you that in examining these statements it is clear that the Lord Jesus Christ raised Himself from the dead, and as He is God and received a command from God the Father, He could do it.
So which is right? Was it the Father who raised Jesus; was it the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus; or Jesus Himself who performed the resurrection? Scripture seems to say that all three raised Him from the dead. So is this a contradiction in scripture? NO! Actually they are all right as scripture teaches us that God is three persons in one - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our Lord said to Philip in John 14.10 , “I am in the Father and the Father is in Me”. See the chorus of Oscar C, Eliason's hymn at the end of this hub.
Jesus is alive to-day
The fact that Jesus died and rose again is something for which every Christian should be delighted and give immense thanks and praise to God. He died and rose again to forgive and save me for MY sins and for YOUR sins. Beloved reader, if you have not accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour I urge you to do it now. The life of a Christian is not always easy, but you can be assured that whatever the circumstances, whether good or otherwise, God will be with you to help and guide you through the pathway of life and then to take you to be with Himself through all eternity. The Christian has a wonderful hope and it is a great joy to belong to Christ.
Oscar C. Eliason's Hymn
Got any rivers you think are uncrossable,
Got any mountains you can't tunnel through,
God specialises in things thought impossible,
He can do just what none other can do.