- Religion and Philosophy
Did Jesus Survive the Crucifixion?
After Jesus' crucifixion, ten of the apostles were martyred for their faith. Judas committed suicide and John was boiled in oil but survived. Peter was crucified upside down and Thomas was skewered. What made these men, who once scattered in fear from the Romans, turn and stand firm in their faith until death? It could only have been they had seen the risen Christ.
Many skeptics of the Christian faith have invented all sorts of scenarios to explain away any concept Jesus had been resurrected. Do any of them have merit? Let’s look at a few.
What about the empty tomb? Jesus’ body had been placed in a solid rock tomb, wrapped in a burial shroud and a stone weighing over a ton was rolled into place to seal it. Guards, knowing their very lives depended on no one disturbing the tomb, were posted. But, Sunday morning found the tomb open, body gone and no guards. What happened?
Some say Jesus didn’t actually die, but was merely unconscious when he was put into the tomb. However, that theory hardly seems plausible when the facts are examined. Jesus had been whipped and beaten within an inch of his life before even being put on the cross. Medical professionals, after examining the types of punishment Jesus had been subjected to, generally concur he couldn’t have survived the additional torture of a crucifixion.
According to an article in the March 21, 1986 Journal of the American Medical Association, for Jesus to have survived the crucifixion is a monumental leap of the imagination. Jesus was whipped mercilessly, beaten by soldiers, fell under the weight of His own cross, was dehydrated and then crucified. And Consider the fact, Jesus’ hands and feet had been pierced by nails. It seems highly unlikely he could have moved the stone from the tomb even if he had been in sound physical condition with no wounds or injuries.
Guards, who had crucified many others, and knew when a person was dead, were on the scene…one even jabbing a spear into Jesus’ side. The resulting blood and water which flowed from the wound, according to the medical community,was consistent with what would have happened had a corpse been pierced in that location.That Jesus was crucified is a historical fact. The evidence is found in various historical sources.
The Apostles clearly believed Jesus rose from the grave is without dispute. The Apostle Paul states at 1 Cor. 15:3-11, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of who are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…”.
Did the Apostles, Romans or Jewish religious leaders steal the body? This theory presents many problems. First, if Romans or Jewish religious leaders had the body, they most certainly would have made it known, since that would effectively squelch any claims Jesus was the Messiah. They didn't.
The Apostles believed they saw the resurrected Jesus, evidenced by the fact they were willing to die for their belief. If the Apostles had stolen the body, that would mean they knew Jesus did not rise from the dead. It would also mean they were liars and liars generally are not willing to die for a lie. This is in addition to the fact Paul and James were converted based on their belief of a resurrected Jesus.
The Bible accurately foretold specific events about the life and death of Jesus in detail centuries before they occurred. There are approximately 2,500 prophecies appearing in the Bible, about 2,000 of which have been fulfilled.
In the fifth century B.C. a prophet named Zechariah declared the Messiah would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver and the money would be used to purchase a "potter's field," Zechariah 11:12-13.
Researchers record thirty pieces of silver as the amount paid to Judas Iscariot for betraying Jesus and also how the money was used, Matthew 27:3-10.
There are twenty-five Old Testament prophecies surrounding the crucifixion of Christ including His betrayal, trial, death and burial. They were recorded by many different people over a period of 500 years. They were all fulfilled within a twenty-four period the day of the crucifixion. Following are a few:
· Zechariah 11:12: “And I said to them, ‘If it is good in your sight, give me my wages; but if not, never mind!’ So they weighed out thirty shekels of silver as my wages.”
· Isaiah 50:6: “I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.”
Isaiah 53:12: “Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong;Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors."