Was Jesus Crucified?

Though the Quran denies the torturous execution of the Christ it is nonetheless confirmed by the secular and religious contemporaries of Jesus time.

These reporters of current events were not Christian in origin nor were they sympathetic to their cause or view and in some cases they were opposed or hostile to the person and work of Jesus and His followers.

The first reference to the crucifixion outside of the bible is the first century Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus who documented in Annals XV, 44 that the death of the Christ was ordered by Pontius Pilate who was the procurator of Judea.

Another first century historian is Flavius Josephus who referred to Christ as being condemned to the cross which is recorded in Antiquities XVIII, 33.

Next there is Lucian of Samostate who was a Greek satirist who made reference to the crucifixion of Christ in “The Death of Peregrine, 11-13”.

Lastly the Babylonian Talmud, which negatively portrays Jesus as a sorcerer, indicates that Jesus had been “hanged” which is synonymous with the crucifixion and is found in the tractate Sanhedrin 43A.

So does the Quran which was compiled 800 years after the fact hold to the truth of the matter or does the unbiased claims of credible historians and rivals tell the real story?

The problem that Islamic thought has in dealing with the death of the Messiah would be in the question concerning the necessity of a righteous life that was offered upon this evil human implement namely the cross.

Yet this act served as a ransom or payment for sin whose purpose was of eternal significance in having its basis under the first covenant law as given in Leviticus 17:11 which states 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.

Under the Mosaic covenant sacrifices were made as a type of substitutionary atonement given on behalf of the worshipper as a means of associating the death of the innocent victim as an exchange given on behalf of the guilty party in making peace with God. This may seem to be a primitive practice but it was to portray and foreshadow an ultimate sacrifice that would one day be given once and for all.

The prophet Isaiah in chapter 53 talks about the Messiah as being the fulfillment of this sacrifice par excellence

Who has believed our message

and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,

and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,

nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3 He was despised and rejected by men,

a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.

Like one from whom men hide their faces

he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he took up our infirmities

and carried our sorrows,

yet we considered him stricken by God,

smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,

he was crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,

and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,

each of us has turned to his own way;

and the Lord has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,

yet he did not open his mouth;

he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,

and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,

so he did not open his mouth.

8 By oppressiond and judgment he was taken away.

And who can speak of his descendants?

For he was cut off from the land of the living;

for the transgression of my people he was stricken.e

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,

and with the rich in his death,

though he had done no violence,

nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,

and though the Lord makesf his life a guilt offering,

he will see his offspring and prolong his days,

and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

11 After the suffering of his soul,

he will see the light of lifeg and be satisfiedh;

by his knowledgei my righteous

servant will justify many,

and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,j

and he will divide the spoils with the strong,k

because he poured out his life unto death,

and was numbered with the transgressors.

For he bore the sin of many,

and made intercession for the transgressors.

Jesus crucifixion is also portrayed by the Psalmist in chapter 22 and it is strikingly similar to the gospel narratives.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from saving me,

so far from the words of my groaning?

2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,

by night, and am not silent.

3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;

you are the praise of Israel.a

4 In you our fathers put their trust;

they trusted and you delivered them.

5 They cried to you and were saved;

in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

6 But I am a worm and not a man,

scorned by men and despised by the people.

7 All who see me mock me;

they hurl insults, shaking their heads:

8 “He trusts in the Lord;

let the Lord rescue him.

Let him deliver him,

since he delights in him.”

9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;

you made me trust in you

even at my mother’s breast.

10 From birth I was cast upon you;

from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

11 Do not be far from me,

for trouble is near

and there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls surround me;

strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.

13 Roaring lions tearing their prey

open their mouths wide against me.

14 I am poured out like water,

and all my bones are out of joint.

My heart has turned to wax;

it has melted away within me.15

My strength is dried up like a potsherd,

and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;

you lay meb in the dust of death.

16 Dogs have surrounded me;

a band of evil men has encircled me,

they have piercedc my hands and my feet.

17 I can count all my bones;

people stare and gloat over me.

18 They divide my garments among them

and cast lots for my clothing.

19 But you, O Lord, be not far off;

O my Strength, come quickly to help me.

20 Deliver my life from the sword,

my precious life from the power of the dogs.

21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;

saved me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my brothers;

in the congregation I will praise you.

23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!

All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!

Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!

24 For he has not despised or disdained

the suffering of the afflicted one;

he has not hidden his face from him

but has listened to his cry for help.

25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;

before those who fear youe will I fulfill my vows.

26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;

they who seek the Lord will praise him—

may your hearts live forever!

27 All the ends of the earth

will remember and turn to the Lord,

and all the families of the nations

will bow down before him,

28 for dominion belongs to the Lord

and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;

all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—

those who cannot keep themselves alive.

30 Posterity will serve him;

future generations will be told about the Lord.

31 They will proclaim his righteousness

to a people yet unborn—

for he has done it.

In conclusion I decided to use these Old Testament quotes in establishing my proof text in order to reduce any bias that would be strictly sympathetic towards a Christian interpretation.

Amazingly many Jews who initially rejected Jesus have come to faith in Him just by simply reading these sacred texts as found in the Tanakh. My wife is one of those testimonies in which she had at one point firmly rejected the person and work of Jesus as the Messiah but upon closer observation God convinced her of the truth regarding these passages of scripture and their correlation to Jesus.

Regardless whether or not one chooses or wants to believe the significance of the historicity of this redemptive event the fact still remains and is undeniably verifiable being confirmed by the testimony of millions of lives that have been transformed and changed by the impact of Christ’s saving work.

My challenge to you is what do you do with your guilt? Who represents you concerning the trespasses you have committed against God? Have you done enough to earn for yourself a heavenly home while avoiding the pitfalls of hell?

Jesus reduces this tension of human guilt by stating to “Come unto me all you who labor and who are heavily weighed down and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yolk is easy and my burden is light.”

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One Response to “Was Jesus Crucified?”

  1. Arsento says:

    I read a few topics. I respect your work and added blog to favorites.

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