Crucifixion of Jesus

From WikiAhmadiyya, the free encyclopedia on Islam and Ahmadiyyat

The crucifixion of Jesus occurred during the 1st century AD, most probably between the years 30 and 33. 

Christians believe Jesus to be the Son of God and view Jesus' death as central aspects in the Christian theology of atonement. Islam rejects both these concepts, believing God has no partner or children. Moreover the Quran states Jesus was not successfully crucified, but rather survived the attempted assassination. Further, the Quran rejects the concept of atonement altogether, stating 'no bearer of burden shall bear the burden of another'. (Quran 35:18)

Cursed Death

According to Jewish religious beliefs of Jesus' time - as recorded in the Bible - death by crucifixion amounted to an accursed death - which would have proven Jesus' claims to be false:

If a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;)

- Bible, Deuteronomy 21:22-23

Jesus repeatedly prayed to be saved from such a fate both immediately prior to and during the crucifixion:

Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.

- Bible, Matthew 26:36-40

Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

- Bible, Matthew 27:46

Jesus' anguished cry during the crucifixion of 'My God, why hast thou forsaken me?' suggests he expected to be saved from death. 

Sign of Jonah

Jesus promised to deliver the sign of Jonah to the Jewish people:

He answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

- Bible, Matthew 12:39-40

Jonah was a prophet of God who was swallowed by a whale and survived. The above comments of Jesus suggest he expected to survive the crucifixion and would not die on the cross. 

Swoon Theory

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes historical, religious and medical evidence points towards Jesus swooning upon the cross and surviving the crucifixion:

The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

- Bible, John 19:31-34

Normally, death from crucifixion would take several days. However, due to the approach of the Jewish holy day of the Sabbath, Jesus - an otherwise healthy young man - was taken down after just a few hours. His enemies among the Jewish people realising he was still alive requested his legs be broken to ensure death. However, this was not carried out. Instead Jesus was stabbed once and blood poured forth - the flow of blood confirming his heart was still beating. Even then, one stab wound in his side after a few hours of crucifixion was by no means enough to certainly kill a healthy young man and Jesus was immediately taken down and able to receive medical treatment from his followers. 

Jesus escapes

On recovering, Jesus soon fled from Jerusalem to ensure his persecutors were not given a second chance to complete his murder:

Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.

- Bible, Matthew 26:31-32

Ahmadis argue that had Jesus been the immortal son of God - who could not be permanently killed - this would not have been his natural reaction. Rather, he would have publicly revealed himself to his enemies to ensure they witnessed his survival and were able to accept his godship. Instead he hid and fled, showing he considered himself a mortal susceptible to death if his enemies were given a second opportunity. 

See also