Resurrection: Crucifixion

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! We’re going to continue our look at resurrection, but I also seek your prayers tonight and for the upcoming future. My wife and I were finishing Scripture reading last night and about to turn out the light. I needed to get up and turn out a light in the kitchen I’d left on. I’d been having some mild stomach pains, but before I got back to bed, I was screaming.

I wound up in the ER and just to make a long story short, I have gallstones at the moment and will likely have to have my gallbladder removed. My diet will have to be different for the time being as well which is the most difficult part. I seek your prayers in this time. We’re wondering about how we’re going to handle everything.

However, that being said, let’s continue looking at resurrection. The first event Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 mentions is that Christ died. While he doesn’t state the manner he died here, he already has at other times in 1 Corinthians. The first piece of information in this creed that needs to be considered as historical bedrock is that Christ was crucified.

To begin with, the Pauline epistles that we know to be authentic all state this. (I do believe all thirteen are authentically Pauline, but I am willing to accept skeptical data for the time being.) There is not a contrary theory in the epistles on how it is that Christ died. Paul never even hints that Christ avoided death somehow or died by beheading or another method.

All of the gospels report the crucifixion as well. More time is spent on the final week of the life of Christ than on any other event and the conclusion throughout each of the gospels is that Christ was crucified. While some might say there are secondary differences as to what happened during the crucifixion, there is no disagreement that there was crucifixion.

Some readers might be saying “All gospels also agree that Christ rose again. Does that mean we should accept it as historical because of that?”

It should certainly be considered as evidence, but no. For one thing, the act of crucifixion can be more easily accepted by all because it does not necessarily entail any miraculous events. Some might think the events in Matthew 27 have to be literal. That’s not the issue here. You can be an atheist NT scholar, interpret that as a metaphor or some sort, or a later embellishment, but still accept that Christ was crucified as that in itself does not involve the miraculous.

Furthermore, we do have outside references that Christ was crucified. We have the writings of Josephus. Now some could say that some of this was altered, and that could be, but few would say the whole thing is an interpolation and those who say part of it is would not say the mention of crucifixion is.

Even if that wasn’t sufficient however, there is the reference to the death of Christ in Tacitus. Although crucifixion is not mentioned, he does speak of the most extreme penalty. Crucifixion was such a horror to the Romans that they did not even want to mention it.

We also have the records of the early church fathers. Even counter-theories have a crucifixion Jesus recovered from.

To which, let’s dispel this nonsense about Jesus surviving on the cross in a swoon. The American Medical Association has undergone a thorough examination of the crucifixion. Jesus was dead. Not only that, David Strauss, a skeptic by all means, years ago said that a Jesus who somehow survived would have been bleeding profusely, somehow pushed aside a huge rock, walked on feet stabbed through with nails to the crucifixion, and had he made it to the disciples, they would not have called him the Lord who conquered death, but would have called him a doctor. One can hardly imagine Peter looking at Jesus like that and saying “I hope one day I have a body like that.”

If anyone tells you Jesus might have survived, they just don’t know what they’re talking about frankly.

There can be no question historically that Jesus was crucified.

We shall continue tomorrow.

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