Was Jesus crucified in fact or in semblance? The Koran says, semblance:
- "And for their saying, 'Verily we have slain the Messiah, Jesus the
son of Mary, an Apostle of God.' Yet they slew him not, and they crucified
him not, but they had only his likeness. And they who differed about him
were in doubt concerning him: No sure knowledge had they about him, but
followed only an opinion, and they did not really slay him, but God took
him up to Himself. And God is Mighty, Wise!"
- (Sura 4:156).
The Bible says, fact.
|Deposition, Rogier van der Weyden
The Bible authors are convinced it was Jesus who died upon that cross, then rose again:
"Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that
by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from
the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole." (Acts 4:10);
"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." (John 19:33-34);
"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,
how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that
he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures..."
(1 Corinthians 15:3-4);
"Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of
Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which
God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered
by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and
by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the
pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." (Acts 2:22-24);
"And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice...And Jesus cried
with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost." (Mark 16:34-37, Matthew 27:46-50).
This is not a negotiable issue for the apostles and their circle: "The other disciples therefore said to him, 'We have seen
the Lord.' So he said to them, 'Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my
hand into His side, I will not believe.' And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors
being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, 'Peace to you!' Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and
reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.' And Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and
my God!'" (John 20:25-28).
If Christ did not truly die, then neither did He truly rise from the dead.
But if Christ is not risen, the Christian's hope is baseless:
"And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your
faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because
we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise
up—if in fact the dead do not rise...And if Christ is not risen, your faith
is futile; you are still in your sins!" (1 Corinthians 15:14-17).
Fanny Crosby, who was blind, trusted that she could know
the Lord when she saw Him, even without the use of her unaccustomed sight: "When
my life-work is ended and I cross the swelling tide, When the bright and
glorious morning I shall see, I shall know my Redeemer when I reach the other side,
And His smile will be the first to welcome me. I shall know Him, I shall know
Him, And redeemed by His side I shall stand, I shall know Him, I shall know Him
By the print of the nails in His hand." (My Savior First of All).
If there is no cross, there is no resurrection. And the Islamic
'Gospel of Barnabas' insists upon this very point, that Jesus never
rose from the dead: "And he reproved many who believed him to have
died and risen again, saying: 'Do ye then hold me and God for liars?
For God hath granted to me to live almost unto the end of the world,
even as I said unto you. Verily I say unto you, I died not, but
Judas the traitor.'" (Gospel of Barnabas, Chapter 221.) Jesus is
not the 'first-fruits' of those who sleep; He never died. There is no
good news on Easter morning.
The Bible says so much more than that Jesus of Nazareth died upon a cross.
It says that the First and the Last died upon the cross:
"Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for
evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." (Revelation 1:17-18).
A crucified Lord is a "scandal:" For Jews request a sign, and
Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a
stumbling block [skandalon] and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews
and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God."