The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

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On December 19th I wrote a text on this blog called “The Birth of Jesus – When, where and perceptions of purpose”. Now, the Jewish Passover and the Christian Easter is soon here. They are connected but in a tragic way and they commemorate different things. Tomorrow on Maundy Thursday I intend to write about the Jewish Passover. Jesus came down to Earth as a Jew, Yeshu’a bar Yoséf, and his disciples were Jews, living in Galilee/Ha-Galil and Judea, Yehuda, mainly coming from the area around a small village in the north called Natzèret.

Most scientists and scholars today agree that Jesus did exist, probably born between 7 and 2 BCE and executed between 30 and 36 A.D. Today, even among secular scholars, Jesus is seen as a great man in different ways, even if the epithets vary: a sage, a philosopher, charismatic leader, leader of an apocalyptic movement and a social reformer preaching the Kingdom of God. The only two things in his life that is certified outside the Bible is that he was baptised by the preacher John the Baptist and that Jesus died on a cross outside Jerusalem near Passover. For me personally Yeshu’a = Jesus is, was and always will be the Messiah. I have personally seen him in a revelation which he gave me when I was 14 years old. Jesus has also sent me other signs of His holy presence in recent times. He continues to this day to make an impact on many different peoples’ lives in a glorious and supernatural way.

I am nowadays convinced that the stories in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are basically true stories, and the sayings uttered by Jesus, and the things he is described doing according to the gospels are most likely also true events.  I am a Christian myself, even though I have been quite secular, and since my days of studies in Comparative religion I have a very critical eye when I compare ideologies, both religious and secular ones. However, the revelations which the Lord Jesus Christ actually have sent me, make me convinced of his existence, and that the only way to get to Heaven is through faith in Jesus Christ, obedience to His commands and to follow His message of Love, kindness, humility towards others, while we pray to God, and Honour him.

Traditional Christians see Jesus as conceived by Holy Spirit, born by a virgin, Mary, he founded the church, died on the cross to achieve atonement, rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into Heaven and became the second part in the Holy Trinity, Father – Son – Holy Spirit. Muslims 600 years later percieved Jesus, or ‘Issa as they call him, as a prophet, giver of scriptures, born by a virgin, but not dead on the cross. The Quran says in Sura 4: 157-158: “They killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them (or it appeared so unto them… Nay. Allah raised him up unto Himself.” For Bahai believers Jesus wasn’t the Son of God, but the Manifestation of God.

So what about the Jews then? Jesus was himself a Jew and he was talking about the Jewish society and the Jewish customs. He talked about exaggerating Pharisees who had elongated fringes on their talit gadol, the prayer shawl to show their piety, he talked about attitudes to the sabbath, the resting day. Jesus was most likely very much like many of the Pharisees in his days, but he also differed from them and said things that provoked the surroundings. He was a simple man, with a simple profession, a social agitator, healer and preacher. He started preaching rather late in life in a country occupied by Romans and gathered followers. He also criticized the aristrocracy and upper-class priests, the Saducees, named after an earlier high priest, Tsadóq. The Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a mentions a Jesus that might be this particular man. It says: “On the eve of Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place a herald went forth and cried “He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy. Anyone who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf”. But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of Passover.”

Most likely Jesus was crucified near Passover in the Jewish spring month of Nissan on the 14th. A common mentioned date is Friday, April 3d 33 A.D. between nine a.m. and three p.m. in the afternoon. The description is made in detail hour for hour in the Bible. A week earlier he had entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey to remind people of the prophecy that the Messiah, the Annointed one, should arrive that way. He then created trouble in the Temple, turning tables and calling them hipocrytes. The Roman procurator Pontius Pilate who ruled 26 – 36 A.D. with contempt for Jewish ways was informed. When the Jewish holiday Passover drew near Jesus and his disciples gathered for the seder meal which turned into the last supper with Jesus. He explained his parting and later that night he was arrested in the garden of Gath Shmanim on the mount of Olives. His disciples were frightened and upset. Jesus was put before the Sanhedrin Gadol and accused of rebellion and herecy. The Jewish Council then took him to Herod Antipas and to Pontius Pilate who sentenced Jesus to be crucified, a cruel punishment only used for obstinate slaves, non-Romans and political rebels. In the New Testament the story is found in Matthew 26 – 28, Mark 14- 16, Luke 22 -24 and John 16 – 21. He got a crown of twisted thorn, a purple mantle and above him on the cross a mocking sign in three languages Aramaic, Greek and Latin: “Yeshu’a demén Natsèret Malka de Yehudayé, Jesous o Nazaraios o Vasileus ton Ioudaion, Iesus Nazaraenus Rex Iudaeorum”. According to the Bible he was executed, put in a rock-hewn tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, but rose from the dead two days later, showed himself first for his favourite Mary from Magdala and then for his male disciples and more than 500 others for 40 days before ascending to Heaven.

A Jewish scribe and historian, Josephus Flavius, participated in the revolt against the Romans in 70 A.D, but then helped the Romans and became a traitor. He wrote around 90 A.D. about the Jewish History, Antiquities of the Jews. Josephus Flavius mentions John the Baptist twice and several people named Jesus, but only one called the Christ, the Messiah in the so called Testimonium Flavium. Christian scribes have later on been tempted to add things in Josephus statement to make it Christian, but when we remove the later additions Josephus words about Jesus becomes more authentic in its nucleus. Chapter 3 in Book 16 begins though with talking about Pontius Pilate who takes statues of the Roman emperor as idol and put them in Jerusalem to provoke the population and then kills the opposition.

“But now Pilate, the procurator of Judea, removed the army from Cesarea to Jerusalem, to take the winter-quarters there, in order to abolish the Jewish laws.”… “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, for he was a doer of startling deeds. And he gained a following both among many Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was called the Messiah. And when Pilate at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day”.

The Roman historian Suetonius writes about a quarrel that took place ca 49-50 A.D. in the Jewish congregation in Rome. It’s mentioned in the paragraph Suetonius, Claudius 25:4. The quarrel was about if someone called Chrestus was the son of God or not. In Suetonius Nero: 16:2 he also writes “Nero punished the Christians, a group of people fallen to a new and desolate superstition”. After the crucifixion of Jesus the first Christians were a Jewish sect and was so for about twenty years, led by Jesus’ disciple Shim’on Kefa/Simon Peter and a Jesus’ earthly brother Ya’aqov. Once more the women around Jesus, among them Mary from Magdala were made invisible and patronized, like so many other times in history… Like today. Christianity then became more and more alienated from its Jewish origins and the polemics hardened.

This polemic and hardened rhetoric is still seen two thousand years later. In my eyes that’s a great shame. Independent if we are Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Bahai, Sikhs, Buddhists, Mandeans, Atheists, Pagans, women or men we still haven’t learned the lesson not to hate each other for our variations in human ideas and personalities. We hate those who do not have the same political, religious or social values, we harrass, bully, mock, pursue, quarrel, mutilate and kill. Jesus actually told us to even love our enemies, not just our friends and family.

Among those who have had near-death-experiences we can notice that all of those who have come further than just seeing themselves from above, all say that it is Jesus Christ on the other side. Not Buddha, not Odin, not Mohammed, not Allah, not Vishnu, Krishna or som other pagan deity.  Before they have had these near-death-experiences they have had various beliefs and lifestyles: former atheists, former agnostics, former New Age gurus, former Buddhists, former Hindus, former Muslims, former Jews, former drug dealers, former prostitutes, former business men, former scientists and doctors. They all come back to life and give witness about the same thing. Heaven and Hell are both real, and the only salvation is through Jesus Christ. Everything else is false and blind turns. We are supposed to love each other, but first and foremost love and honour God.

Still…Dissidents are hated, the religious conflicts have intensified in recent years… it’s hate, hate, hate. However good things are made, but it’s too often on a basis that is not given credit or the monetary support to expand. Take this Easter and Passover to consider the punishment given to Jesus. Why was he punished? For stating uncomfortable truths? Why do we mock, punish and kill good people? Do we want a cruel and cynical world where humanity kills itself bit by bit in a harder and wilder nature destroyed by ourselves? Will we co-operate in peace, make love not war? Will we save our humanity? We live today in the days of the Book of Revelation. Jesus Christ gave His earthly life on the cross for our inequities and sins. If we want to be granted a place in Heaven after our short life on Earth is ended in this vast Universe, we must repent, turn away from sinful and shallow lifestyles, pay the Lord Jesus Christ the deepest of respect for His sacrifice on the cross, obey His rules, give our lives to Him, honour Him by loving the Lord and to love our neighbours as ourselves.

Anders Moberg, March the 27th 2013, upgraded on March 15th 2018.

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