Crucifixion was the common mode of eliminating political prisoners, murderers and insurgents. Long before the birth of Jesus, the Phoenecians had experimented with various methods to get rid of their anti-social characters. They had tried hanging, impaling, stoning, drowning, etc. But all these were too quick in their effects; the culprits expired too soon for their liking. So they invented the crucifixion, a system which produced a slow Lingering death.
The Romans borrowed and perfected the system. They developed a crucifixion for fast death and disposal, and another for a slow death and disposal.
The Christian Masters (great artists like Michael Angelo, Rembrandt, Leonardo Da Vinci, etc) are confused in their paintings of the gruesome scene. They portray the two robbers (Mark 15:27 – ‘lestes’ in the original. Alternatively translated as ‘thieves’ or ‘brigandas’ is actually a derogatory term for ‘Zealot.’ These ‘crossmates’ of Jesus were not common thieves or crooks. They were the terrorists of their day, heroes of their nation) who were simultaneously crucified with Jesus, his ‘crossmates’, one on his right hand and the other on his left hand, as undergoing the fast method, whereas Jesus himself is painted as undergoing a SLOW process.
The Romans never combined these two different methods. They were never confused, as the Christian artists were, with the fast and the slow methods. The Old Masters have painted hybrid crosses (mixture) of the ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ methods in their drawings of Jesus’ bodily supports on the cross – i.e. with Sadile or without sadile either nails or leather thongs to bind the arms to the crossbar; and, either platforms to support the feet, or spikes.
– Sadile: Obviously a saddle, or ‘horn’ which was fitted in the middle of the upright piece of the cross, so that it projected between victim’s legs at the crotch to support his body-weight, but for aesthetic reasons the Christian fathers have eliminated the ‘horn’ from the cross.
The gospel untruth
Contrary to common belief, Jesus was not nailed to the cross, but bound, if at all, like the other two. In the light of the knowledge available, we must regard the ‘Doubting Thomas’ episode as a flagrant ‘gospel fabrication’, similar to the story of the woman caught in the act of adultery. Note that John chapter 8, begins with verse 12.
Can you imagine any chapter in any religious Book beginning with verse 12 as the first verse? Verses 1 to 11 are expunged as a fabrication by the 32 Christian Scholars of the highest eminence, backed by 50 co-operating denominations in their ‘Most up to date Version of the Bible’- the R.S.V.
– R.S.V. stands for Revised Standard Version, first published in 1952. The translators claimed to have had access to the ‘Most Ancient Manuscripts’ from which they learnt that the story about the adulteress was a fabrication. See ‘Is the Bible God’s Word?’ for further information on the R.S.V.
The Jews were in extreme haste to have Jesus done away with. Remember the midnight trial? Early in the morning, they dragged him to Pilate. From Pilate to Herod. From Herod back to Pilate. According to a boisterous American (another ‘born-again’) there were ‘six’ trials within twelve hours. At the busiest time in Jerusalem, around the Feast of the Passover, it appears from the Gospel narratives that people of worth had nothing else to do but twiddle their thumbs in great expectation of interviewing Jesus. Exactly as things happen on the ‘set’, for the shooting of films. Hurry! hurry! hurry!
According to the Gospel writers, the Jews and the Romans managed to have Jesus on the cross by the 6th hour, that is by 12 noon; and by the 9th hour (Matthew 27:46. 32), that is, by 3 o’clock he had given up the ghost – he had died (?). Strange people, these Jews! As much as they were in a hurry to mount Jesus on the cross, no sooner had they succeeded, they were once more agitated to bring him down. Can you imagine why?
Their religious scruples -the Sabbath! They were warned in the ‘fifth Book of Moses’ “His body (any crucified person) shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shah in any wise bury him that day, (for he that is hanged is accursed of God), that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance” (Deuteronomy 21:23)
To appease the religious scruples of the Jews (or for any other reason) if it became necessary to expedite death on the cross, the executioners resorted to the ‘cruri- fragium’, a club like horror with which the legs were broken. The victim expired by suffocation within the hour. This was the fast method.
This drawing is an attempt at a more accurate representation of the ‘execution’ of Jesus. To check his ideas the artist Charles Pickard, actually manoeuvred himself into this position.
God’s ways are not our ways
Was the prayer of Jesus being answered? He had cried (O the loving father in heaven for help, with strong crying and tears “And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44)
What can be expected from such heart-felt prayer and importuning? One of the four brothers. The Christians give brothers and sisters to Jesus, through a union of Mary with Joseph the Carpenter. (Matthew 13:55-56) of Jesus reminds us that “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16)
Such heartfelt prayers! Such blood-curdling cries! Such sorrow and sobs! A cynic remarked that it would even bring God down from His Throne. (God Almighty does not go up or down He is Omnipresent. All-Prevading. Present everywhere!)
God accepted Jesus’ prayers
Paul confirms that his supplications did not fall on deaf ears “Who, in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Hebrews 5:7)
What does it mean ‘God heard’ his prayers! It means that God accepted his prayers. God Almighty is not deaf at any time. He is the All-Hearing God. He heard (accepted) the supplication of Jesus in the same way that He had heard (accepted) the prayer of father Abraham. Abraham, in his old-age had prayed for a son, and Ishmael was born. The words of Abraham had become flesh. Ishmael literally means ‘God heard’, in Hebrew. Zakariah also in his old-age prayed for a son, and God heard (accepted) his prayers, and John the Baptist was born. Now Jesus cried for help, and God heard (accepted) his prayers:
“And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him” (Luke 22:43)
Strengthening him in the faith, in the hope that God will save him. This is actually what he was beseeching God to do for him. When and how rests alone in the Hands of God. His ways are not our ways. Count the blessings so far:
a) An assurance from Heaven.
b) Pilate finds him, not guilty!
c) His wife shown a dream in which she is told that no harm should come to Jesus.
d) Legs not broken!
e) In a hurry to bring him down from the cross.
The fourth above: ‘and they brake not his legs’, we are told was in fulfilment of a prophecy “He keepeth all his bones, not one of them is broken” (Psalm 34:20)
If the bones of a victim were to be protected from harm, then they could only be of benefit if the person was alive! For a person, already dead, intact bones mean nothing. Whether they are sawed into pieces, or smashed into smithereens, it will not make any difference to the resurrected body, the spirit or the ghost. But for living persons on the cross (like the ‘crossmates’ of Jesus), the breaking of the legs made all the difference between life and death. The pagan Romans were not hell-bound to fulfil any prophecy. Their reason was that they “saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs” (John 19:33)
‘saw’ is a very simple word. We may yet ask, what did they see? Could it be the fulfilment of the words of Christ “seeing, ye shall see and shall not perceive” (Matthew 13:14)
When John says that the soldiers ‘saw’, he means that they surmised. For no modern-day stethoscope was used to verify death; nor did anyone touch his body or feel his pulse before concluding that ‘he was dead already’. I see in the word ‘saw’ another step in God’s plan of rescue.
Resurrections daily! Stranger than fiction
With all the advancements in the Medical field since Christ; with all the modern, scientific instruments at our disposal; hundreds of people are being certified ‘dead’, every day all over the world. Whilst busy writing this, my attention is being drawn to the near murder of a Mr. Barnabas who was being carried to the mortuary after being ‘declared clinically dead’. Not by inexperienced ancient Roman soldiers, but by highly-qualified Medical men.
The news item is reproduced on the side, as is, as a New Year ‘84 shock! This with another shocker from Ripley’s: ‘believe it or not!’ is also reproduced at the end of this book, with a suggestion that some young journalist keep his eyes open for people who have come back from the ‘dead’, and write an anthology, which might willingly become a best seller. Here is a list for a start – What would you say?
Resurrected Or Resuscitated?
1. Little girl who ‘died’ tells how she came back to life (after 4 days) – ‘Daily News’ 15/11/55
2. Man died for two hours: Still lives – ‘Miracle’ amazes doctors – ‘Sunday Tribune’ 27/3/60
3. He died for 4 minutes – Man’s heart stops but he lives on – ‘Sunday Express’ 23/7/61
4. He does not know that he died for 90 seconds – ‘Cape Argus’ 16/3/61
5. Dr. hitge returned from the dead – ‘cape argus’ 4/5/61
6. The coffin moved – Young man narrowly escaped being buried alive – ‘Sunday Tribune’ 13/5/62
7. Back from the dead – After being thought dead for 2 days – ‘Post’ 25/7/65
8. ‘Corpse’ winks at undertaker – Doctor wrote out a death certificate – ‘Daily News’ 25/3/75
9. ‘Clinically dead’ – Toddler alive after hour-long revival battle -’natal mercury’ 5/12/82
10. Was he dead or alive? – The dilemma facing transplant doctors – ‘Sunday Tribune’ 17/7/83
11. Shaken and stirred – Declared clinically dead ‘from too much Christmas liquor’ – ‘Daily News’ 3/1/84
This sombre list would be incomplete without the picture of an exclusive club, the only qualification of whose membership is – to have died and lived again! If everything happened to Jesus ‘according to the scriptures’, then, he could easily become its doyen (Senior member of a body).
Sympathy for Jesus
God works in a mysterious way. He inspires the soldiers to think that the victim is ‘dead already’ so as not to break his legs, but at the same time inspires another to lance him on the side (the ‘side’ of his body and not the front) with a spear, and… “forthwith came there out blood and watery” (John 19:34)
It is a Blessing of God that when the human body cannot endure further pain or agony, unconsciousness supervenes. But immobility, fatigue and the unnatural stance on the cross must have slowed down the blood-circulation. The lancing came to the rescue. By ‘blood-letting’, the circulation could regain its rhythm. We are assured in the Encyclopedia Biblica, under article ‘cross,’ column 960, that ‘Jesus was alive when the spear was thrust’. This also confirms the statement of John that the flow of ‘water and blood’ was instantaneous. In his own words he says: ‘forthwith’ – straight away, immediately, which was a sure sign that Jesus was alive!
But why the ‘Water and the Blood’? Dr. W.B. Primrose, a Senior Anaesthetist of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, gave his expert opinion: In the ‘Thinkers Digest’, London, Winter 1949 issue, he said that ‘The water was a result of the nervous upset of the blood vessels locally due to the over-stimulating effect of the scourging by staves’. This may be an extreme case, but so was his sweating, like ‘great drops of blood, falling down to the ground’, when Jesus was in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Medical authorities also confirm the latter phenomenon.
The Gospel-writers are not unanimous regarding the time when Jesus was hoisted onto the cross. But John tells us that Jesus was still before Pilate in the praetorium at 12 noon “and about the sixth hour (Hebrew time), he saith unto the Jews, Behold, your King!” (John 19:14)
And after much wrangling he was handed over for crucifixion. Imagine the disorderly mob, the heavy cross which Jesus himself is supposed to have been loaded with. The long climb to Gol’gotha could never have been accomplished in minutes. And the saddling, the tying and the lifting must have taken some time. On TV shots, they can do it all in 30 seconds! But we know that in real life it does not happen that fast. The author of John’s Gospel failed to record the time when ‘Jesus gave up the ghost’ (John 19:30), but the synoptists seem to be agreed that it was around the ‘ninth hour’, meaning 3 p.m.
– Dean Farrar, in his ‘Life of Christ’, says on page 421, that ‘Jesus was on the cross for only three hours – when taken down’.
We are told in the Gospels, in varying terms, that between the ‘sixth’ and the ‘ninth’ hours, there was thunder, an eclipse and an earthquake! – Without purpose? No, to disperse the sadistic mob after their enjoyment of a Roman holiday. To enable the hands of mercy, his ‘secret’ and faithful disciples, to come to his succor.
Joseph of Arimathe’a together with a sympathetic Roman centurion who had declared “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39), went to Pilate to claim the body of Jesus, and “Pilate marvelled if he were already dead, and to him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead” (Mark 15:44)
What was the reason for Pilate’s amazement? Why did he marvel? He knew from experience that normally no man would die within 3 hours on the cross, unless the ‘crurifragium’ was resorted to, which was not done in the case of Jesus; unlike in that of his ‘crossmates’, who were given the treatment because they were still alive!
Reason for marvelling
It stands to reason, that if a man faces a firing squad, and shots are fired into his body, and he dies, there would be nothing to ‘marvel’ about. If a person is taken to the gallows and is hanged, and he dies, there is nothing to ‘marvel’ about. But should they survive, after our common knowledge expects them to die, then there is much to marvel about. Conversely, Pilate expects that Jesus should be alive on the cross, and not dead as he is being told, therefore his marvelling is only but natural. He had no special reason for verifying whether Jesus was dead or alive. If he was alive – so what?
Had he not found Jesus innocent of the charges levelled against him by the Jews? Did his wife not warn him against doing any harm to ‘that just man’? Was he not blackmailed into surrendering to Jewish clamour? So if Jesus was alive – Good Luck to him. Pilate grants permission for Joseph to have the body.
The so-called disciples of Jesus, whom he called ‘my mother and brethren!’ (Matthew 12:49, Mark 15:47) In preference to his own mother and his uterinal brothers and sisters, were nowhere in sight when he was most in need. His ‘secret’ disciples, Joseph of Arimathe’a and Nicodemus, would never have been heard of had it not been for Jesus’ ordeal. And they were the only persons to handle the body of Jesus, with Mary Magdalene and the other Mary(s) Mark 15:47. As the only spectators.
To satisfy the religious scruples of the Jews – the burial bath, the anointing and the shrouding – would well-nigh have taken more than two hours. If there were any signs of life in the limp body, no one was foolish enough to shout to the retreating curiosity mongers: ‘He is alive! He is alive! They knew that the Jews would then make doubly sure that that life was snuffed out.
Why the inverted commas ‘ ’?
Jews suspicious and uneasy. We must not suppose that Jesus was buried 6 feet underground. The sepulchre was a big, airy chamber and not a grave. Jim Bishop (a Christian authority of note), in his book ‘The Day Christ Died,’ gives the dimensions as 5 feet wide by 7 feet high by 15 feet deep, with a ledge or ledges inside, which any ‘pondokkie’ dweller in our slums would have been happy to own as his residence. The Jews were suspicious. It was all very ‘fishy.’
a) The tomb within easy reach.
b) Helping hands of his ‘secret’ disciples.
c) His ‘crossmates’ still alive.
d) His legs not broken, whereas those of his ‘crossmates’ were!
e) Quick and easy permission granted by Pilate to obtain the body of Jesus.
For these and many more reasons, the Jews were suspicious. They felt that they had been cheated. Jesus was alive! (?) So they ran to Pilate. But they had missed the bus again! They were 24 hours too late!
“Now the next day… the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said… Command, therefore, that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest… the last error shall be worse than the first (error)” (Matthew 27:62-64)
The Jews are talking about ‘first’ and ‘last’, not realising that in all their nervous haste they had made another slip. They had gone to Pilate only the next day. They wanted to close the stable-door after the horse had bolted. Pilate was not interested in their childish plots. He had had enough of them. So he says to them “Ye have a watch; go your way, make it as sure as ye can” (Matthew 27:65)
He was not going to pander to their whim. He had more than enough reasons to hate them.
– From the word ‘watch’ in the King James Version of the Bible, and ‘guard’ of the Roman Catholic Version; the 32 Christian scholars of the R.SV. have now interpolated the words, ‘of soldiers’ after the word ‘guard’, reading ‘guard of soldiers’. There is no end to Christian theological ingenuity! As was discussed earlier; the revisers have now re-revised the R.S.V. and have re-inserted the spicy verses about the women ‘caught in the act’ once more into their 1971 Version.
What the Jews did or did not do after Pilate’s curt reply is immaterial. They had already lost a day! But the Christian cultists clutching at straws, transform the Jewish temple ‘guard’ to soldiers, and make these ‘soldiers’ into ‘Roman’ soldiers. Then fill pages expounding the efficiency of the Roman military machine; that it can never be caught napping or caught off-guard! And the dire consequences in store for any that slipped. Did all this make the Roman soldier impeccable, faultless (?). By the time the unwary and weary reader wades through the profuse irrelevant details, he is ready to swallow everything hook, line, and sinker uncritically. It is a deception they have developed as an art!
What was the FIRST ‘error’ that the Jews made in wanting to eliminate Jesus? The first was that they had permitted Jesus to be brought down from the cross without breaking his legs, under the false assumption that he had died. The last would be to allow the ‘secret’ disciples of Jesus to render help to the wounded man, by not sealing off the tomb. But in the meantime, they made another mistake by approaching Pilate the ‘next’ day which was too late! God works in a mysterious way. His Ways are not our ways. He says “And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah” (Quran 3:54)
It was Sunday morning, the first day of the week, according to Hebrew calculations, with Saturday the Sabbath as the seventh, when Mary Magdalene alone (Mark 16:9 and John 20:1) visited the tomb of Jesus.
The Question Arises:
1. ‘Why did she go there?’ ‘to anoint him’, Mark 16:1 tells us. The Hebrew word for anoint is ‘masaha’, which means to rub, to massage, to anoint (read ‘Who Moved the Stone’).
2. The second question is: ‘Do Jews massage dead bodies after 3 days?’ The answer is ‘No!’
3. ‘Do the Christians massage dead bodies after 3 days?’ The answer is again, ‘No!’
4. Do the Muslims (who are the nearest to the Jews in their ceremonial laws) massage dead bodies after 3 days? And the answer is again, ‘No!’
Then why should a Jewess want to massage a dead, decaying body after 3 days? We know that within 3 hours rigor mortis sets in – the stiffening of the body after death. In 3 days time, the body would be fermenting from within – the body cells would be breaking up and decomposing. If anyone rubs such a decaying body, it will fall to pieces.
Does the rubbing make sense? No! It would, however, make sense if she was looking for a live person. you see, she was about, the only person besides Joseph of Arimathe’a and Nicodemus who had given the final rites to the body of Jesus. If she had seen any sign of life in the limp body of Jesus when he was taken down from the cross, she was not going to shout, ‘he is alive!’ She returns after 2 nights and a day, when the Jewish Sabbath had passed, to take care of Jesus.
Stone removed – winding sheets unwound
She was sorely amazed to find on arrival, that somebody had already removed the stone and, on peeping into the tomb, she finds that the winding sheets (shroud) were folded up inside. More questions arise? ‘Why Was the stone removed?’ Because for a resurrected body, one which had conquered death, it was not necessary for the stone to be removed for it to get out, nor was it necessary for the winding sheets to- be unwound for it to move. Because, for a spiritualised body: ‘Stone walls do not a prison make, nor iron bars a cage.’
The removal of the stone and the unwinding of the winding sheets was the need of a physically resuscitated body, not that of a resurrected (read ‘Resurrection or Resuscitation?’) body! The empty tomb was an anti-climax to what she had expected! So the hysterical woman (Jesus had to cast out of her ‘seven devils’ – Mark 16:9) breaks down and sobs. Jesus was all the while watching her from the vicinity – not from heaven, but from earth.
This burial vault (tomb) was a privately-owned property belonging to Joseph of Arimathe’a (a very rich, influential Jew), who could afford to carve out of rock the big roomy chamber (Dimensions already given earlier). Around this tomb was his vegetable garden. Please do not try to tell me that this Jew was so generous that he was planting vegetables 5 miles out of town, for other people’s goats and sheep to graze upon. Surely, he must also have built gardeners’ quarters for his labourers and his own country home for himself and his family to relax during the weekends?
Jesus is there! He is watching this woman. He knows who she is, and he knows why she is there. He approaches her from behind, and finds her crying. So he asks her “Woman, why wee pest thou? Whom seekest thou?” (John 20:15)
Before she replies, allow me to interject ‘Why does he ask what appears to be silly questions? Doesn’t he know the obvious reasons? Of course he does! Then why the silly questions?’
The answer is that in reality they are not silly questions, though they appear to be so. He knows that this woman is looking for him, and she is disappointed on not finding him; hence the weeping. But he also knows that because of his heavy disguise she would not be able to recognise him. So metaphorically speaking he is pulling her leg. In describing this incident John, referring to Mary Magdalene, says “She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him” Still John 20:15
Now why should she suppose that he is a gardener? Do resurrected persons look like ‘gardeners’? No! Then why does she suppose him to be a gardener? Because he is disguised as a gardener! Why is he disguised as a gardener? Because he is afraid of the Jews! Why is he afraid of the Jews?
Because he did not die and did not conquer death! If he had died, and if he had conquered death, then he would not be afraid anymore. Why not? Because a resurrected body cannot die twice! Who says so? The Bible says so. Where? In the Book of Hebrews 9:27. It says “It is ordained unto all men ONCE to die, and after that the judgement”.
Back from the dead
But what about the hundreds of people who have come back from the ‘dead’? We read about them daily in our newspapers. Those persons who were certified dead, by medical men, and who subsequently came back to life; were not really dead, in the sense of death and resurrection. Our Doctors have erred and will continue to make mistakes; it cannot be helped. But I want you to note the word ‘dead’, and ‘Corpse’, and ‘crucifixion’.
All these words are in inverted commas. The honest and alert newspaper reporter in each case is telling us, very subtly, that the ‘dead’ was not really dead. That the ‘corpse’ was not really a corpse, and that the ‘crucifixions’ were not really crucifixions but cruel-fictions! They were so-called dead, the so-called corpse, the so-called crucifixions, etc. But from the newspaper circulation point of view, the word ‘so-called’ would greatly diminish the sensationalism, lessen the news value, and reduce possible sales. After all business is business! Hence the inverted commas ‘…’ In actual fact, no man ever dies twice. No matter how many death certificates are issued.
The drama continues
Mary supposing the disguised Jesus to be a gardener, says unto him “Sir, if you have taken him hence, tell me where have you laid Him” (John 20:15)
She is not looking for a corpse, for ‘it’. She is looking for a live person, for ‘him’. And further, she wants to know as to “where have you ‘Laid’ him?” (i.e. To rest, to relax, to recuperate!) Not, “where have you buried him?” ‘So that I might take Him away” (John 20:15)
Take Him away, where? What would she want with a dead (?), decomposing body? She could only bury it. Who dug the grave? Carrying a corpse is one thing for an American Super-woman, but another for this frail Jewess; carrying a corpse of at least a hundred and sixty pounds. That weight plus another 100 pounds of medicaments (according to John 19:39) would make a neat load of 260 pounds. Carrying would be one thing, but burying? She would have to dump it in a hole! Does it make any sense?
The prank that Jesus was playing upon this woman had gone too far. The woman had not been able to see through the disguise yet and Jesus was ‘laughing under his breath’, but could restrain himself no longer. He blurts out: ‘MARY!’ Only the one word! But it was enough. This one word, ‘Mary!’ did what all the exchange of words failed to do. It enabled Mary to recognise her Master. Everyone has his or her unique and peculiar way of calling one’s nearest and dearest. It was not the mere utterance of the word ‘Mary’, but its deliberate intonation which made her respond: ‘Master! Master!’. Mad with happiness, she lunges forward to grab her Master, to pay reverence. Jesus says, ‘Touch me not!’ (John 20:17)
Why not? Is he a bundle of electricity, a dynamo, that if she touches him, she might get electrocuted? No! ‘Touch me not!’, because it would hurt. Though he appears normal to all intents and purposes, he had, nevertheless, been through a violent, physical and emotional ordeal. It would be excruciatingly painful if he allowed her any enthusiastic contact. Jesus continues “For I am not yet ascended unto my Father” (John 20:17)
She is not blind. She can see the man standing there before her. What does he mean by ‘not yet ascended’ – gone up – when he was down right there? He is, in fact, telling her that he is not Resurrected from the dead. In the language of the Jew, in the idiom of the Jew, he is saying: ‘I am not dead yet’ – He is saying: ‘I am alive!’
“And they (the disciples), when they heard that he was alive, and had been seen by her (Mary Magdalene),they believed Not” (Mark 16:11)
That very day, on the way to Emmaus, Jesus joins two of his disciples and discourses with them for 5 miles without being recognised by them! What a perfect masquerade! On reaching their destination, the disciples persuade the Master to join them for a meal. “And it came to pass, as he sat eating with them, he took bread and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to them” (Luke 24:30)
By the manner in which he brake bread (meaning the way he blessed it), ‘their eyes were opened’. Did they walk from Jerusalem to Emmaus with closed eyes? No! We are being told that the disciples recognised him only at that juncture. Luke continues with his story, that when they recognised him, ‘he vanished out of sight’. Did he do the Indian ‘Rope Trick’? Please don’t be ridiculous! What it means is that he went away. He went out of their sight.
Full of excitement, the two disciples rushed up to that upper room, where the other disciples were “And they went and told it unto the residue (of the disciples), neither believed they them” (Mark 16:13)
What is wrong with these disciples of Jesus? Why are they reluctant to believe? What is their difficulty? The problem is that they are confronted with evidence that Jesus is alive! Not resurrected (i.e. not spiritualised), but evidence that he is the same physical Jesus, flesh and bones as any one of them! – Eating food! In disguise – but not a spirit and not a ghost. This is what they could not believe. If they were told that Mary had seen the ghost of Jesus, they would have believed. If the above two had told the rest that they too had seen the ghost of Jesus, they would certainly have believed that. They were a people who had seen spirits going into pigs and stampeding two thousand of them to destruction. (Mark 5:13)
They had seen spirits going into trees and drying them up from their very roots overnight. (Mark 77:20)
They had seen ‘seven devils’ coming out of Mary Magdalene. (Mark 76:9)
All this was quite natural to their age. spirits, ghosts and devils! They could accept that which was believable at that time and age. But a Live Jesus? A physical Jesus? One who had escaped the stings of death. (Acts 2:24)?
This was too heavy for their ‘little faith’. Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 74:37; 76:8; and Luke 72:28
a) Mary Magdalene testifies that Jesus is alive.
b) The disciples from Emma us testify that he is alive!
c) Angels said that Jesus was alive! Luke 24:23
d) Two men that stood by told the women ‘why seek ye the living among the dead?’ That he is alive! Luke 24:4-5
Alive: Here as well as in every other place where this word ‘alive’ occur, it has been faithfully reproduced from the Christian Scriptures, and it is not any interpretation of mine. If these verses were inspired by God, then, it seems, that the poor ‘Hoty Ghost’ did not have the word ‘Resurrected’ in its vocabulary!
Yet they will not believe!! Let us see whether they will believe the words of their own ‘Lord and Master’, in the coming paragraphs.
Jesus no phantom and arithmetical conundrum
The two from Emmaus, “rose… and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and those who were with them” (Luke 24.33)
Which ‘eleven?’ They ‘found the eleven.’ Did they include themselves in the number they found? Even then the disciples there (of the elected twelve of Jesus) could never be more than 10 altogether. Because on this first visit of Jesus to that upper- room. Judas and Thomas were definitely not present. But Luke was not an eyewitness to this scene. He is simply copying verbatim from Mark 16:14 who said “he (Jesus) appeared unto the eleven as they sat eating”.
Now listen to Paul,. the thirteenth self-appointed apostle of Jesus. He says that after three days of hibernation. “(Jesus) was seen of Cephas (meaning Simon Peter), then to the twelve” (Corinthians 15:5)
Which ‘twelve?’ The word ‘then’ here, excludes Peter! But if you add him on, and with all good luck, you can still never get the ‘chosen twelve’ together to see Jesus, because the traitor Judas had committed suicide by hanging – (Matthew 27:5), long before Jesus alleged resurrection.’ (read ‘What was the Sign of Jonah?’)
We are dealing here with a strange mentality, where ‘eleven’ does not mean eleven’. Luke 24:33 ‘twelve does not mean twelve’, and ‘three and three’ means two and one!’ Jesus would truly sympathise with us ‘it is hard for you to kick against the pricks’ (Acts 9:5) (Paul says that these words were spoken to him by Jesus, originally in the Hebrew tongue. Acts 26:14).
Whilst the two are telling their sceptical audience about their encounter with a physical, living Jesus (one who was eating food with them), ‘in walks Jesus’ (these are my words), (‘Came Jesus and stood in their midst’ John 20:19) the doors being shut for fear of the Jews. The Christian controversialist says: ‘No! our records state that Jesus simply ‘stood in their midst; he did not walk in!’
It was a question of disappearance from Emmaus and a reappearance in Jerusalem – like the ‘Invisible Man’, like the ‘Indian Rope Trick’, like ‘Star Trek’ (a science-fiction fantasy where people are ‘beamed’ from Space Ships to planets and back again) you actually ‘see’ people disappearing in your very sight and materialising in another place. People who believe this to be real are victims of their own delusions. They have seen too many films and viewed too many TV programmes.
In John 20:79, 24. 26, the word ‘CAME’, ‘CAME’, ‘CAME’, contradict the notion that he simply appeared, meaning that he materialised out of thin air.
But why did it take Jesus so long to reach the upper-room? He had ‘vanished’ before the ‘two’ made a beeline for Jerusalem, and yet Jesus had not preceded them. He was late in coming. It reminds one of the story of the hare and tortoise. Could it be that he was nursing his wounds on the way?
The cultists imagine that Jesus was floating around from place to place, appearing and disappearing at will. Jeffrey Hunter, the handsome young actor, playing the role of Jesus Christ in the film, ‘King of Kings’, made a very sensible observation after climbing Mount Zion for the scene of the ‘temptation’ of Jesus by the Devil. After heaving and hoving, sweating and panting for breath while climbing the hill, he remarked, ‘For the first time in my life I realised how human Jesus was!’
Neither Luke nor John, who record this episode of Jesus’ visit to the upper-room, venture to tell us that he simply oozed through the key hole, or that he oozed through crevices in the wall. O! But why did they deprive us of this vital information? Because no oozing happened! But the problem remains – how did he get in when the ‘doors where shut’? (John 20:19)
Amazingly, Luke 24:36, who also records this incident word for word did not think fit to add, ‘the doors were shut.’ It was unimportant to him! Why? Because it was irrelevant! Claiming an ‘orderliness’ and judiciousness for his writing, he would not confuse the issues. (Luke 1:3)