Deacon’s Corner, August 18 2019

Is God real?  So far, I’ve covered three of the five reasons from the book “The God Answers” providing some very compelling arguments that God is real:  the Universe, the Creator, and our Sense of Morality.  Reason No. 4 is “Jesus.”  There is so much to write about Reason No. 4 that I’m going to cover it in two parts.  This week:  Jesus, Part 1 – Did he really die?

Scripture, and official secular records at the time, tell us a man named Jesus from Nazareth was executed by crucifixion while Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea.  His crime was declaring himself the King of the Jews.  The Romans were masters at the art of crucifixion.  They perfected crucifixion as a brutal, humiliating, form of execution designed to discourage others from committing the same crime.  First, Jesus was flogged 39 times leaving him near death with his flesh in ribbons and internal organs exposed.  The executioners fashioned a crown from long, very sharp thorns and pressed into the top of his head.  They tied a 110-pound crossbar to his shoulders and forced him to walk through the streets of Jerusalem to the crucifixion site outside the city gates.  On the way, he was so weak that a man was forced to carry the crossbar for him.  Jesus was then nailed to a cross, stood upright, and left to die as people mocked and jeered him.  A Roman executioner declared Jesus dead after piercing his heart with a lance.  Roman executioners knew how to do their job very well.  If they didn’t, they would suffer the same fate.

Jesus’ mother and close friends watched him die.  His body was taken down and wrapped with over 100 pounds of cloth and placed in a burial chamber, a tomb, carved out of rock.  A stone weighing about two tons was rolled across the tomb opening.  Pilate ordered the tomb sealed, and stationed guards by it, to prevent anyone from stealing the body.  The seal was made from clay packs and stamped with Pilate’s official signet ring.  Anyone caught breaking this seal would have been sentenced to death.  Before the sealing the tomb, the guards would have checked to make sure the body of Jesus was in there.

Did Jesus of Nazareth really die?  He was killed by an elite Roman execution squad who were well trained in doing their job.  He was buried in accordance with Jewish custom.  The Roman governor took precautions to ensure no one disturbed his grave.  All of this happened in front of many witnesses.  Yes, we know that Jesus of Nazareth was, in fact, dead.

Is Jesus God?  Is God real?  More to follow next week with Reason No. 4 – Jesus, Part 2 – He is alive!

Deacon John


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