Did Jesus Survive the Crucifixion?
This post addresses whether Jesus died on the cross and survived the crucifixion. It would seem that this is not the most important question to address. However, many people would argue that understanding whether His actions had a miraculous nature would be more useful in proving His divinity.
The problem with that is that many of the anti-Jesus voices in the world don’t deny the miracles (Muslims and Jews both believe that Jesus did miraculous signs and wonders: the former as “a” prophet of God, the latter as a follower of Beelzebub).
Was Jesus Crucified?
The core issue is not whether the Romans practiced crucifixion or whether Jews were crucified in Judea by the Romans but whether this particular Jewish man, this Jesus, was crucified by the Romans and, just as important, whether or not He died on the cross.
Once you establish that Jesus was crucified, a conclusion that once reached can be shown to be miraculous in its own right because of the fact that it was foretold hundreds of years before, showing that He died on the cross also quiets another section and contention of the non-believers as well, and for Christians, fulfills the requirement for substitutionary atoning death of the Christ for the forgiveness of sins.
Read: What is the Gospel?
Both the crucifixion and death on the cross of this Jesus born in Bethlehem to descendants of David during this particular moment in time after which both the priesthood and the throne are taken from Judah (Genesis 49:10) are, to say it lightly, impossible to force, fake or plan. And yet, somehow even the impossibly unfalsifiable mathematics of these events lining up have found their way breaking through the “logic” of the skeptics.
No matter which voices you listen to on the topic, whether it’s the voices of doubt in your own mind or the voices of the doubts of others, you can be sure of this: Jesus did die on the cross. The historicity of the death by crucifixion of Jesus is as a well-established fact as any accepted fact in history.
Actually, discounting the biblical narrative, the historical reliability of the crucifixion of Jesus can stand entirely on the testaments of those that crucified Him in the first place: Pontius Pilate, Tacitus, Thallus, and the Babylonian Talmud, to name a few, all agree that Jesus was crucified and died on the cross and none of these sources mentioned were friendly to the Way. Pontius Pilate records the crucifixion and death of Jesus in his official records that he shipped back home to Imperial Capital (Acts of Pilate).
Crucifixion and Death As Recorded Fact
Perhaps just as importantly, the crucifixion and death on the cross of Jesus are recorded in the Babylonian Talmud, a pivotal historical reference point for Diaspora Jews for the centuries that followed the sacking of Jerusalem by the Roman legions. Leaning just on these two (among several dozen) historical grand slams for the case of Jesus’ death on the cross, you would have to suspend reason to think that Jesus could survive the gruesome, violent, blood-letting experience of a Roman crucifixion.
The Romans weren’t in the business of letting anyone “walk away” from the crucifixion. The Romans had a special unit of soldiers assigned to this duty. The cruelest and most vile soldiers were given the privilege of punishing the enemies of Rome and no one, neither sinner nor holy man, got a pass: the cross was a one-way path. The soldiers in charge of the crucifixion detail risked being crucified themselves should a prisoner have survived their death sentence.
Had anyone ever survived the process, it would have been big news. In fact, this particular story of survival did make the headlines of the day, not because He survived the ordeal but that He rose from the dead on the third day. This too is a historical certainty.
Bondservant to Jesus Christ, Married to Michele, Dad to Madelyn, Claudia, and Joseph and educator by trade, apologist by calling and saved by Grace. Antonio loves to read, write, and discuss all-things-apologetics. He has many passions in life including reaching, teaching, and keeping men for Jesus Christ. Waiting on God’s big reveal: Antonio knows He has something beautiful in mind.