Author:- Pandit Gangaprasad ji Upadyaya
Jesus death is as mysterious as his birth. It is written in? Bible:-
Jesus was crucified.
He died on the cross.
His body was put in a Sepulcher. (a small room or monument, cut in rock or built of stone, in which a dead person is laid or buried)
On the third day, the Sepulcher was found empty.
Christ was thereafter seen walking by several people elsewhere.
He rose to heaven with body.
He is sitting right side of his father, God, in heaven.
These things have been described in details in Matth, Chapter XXVII and XXVIII, Mark chap. XVI, Luke chapter XXIV, and John chapters XX and XXXI.
The details differ so much that no fair-minded person can be persuaded (duce (someone) to do something through reasoning or argument) to believe them. Even Christians would not believe a similarly worded story in the case of another person. Any written or printed material is not a history. And when uncommon things are said, the testimony should be free from all shades of doubts. If four witness in the form of Matthew, Mark, Like and John appears before a court and they give a same account as is given in the New Testaments, With the difference that some other name is given in the place of Jesus, even Christian Judge of the present High Court would brush it aside as a tissue of either hallucinations (an experience involving the apparent perception of something not present) or lies.Just look at the points:-
1.Matthew mentions ‘a great earthquake.” The other three are silent on this point. It was an important point. Had there been an earthquake, it should have been marked by others.
2. Matthew mentions one angel who told the women that ‘he is risen.’ Mark gives “a young man.” St Luke gives ‘two men stood by them in shining garment; St John also names ‘two’.
3. According to St. John, Mary “turned” herself back and saw Jesus standing.” This Fact is not mentioned by the other three.
It was Joseph of Arimathaea Who secretly went to Pilate for the body of Jesus.
Mark says, ‘Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.’ (Mark X, 44) (1)
(1) “The concluding eleven verses of St. Mark, XVI, that speak of the resurrection as well as of the foreign mission and the signs, with the sweeping condemnation of the Non-Christian world, so unbecoming of the gentle soul like Jesus, have been proved to be an addition and forgery, and do not exist in the vulgate (the principal Latin version of the Bible, prepared mainly by St Jerome in the late 4th century, and (as revised in 1592) adopted as the official text for the Roman Catholic Church), nor in the ancient Greece Mss.
I found it so, and printed it out in a marginal note on these eleven verses. The fact is not unknown to the British and Foreign Bible society; yet they do not care to remove the verses from the Bibles.” (Sources of Christianity by Khwaja Kamaluddin, page 123)
Now assuming that Mary and Mary Magdalena found the sepulcher empty and also assuming that Christ was Seen by some persons after the event, the only conclusion that a sane man would arrive at is that Jesus did not die on the cross, that Joseph of Arimathaea, who was friend of Jesus, played some tricks and spirited away the body of Jesus. The man or men whom the women took an angels of God, might have been some persons acquainted with the secret. It is written that “the sepulcher was new wherein was never man yet laid.”
In all probability the sepulcher must have been so devised by Joseph himself that the stone might be easily set aside. This has been anticipated by Matthew and is clear from the following statements:-
“Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priest and Pharisees came together unto Pilate saying, sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Command therefore that the sepulcher he made sur, until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead; so the last error shall worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.” (Matt. Chapter xxvii, 62-66)
The other three witnesses mention neither a watch nor an earthquake. It seems that in order to cofound. Matthew coined the story of earthquake. The points to be considered are the following:-
1.Why did Pilate marvel if he were already dead?
2. Why did not Pilate satisfy himself personally on the point and why did he confine his enquiry to merely the statement of the centurion? It is not possible that the Centurion might have been purchased by the rich Joseph of Arimathaea?
3. When the people complained, why did not Pilate look to the watch personally?
4.How was the stone sealed? What was the nature of the watch and what guarantee was there that the watch was all above temptations?
Then there are two more aspects which are of a very great importance: first of all, the possibility of resurrections; secondly, the purpose of resurrection. Either Christ died on the cross or did not die. In the latter case the question of resurrection does not rise and the miracle loses all its value. In the former case, death can only mean the total departure of the soul from the body. When Jesus body was lying in the sepulcher, his soul must have departed. To where? You can say “to heaven.” Then why did it return? And how? Why did it take three days to return?
As regards the question of ‘purpose’ the only purpose imaginable can be the over-awing of the unbelievers by the uncanniness of the process. But here too the purpose fails miserably. The miracle could have done openly before all, even on the cross and might have converted the whole world. But instead of this we find Jesus crying “Eli, Eli lama sabachthani? My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Mark.XXXVII, 46)
Are these not the ways of ordinary men? Any man would cry like that at the time of death. Then if the purpose was to convince people of Jesus divinity, better person should have the witness than the two half-crazy women who what of attachment and what of credulity could not discern whether it was Jesus or the Gardner. There is one more point. If Jesus foretold his resurrection on the third day, as people complained against Pilate, was it known to the women? If so why did they not expect in due course? Why did they come to sepulcher with the intension of paying their respect to dead?
If the purpose was not public proclamation but something private and secret, even then the whole story seems to be silly? Jesus appears to some friends and only and then asks them to proclaimed the event.
Then there is the question of the passion of Jesus’ body to heaven. This is the funniest event. Only those who believe heaven is somewhere in the skies above and solid bodies can rise up to they can regard it as true. In these days such persons are very rare except in exceptional asylum. Unless heaven be a court of a despotic king in some physical sense, it is absurd to say that the body of Jesus Christ passed to it, and he is still seen sitting on right side of his father. If you treat it figuratively, you have to put it nakedly so that the sense might be understood.
We should not have taken notice of such a fairy-tale, had it not been for the fact that the resurrect of the Jesus Christ is the most important portion of the Christian creed, as important as its birth. God’s son needs be born in an unusual way and so must he need die. Ingersoll has well said, “How do they prove Christ rose from the dead? They found the account in the book. Who wrote the book? They do not know. What evidence is this? None, unless all things found in books are true.”
“They say that Christianity was established, proved to be true, and by miracles wrought nearly two thousand years ago. Not one of these miracles can be established except by impudent and ignorant assertions –except by poisoning and deforming the minds of the ignorant and the young.”
Professor Huxley says,
“On the strength of an undeniable improbability, however, we not only have right to demand, but are morally bound to require, strong evidence in favor of miracle before even we take it into serious consideration. But when, instead of such evidence, nothing is produced but stories originating nobody knows how or when, among persons who could firmly believe in the devils which enter pigs, I confess that my feelings is one of astonishment that any one should except a reasonable man to take such testimony seriously.”