I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. – Galatians 2:20
Many Muslims believe that Jesus was not crucified but ascended to heaven without being put on the cross and God created a ‘twin’ who was crucified instead (Quran 4:157-159). Some people also think that Jesus did not really die on the cross. The theory is that Jesus just fainted, and the people thought he was dead, so they buried him. But after a couple of days the cool air in the tomb resuscitated him and He walked out of the tomb.
If one of these claims is true, then it changes a lot and Christianity as a religion is invalid. If Jesus did not die, then He did not rise again, and if He did not rise again then we are still sinners and our faith is vain. However, empirical historical evidence, both Christian and non-Christian, supports the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Josephus, a prominent Jewish historian, confirmed what the bible says about these issues.
Jesus’s death really began with a scourging. He was tied on a post and whipped with a strip of leather with jagged bones that ripped his flesh with every whip. By the time Jesus was crucified, he had lost so much blood from the wounds on his back that were deep enough one could see His bones (Luke 23:26-43).
A person who was crucified usually died from suffocation, if a Roman soldier wanted to hasten the process, he would break the victim’s legs so that he could no longer lift himself up and breathe. This is exactly what happened to the two thieves crucified with Jesus. However, the Bible notes that when they came to Jesus, they found that He was already dead (John 19:32-33). By not breaking Jesus’s legs the soldiers fulfilled a prophecy in Psalm 34:20, that not a bone of the Messiah would be broken. And to make sure He was really dead, a soldier thrust a spear through his side puncturing the sac around his heart.
Our blessed assurance is that Christ died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again. Therefore, we can live a hopeful life knowing that our old self was crucified with him. So that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin, we were therefore buried with him through baptism into death. Now if we DIED with Christ, we believe that we will also LIVE with him. And this is the Easter Message!