The Trial of Jesus: Did it take place?

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 The Suffering Servant of Isaiah

 Written by Abdullah Smith

[Part I] [Part II] [Part III]

 

 




The Bible provides evidence that Jesus’ closest followers did not believe Isaiah 53 prophesied his death and resurrection.

 

When Jesus (allegedly) foretold the crucifixion, the disciples did not understand, even though he was speaking plainly.

 

They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise." But they did not understand what he meant and were afraid to ask him about it. (Mark 9:30-32)

 

Leaving there, they went through Galilee. He didn't want anyone to know their whereabouts, for he wanted to teach his disciples. He told them, "The Son of Man is about to be betrayed to some people who want nothing to do with God. They will murder him. Three days after his murder, he will rise, alive." They didn't know what he was talking about, but were afraid to ask him about it. (Mark 9:30-32, The Message Bible)

 

This shows the disciples never acknowledged the prophecy as Messianic. The Jews have been reading Isaiah 53 for hundreds of years, yet none of the apostles claimed Jesus’ death was foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures.

 

Jesus did not believe he was prophesied to die for the “sins of mankind”.

 

Jesus and his immediate followers were Pharisees. Jesus had no intention of founding a new religion. He regarded himself as the Messiah in the normal Jewish sense of the term, i.e. a human leader who would restore the Jewish monarchy, drive out the Roman invaders, set up an independent Jewish state, and inaugurate an era of peace, justice and prosperity (known as 'the kingdom of God,) for the whole world. Jesus believed himself to be the figure prophesied in the Hebrew Bible who would do all these things. He was not a militarist and did not build up an army to fight the Romans, since he believed that God would perform a great miracle to break the power of Rome. This miracle would take place on the Mount of Olives, as prophesied in the book of Zechariah. When this miracle did not occur, his mission had failed. He had no intention of being crucified in order to save mankind from eternal damnation by his sacrifice. He never regarded himself as a divine being, and would have regarded such an idea as pagan and idolatrous, an infringement of the first of the Ten Commandments. (Hyam Maccoby, The Problem of Paul)

 

The concept of “dying and rising” god was unknown to Judaism:

Jesus could not have foreseen his rejection, death, and resurrection, as the idea of a suffering, dying, and rising Messiah or son of Man was unknown to Judaism. (Israel Knohl, The Messiah before Jesus, The Suffering Servant of the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 2)

Jesus did not know his destiny:

 

Jesus had no foreknowledge of his failure and crucifixion. The Last Supper was a celebration with his closest disciples of his appearance as King and the imminent overthrow of the Roman power (Hyam Maccoby, Revolution in Judea: Jesus and the Jewish Resistance)

 

Jesus was unwilling to be crucified:

Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."  (Matthew 26:38-39)

It is very clear from the above verse in Matthew 26:39 that Jesus had no intention of dying. In this verse it is shown that Jesus was praying strongly (Matthew mentions Jesus repeating this prayer three times) to have this death removed from him. Had Jesus Christ been sent to be crucified, he would not have hesitated to be killed at all. 

 

When I raise this point in front of my Christian friends, they tell me that this hesitation came from the flesh side of him (in other words he was tempted), and that his soul which is godly did not have this hesitation at all. When we look at Matthew 26:38 we see that Jesus was contradicting this idea by saying, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death." (Matthew 26:38). He himself said that it’s really his soul that was hesitating and not his body. These were Jesus’ own words.  (1)

 

The scholar Ulfat-Aziz-us-Samad says:

 

“…To demand the price of blood in order to forgive the sins of men is to show a complete lack of mercy, and to punish a man who is not guilty for the sins of others, whether the former is willing or not, is the height of injustice.

 

Christian apologists try to defend this by saying that Jesus Christ willingly suffered death to pay the price for the sins of men. To this our reply is:

 

Firstly, it is not historically correct to say that Jesus had come to die willingly and deliberately for the sins of men. We read in the Bible that he did not wish to die on the cross. (Islam and Christianity, p. 50)

 

God always protected Jesus:

 

But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. (John 8:16)

 

The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." (John 8:29)

 

"But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. (John 16:32)

 

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." (John 11:41-42)

 

Jesus is recorded to have said:

 

Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:39)

 

Peter was willing to die for Jesus!

Simon Peter asked him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus replied, "Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later." Peter asked, "Lord, why can't I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." (John 13:36-37)

It was Judas Iscariot who died for Jesus on the cross.

 

When the soldiers with Judas drew near to the place where Jesus was, Jesus heard the approach of many people, wherefore in fear he withdrew into the house. And the eleven were sleeping. Then God, seeing the danger of his servant, commanded Gabriel;, Michael;, Rafael;, and Uriel, his ministers, to take Jesus out of the world. The holy angels came and took Jesus out by the window that looks toward the South;. They bare him and placed him in the third heaven in the company of angels blessing God for evermore.

Judas entered impetuously before all into the chamber whence Jesus had been taken up. And the disciples were sleeping. Whereupon the wonderful God acted wonderfully, insomuch that Judas was so changed in speech and in face to be like Jesus that we believed him to be Jesus. And he, having awakened us, was seeking where the Master was. Whereupon we marvelled, and answered: 'You, Lord, are our master; have you now forgotten us?'

And he, smiling, said: 'Now are you foolish, that know not me to be Judas Iscariot!' And as he was saying this the soldiery entered, and laid their hands upon Judas, because he was in every way like to Jesus. We having heard Judas' saying, and seeing the multitude of soldiers, fled as beside ourselves. And John, who was wrapped in a linen cloth, awoke and fled, and when a soldier seized him by the linen cloth he left the linen cloth and fled naked. For God heard the prayer of Jesus, and saved the eleven from evil… (Gospel of Barnabas) 

Judas cried “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

And the soldiers came before him, bowing down in mockery, saluting him as King of the Jews. And they held out their hands to receive gifts, such as new kings are accustomed to give; and receiving nothing they smote Judas, saying: 'Now, how are you crowned, foolish king, if you will not pay your soldiers and servants?' *The chief priests with the scribes and Pharisees, seeing that Judas died not by the scourges, and fearing lest Pilate should set him at liberty, made a gift of money to the governor, who having received it gave Judas to the scribes and Pharisees as guilty to death. Whereupon they condemned two robbers with him to the death of the cross.

So they led him to Mount Calvary, where they used to hang malefactors, and there they crucified him naked;, for the greater ignominy. *Judas truly did nothing else but cry out: 'God, why have you forsaken me, seeing the malefactor has escaped and I die unjustly?' *Truly I say that the voice, the face, and the person of Judas were so like to Jesus, that his disciples and believers entirely believed that he was Jesus; wherefore some departed from the doctrine of Jesus, believing that Jesus had been a false prophet, and that by art magic he had done the miracles which he did: for Jesus had said that he should not die till near the end of the world; for that at that time he should be taken away from the world.

According to the apocryphal Gospel of Peter, Jesus cried out: “My power, my power, why have you forsaken me?”

 

Now it was midday and darkness prevailed over all Judaea. They were troubled and in an agony lest the sun should have set for he still lived. For it is written that, "The sun should not set upon him that hath been executed." And one of them said, "Give him vinegar and gall to drink." And they mixed it and gave it to him to drink. And they fulfilled all things and brought their sins upon their own heads. Now many went about with lamps, supposing that it was night, and they laid down. And the Lord cried out aloud saying, "My power, my power, you have forsaken me." When he had said this, he was taken up. And in the same hour the veil of the temple of Jerusalem was rent in two. (Gospel of Peter)

 

Did Jesus say the words "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?", or was it Judas?

 

The Bible says God would never forsake His servants.

 

For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; (Psalms 37:28)

 

LORD God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David your servant." (2 Chronicles 6:42)

For the sake of David your servant, do not reject your anointed one. The LORD swore an oath to David, a sure oath that he will not revoke: "One of your own descendants I will place on your throne- (Psalms 132:10-11)

So it was Judas who was forsaken by God, not Jesus!

 

The scholar Ibn Kathir comments on 4:157

(O you to whom the Dhikr (the Qur'an) has been sent down! Verily, you are a mad man!) When Allah sent `Isa with proofs and guidance, the Jews, may Allah's curses, anger, torment and punishment be upon them, envied him because of his prophethood and obvious miracles; curing the blind and leprous and bringing the dead back to life, by Allah's leave. He also used to make the shape of a bird from clay and blow in it, and it became a bird by Allah's leave and flew. `Isa performed other miracles that Allah honored him with, yet the Jews defied and bellied him and tried their best to harm him. Allah's Prophet `Isa could not live in any one city for long and he had to travel often with his mother, peace be upon them. Even so, the Jews were not satisfied, and they went to the king of Damascus at that time, a Greek polytheist who worshipped the stars. They told him that there was a man in Bayt Al-Maqdis misguiding and dividing the people in Jerusalem and stirring unrest among the king's subjects. The king became angry and wrote to his deputy in Jerusalem to arrest the rebel leader, stop him from causing unrest, crucify him and make him wear a crown of thorns. When the king's deputy in Jerusalem received these orders, he went with some Jews to the house that `Isa was residing in, and he was then with twelve, thirteen or seventeen of his companions. That day was a Friday, in the evening. They surrounded `Isa in the house, and when he felt that they would soon enter the house or that he would sooner or later have to leave it, he said to his companions, "Who volunteers to be made to look like me, for which he will be my companion in Paradise'' A young man volunteered, but `Isa thought that he was too young. He asked the question a second and third time, each time the young man volunteering, prompting `Isa to say, "Well then, you will be that man.'' Allah made the young man look exactly like `Isa, while a hole opened in the roof of the house, and `Isa was made to sleep and ascended to heaven while asleep.

Allah sid (And (remember) when Allah said: "O `Isa! I will take you and raise you to Myself.'') When `Isa ascended, those who were in the house came out. When those surrounding the house saw the man who looked like `Isa, they thought that he was `Isa. So they took him at night, crucified him and placed a crown of thorns on his head. The Jews then boasted that they killed `Isa and some Christians accepted their false claim, due to their ignorance and lack of reason. As for those who were in the house with `Isa, they witnessed his ascension to heaven, while the rest thought that the Jews killed `Isa by crucifixion. They even said that Maryam sat under the corpse of the crucified man and cried, and they say that the dead man spoke to her. All this was a test from Allah for His servants out of His wisdom. Allah explained this matter in the Glorious Qur'an which He sent to His honorable Messenger, whom He supported with miracles and clear, unequivocal evidence. Allah is the Most Truthful, and He is the Lord of the worlds Who knows the secrets, what the hearts conceal, the hidden matters in heaven and earth, what has occurred, what will occur, and what would occur if it was decreed. (Online Source)

 

 

 

 

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