Why Do Christians Insist on the Crucifixion?

Muslims have great difficulty with the Crucifixion. They raise some sincere questions that deal with the subject of sin and why Jesus needed to die as an atonement for sin. If the reader studies the first 10 chapters of the Holy Book of Hebrews, he will receive a better understanding concerning this most important subject.

The Islamic doctrine of sin is much different than that of Christianity. Muslims say that while Adam and Eve made a mistake in disobedience, their mistake, or sin, was confessed and forgiven. Muslims say that sin is not a part of man’s nature, and though man continues to make mistakes, these can be forgiven by striving toward self-righteousness through a series of good works, which will bring the favor of God on judgment day.

The Holy Bible admonishes people to do good works, but it clearly teaches that good works can never deal with the most basic problem facing people—sin. The prophet David wrote, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). The apostle Paul said, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Isaiah asks the question, “How then can we be saved?” He says, “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags... and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:5,6).

crownofthornsGod’s Holy Word gives us the answer, “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5,6).

Since the beginning of time, our gracious and merciful God has provided a way to have our sins covered and forgiven. In obedience, Abraham took his son to offer as a sacrifice, but our merciful God provided a ram for the offering.

The question is: Why was it necessary to kill an animal and offer it as a sacrifice? Again, we see all through the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament that humankind was commanded to offer blood sacrifices as a covering for sin. But in the Holy Book of Hebrews we see that on the Cross, Jesus Christ became the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all humankind. From that moment forward, people can be free from the guilt of sin by accepting His atoning work and believing on His name.

Just the mention of the words “Cross” and “Crucifixion” brings deep emotion to the follower of Jesus Christ. Christians are amazed that He was willing to suffer and die so that people could be forgiven and have freedom from the guilt and penalty of sin. This is a very sacred and powerful force among Christians.

Some Muslims say that Judas or someone else was substituted by the Roman soldiers, that Jesus did not go to the Cross. If that had happened, why did not Judas or the person substituted scream out that a mistake had been made?

How could anyone other than Jesus pray, in the midst of excruciating pain, that God would forgive His persecutors? How could such merciful and compassionate sentiments be heard from the lips of a passer-by who had been substituted? How could Mary, the mother of Jesus, not see such a fraud as she stood at the foot of the Cross and recognized Jesus and heard His voice speaking lovingly to her? If it were someone else on the Cross, Mary would have exposed it.

There are three things concerning this subject that Muslims should carefully consider.

First, they should consider that the prophets foretold the Crucifixion. As the prophet Isaiah said, “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By
oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken” (Isaiah 53:4-8).

The prophet David said, “You lay me in the dust of death. Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing” (Psalm 22:15-18).

Second, consider that secular history confirms the Crucifixion. Cornelius Tacitus was the greatest historian of the Roman Empire. He wrote, “The name Christian is derived from Christ, who was executed under the government of the procurator Pilate.”

Josephus wrote in his Antiquitatis ludaice. volume 18, 111:3: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal among us, had condemned him to the Cross, those who loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day as the divine prophets had foretold these and 10,000 other wonderful things concerning him.”

Third, consider the preponderance of scriptures that record the Crucifixion. The entire theme of the Holy New Testament deals with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul wrote, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also” (1 Corinthians 15:3-8).

Yes, the Holy Scriptures confirm that He was crucified and arose from the dead. There are in existence about 5,000 manuscripts of the New Testament in whole or in part which testify that Jesus was crucified.

We you to carefully study why Jesus needed to die. We suggest you read again the first 10 chapters of Hebrews to understand why the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ are so important.

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