One of the core events upon which Christianity stands is the Resurrection of Jesus. The Resurrection story is pivotal because by it Jesus proved once and for all that He really WAS who He claimed to be – God incarnate.
Author and thinker CS Lewis once pointed out, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic… or the devil of hell.
C S Lewis is right!
Jesus was so much more than a human teacher. He proved the truth and power of His deity by resurrecting from the dead. Of course, this claim has raised many oppositional theories about what happened that weekend almost two thousand years ago, in order to discredit the resurrection story. In this video I want to address one of those theories called the Swoon Theory.
This theory suggests Jesus didn’t die, but only appeared to be dead on the cross – reviving in the cool of the tomb in which he was buried and therefore able to appear to his followers by the Monday. But is this feasible? Did Jesus survive the cross? Crucifixion was a slow torturous way to die. But there were other things that Jesus went through on his way to the cross that made his ability to survive even more unlikely. In the gospel accounts we read that Jesus was captured, brought before the Chief Priest Caiaphas, beaten and mocked and then delivered to the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, with a demand he be crucified for blasphemy.
He was then sent to be scourged. Much of the art we see depicting the crucifixion shows Jesus with blood on his body but otherwise looking remarkably intact. In reality, scourging was so brutal it killed many before they even made it to crucifixion. The instruments used in scourging were created to inflict maximum damage and blood loss, to bring the criminal to the point of death. We also read that after his scourging, Jesus was far too weak and damaged to carry his own cross to his crucifixion.
Then, we have the crucifixion itself.
The Romans did not invent crucifixion but they had two centuries in which to perfect their use of it. By the time Jesus was led to the cross, the Romans had killed thousands of people using this horrific method. The final cause of death was usually asphyxiation or exhaustion through the exertion of trying to breathe with arms stretched out across the beam of their cross. Roman executioners were professional killers, whose own lives depended on successful executions.
They had techniques of ensuring A criminal was dead, such as breaking the crucified’s legs to hasten asphyxiation or piercing them through with a sword. We read Jesus died before the soldiers needed to break his legs but just to be sure he was dead, the executioners pierced him with a sword and blood and water ran out. For centuries this reference to blood and water was not fully understood. But today we know this is a sign of pericardial or pleural effusion – the medical term for when fluid surrounds the heart or lungs due to trauma.
For Jesus to suffer:
- A beating
- the physical distress and blood loss of scourging,
- asphyxiation on the cross,
- being pierced by a sword,
- then sealed in a tomb…
- And yet somehow managing to revive himself,
- pushing back the massive rock in front of his tomb,
- and then appearing to his followers
- in a condition that convinced them He was their resurrected Messiah?
No… Jesus didn’t just pass for being dead on the cross, he was executed and died.
For him to be alive again three days later… It would have taken a miracle. And it did.