Every Easter, Christians celebrate the supposed resurrection of the good lord, Jesus. Now, while everyone is entitled to their beliefs, there are very compelling reasons that the faith, or at least the central belief of the faith – namely, Jesus’ resurrection not only did not happen, but was in fact started by a lucky series of very natural events that have been misunderstood to be miraculous.
Firstly, the claim that after Jesus was convicted of the crime of blasphemy by the Jews and treason by the Romans and then given a burial fit for a king is totally at odds with commonsense. Indeed, it is an insult to the Jews to think that they would have so honourably buried Jesus after convicting him of the worse crime any Jew could commit. What’s even more insulting is that the man who helped to convict Jesus of the crime, one Joseph of the council, is the same man who gave Jesus that very expensive tomb.
However, there does exists the possibility that Jesus, after his crucifixion was placed in that tomb, and on this Joseph’s orders too – but not for the reasons that Christians celebrate. This is how early Christianity got lucky.
As the bible itself confirms, Jesus was put to death very near the Sabbath. Jewish customs at the time demanded that convicted blasphemers like Jesus were to be buried in the criminals’ graveyard. The problem with Jesus, however, was that he died right on the start of the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a sacred day to the Jews, so absolutely no work was allowed – including burying convicted criminals.
Not being able to leave Jesus’ body on the cross after death and at the same time not being able to bury him, the council was in a quandary. To solve the dilemma, it decided to put Jesus’ corpse in a temporary tomb – an ancient morgue, if you will, until the Sabbath had passed. This is the much celebrated tomb from which Jesus supposedly came back to life. It is clear that this tomb was meant to be a place of temporary burial – and not a permanent one, as Christians would want us to believe.
Of course, as soon as the Sabbath had ended, which was late Saturday, Jesus’ body would have had to be removed and buried in the criminals’ grave yard. The Jews saw nothing special about doing this, and they probably did this many times over with other convicted criminals.
The fact that the women found the tomb empty that Sunday morning would therefore have been no surprise at all. It is therefore no wonder that the Jews, more than anybody else find this talk of Jesus’ resurrection quite funny – to say the least.
One can, however, understand why at least some of the first disciples thought that Jesus came back from the dead. If they could misinterpret his parables so often and, for instance, literally see a camel going through the eye of a needle, why not the dead coming back to life too?
However, what if Jesus had not been executed near the Sabbath? Would Christians still have an empty tomb story to cling onto? Not likely. They probably wouldn’t be wearing crosses around their necks today, but they could probably be wearing a knife, a box, a chicken bone, a chunk of bread, a club, a rock or, who knows, even a naked woman instead.
Most likely though, if Jesus was executed on any other day, there would have been no empty tomb story at all. Jesus would have died on the cross and then be buried in the criminals’ graveyard. As luck would have it, Jesus died very near the Sabbath, and as we all know the rest is history – well, most likely not!
Anyway, I am more than convinced that there was no resurrection.
Michael A. Dingwall