QUESTION: How did Jesus die?
ANSWER: Jesus died by crucifixion. Matthew accounts this (Matthew 27:27-61; v.50). Mark accounts this (Mark 15:16-47; v.37). Luke accounts this (Luke 23:26-56; v.46). John accounts this (John 19:17-42; v.33)
Crucifixion was the way the Romans eliminated the possibility that Jesus could have ever survived. In fact, before the crucifixion, Jesus was beaten and flogged (Lk. 22:63-64; etc.). He was so exhausted that another man had to carry His cross (Mk. 15:21; etc.). Josephus wrote:
“When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified…” (Josephus, Antiquities 18.64).
Josephus was not a Christian, he was a Jewish historian that lived during this time and he recorded the crucifixion as being a real, historical event.
“Nero fastened the guilt [of the burning of Rome] and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus” (Tacitus, Annals 15.44 c. A.D. 115).
Lucian of Samosata, the Greek satirist, wrote:
“The Christians, you know, worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account” (Lucian of Samosata, The Death of Peregrine, 11-13 (c. mid-second century).
The Talmud states:
“…on the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged” (Talmud, Sanhedrin 43a, late second century, The Babylonian Talmud, I. Epstein, ed. And trans.).
The Talmud is a collection of Jewish writings and is a central text of Rabbinic Judaism, considered second to the Torah. Yeshu is Joshua in Hebrew. The equivalent in Greek is Iesous or Jesus. Being hung on a tree was used to describe crucifixion in antiquity (Lk. 23:39; Gal. 3:13).
– Kevin Pendergrass
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