Did Jesus really die on the cross?

Some people have doubts about whether Jesus Christ really died on a cross. Many Islamic teachers deny the death of Jesus on the cross. They have based this denial on a verse in the Qur’an that is dificult to explain (Surat An-Nisa’ 4:157).

In this post, I will present some key facts as an explanation of why it is impossible for Jesus Christ would have survived the crucifixion. Some people also claim that somebody else died on the cross. You can read more about why that is not the case in the post “Did someone else hang on the cross?“.

He was tortured and weakened

The Gospels (Injil) of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John describe the conviction and crucifixion of Jesus in detail. Before Jesus was crucified, He had first been beaten with a whip that had bone splinters on it. After that, His body was covered with deep wounds. As a result, He was weakened so much that He could not even carry His own cross.

During the crucifixion, large iron nails were hammered through His hands (probably through His wrists) and His feet. After that, Jesus hung on the cross for at least 3 hours and then called out, “My task is finished!” And then He died.

A spear in His side

Roman soldiers supervise the crucifixion. When they notice Jesus has died, one of the soldiers pokes a spear into Jesus’ side to be sure He is dead. Water and blood comes out. That is a medical sign that someone has been tortured and has died. (1)

The soldiers executed their job with extremity. Roman soldiers who did not do their job properly were severely punished. If the execution had not been done correctly, the soldiers probably would have been killed. Therefore, there are no known cases of people who survived the Roman crucifixion.

Jesus was wrapped in clothes and locked in a tomb

After His crucifixion, Jesus was placed in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea, and they embalmed His body. At that time, it was customary for a dead person to be wrapped in clothes using about 30 pounds of cement-like balm. This was done to Jesus, as we can read in John 19:39. His face was wound in these clothes. The tomb was sealed with a big and very heavy stone. Without any food or drink, it would already be very hard for a healthy person to survive such a thing. It is absolutely impossible for someone who has been tortured, crucified and wrapped in clothes.

Jesus had predicted that He would be raised from death. Therefore, His enemies asked the Romans to guard the tomb. A group of Roman soldiers stood guard in front of the tomb (see Matthew 27:63-66).

Another remarkable fact is that Jesus was not buried by His disciples. Instead, Joseph of Arimathea provided his rock tomb. Joseph was an important person, probably a judge and member of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was also responsible for the conviction of Jesus. But Joseph had been a follower of Jesus in secret for quite some time.

Being Seen First by Women

When Jesus was resurrected, he was seen first by several women. In those days, women had little credibility. If the authors of the gospels had made up the resurrection, they would have chosen men in their stories. That would make their stories sound a lot more convincing.

His disciples were willing to die for the good news

Jesus’ disciples travelled all over the world after Jesus went to Heaven. They shared the good news about peace with God through Jesus’ death and resurrection everywhere they went. Many of His followers were imprisoned, tortured, and killed because of the message they were spreading. If this message was based on lies, many of His followers would have doubts and would certainly not have given their lives for this message. Even today, thousands of followers of Jesus are being killed because they will not stop sharing the good news of Jesus with other people.

If there were doubts that Jesus Christ himself had not died on the cross, it seems hard to explain why such a large number of people believe that through His death, the forgiveness of sins and eternal life can be obtained. If there were any doubts at the time that Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again, then it is hard to explain why so many people risked their lives to defend this message.

Nearly all historians agree that Jesus died on a cross. That does not answer the question of why He died on the cross. Read more about this in Chapter 8.

Did someone else die on the cross?

The articles below will answer the questions of whether Jesus was exchanged with a substitute before His crucifixion and whether God can die.

If you entered the website on this page, go to Chapter 1 of the main story.