Text for TV program
In our last program, we saw where Jesus was preaching moral principles, and while he was popular with the multitude of the Israelites, the Chief priest and the Scribes were not favouring him very much. They considered him to be a problem as he was criticising their behaviour and teachings.
They were violating the laws of Moses, and he was trying to restore them; so they wanted to get rid of him.
Jesus had real problem to get dedicated workers for the cause of Allah, as he preached and taught the people. They listened to him but were not prepared to sacrifice their lives for the cause of Allah. Even his disciples were not very dedicated to his mission.
We saw this in his saying to them that all of them were going to forsake him in that crucial night. This included even Peter. So he said to them, after they had a meal together. All of you shall be offended because of me tonight.
Why did Jesus tell Peter that he (Peter) will forsake Jesus?
Jesus was aware that there was plan to take hold of him and to try to get rid of him. He was also aware of the fact that while his disciples were with him all the time they were not fully dedicated to his mission and did not really learn much from him.
For example, he once told Peter:
Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offense unto me; for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Mt.17:23).
But was Peter the only one about whom Jesus was disappointed?
Jesus was not happy with the dedication to his mission from his disciples. Look at what he told them all:
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow me. (Mt.17:24)
Again he said to them:
O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? (Mt.17:17)
We see the lack of dedication among the disciples when they were given some major responsibilities to undertake. Take for example while Jesus was praying in the garden.
While Jesus was in the garden worshipping Allah, what were the disciples who were with him doing?
Jesus went to worship the Lord in the garden of Gethsemane. He took with him three of the disciples and with a heavy heart, he ordered them to sit and keep watch while he went a little further and prayed as Muslims pray.
When Jesus made his supplications to the Lord, he came back and found the three of them asleep. He was not happy with them and said to them:
What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation. (Mt.26:40-41)
Then he went back again to worship, hoping that his disciples would listen to him and stay alert; but when he was finished and came back; he again found them asleep. He gave up on them and went back and continued to worship Allah. He said to them:
Sleep on now, and take your rest; behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of the sinners. (Mt.26:45)
Was Jesus really betrayed by one of his disciples?
The Qur’an has not mentioned anything about what happened to him, from the time of his preaching, his encounter with the chief priests and scribes, his arrest and trial. All it has mentioned is about the crucifixion.
What we know about the incidents which led to his end or disappearance can be understood from what is contained in the Gospels.
For example, he was identified by Judas, who betrayed him for a fee. Upon his betrayal, he was arrested; one of his disciples resisted his arrest; but Jesus ordered him to put away his sword.
Jesus was disappointed with the way the multitude was behaving against him so he said to them:
Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. (Mt.26:55)
What made the chief priests and scribes angry with Jesus?
Jesus was teaching humility; something the chief priests and scribes did not have. Look at what he taught them:
Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Mt.18:3-4)
Another example of how he dealt with them: They came to him and ask him something. Jesus replied as follows:
Ye have made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying: This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips but their heart is far from me but in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men…..
Then came the disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?
So Jesus was all the time highlighting their evil and telling the multitude how their leaders were evil, and they did not like that at all.
What happened when he was arrested?
First of all, the disciples forsook him and fled.
Then all the disciples forsook him and fled. (Mt.26:56)
He was taken to the high priest, who was with the scribes and the elders.
And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. (Mt.26:57)
Peter followed and sat among the people; and the authorities were trying to find false witnesses to accuse him of treason, so that they can kill him. They found two false witnesses and as a result they began to torture him.
What did Peter do when he saw the people humiliating Jesus?
Peter found himself in trouble, as some of the women identified him as being one from among Jesus disciples. But Peter denied ever knowing Jesus and began to curse, as if he was cursing Jesus.
He said: I do not know the man. …Then began he to curse and swear, saying, I know not the man. Mt.26:74)
When he realised that Jesus had predicted that he will forsake his master, he went out and wept for what he did.
Was Jesus tried for whatever he was accused?
The Bible tells us about his trial as follows:
When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death; and when they bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate, the governor. (Mt.27:1-2)
He was taken before the governor; but he did not answer any of the questions that were posed to him. Instead of condemning him the governor was surprised that Jesus was able to hold his peace in spite of all the accusations that were levelled against him by the high priest and his men.
The governor realised that Jesus was a just person and that he was envied. To add to his own conviction, his wife sent a message to him telling him that he should have nothing to do with the condemnation of Jesus.
When the governor questioned the multitude as to who was the one to be released from prison the chief priest and his men urged the multitude to say Barabas, and not Jesus. The multitude did not want to hear anything about justice, etc. they simply said let him be crucified. Pilate washed his hands off the matter
But he was not tried for anything?
No, the high priest and his men just wanted to get rid of Jesus and the way they selected was to crucify him. So they began torturing him and began making preparation for his crucifixion.
They then proceeded to take him to the place where he was to be crucified. But he was unable to carry the cross, so they forced Simon to take the cross and carry it for Jesus. There is no record in the Bible that Jesus took back the cross.
Also, there is no record that he was kept close to Simon. As a matter of fact, he turned around and began speaking to the ladies who were following him. This is recorded in Luke 23:28, as follows:
Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children….
It because of all the turmoil and confusion, no one knows exactly who was put on the cross.
But there were guards and soldiers, and the high priests, etc. how could they have made a mistake and crucify another person?
There are many Christian sects that believe that Jesus was not crucified. Some of these are:
- The Basilidians, in the very beginning of Christianity denied that Christ himself suffered, but asserted that it was Simon who was crucified.
- The Corinthians also are of the same view.
- The Carpocrations also are of this view.
What does the Qur’an say about his crucifixion?
Allah tells us in the Holy Qur’an, the following:
They (Jews) boastfully say: We killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah. But they killed him not, nor crucified him. But so it appeared to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with not certain knowledge; but only conjecture to follow; for a surety they did not kill him. (4:157)
Why were there some doubts as to who was actually put on the cross?
There were some unusual developments at the time of the crucifixion. These are recorded in the Bible as follows:
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. (Mt.27:45)
Behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose. (Mt.27:51ff.)
But they would have known who was actually crucified, when they would have taken down the body?
The body of the one that was crucified was secretly taken away and buried in a private tomb. We find reference of this in Mathew. It says:
When the even had come, there came a rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus disciple. He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. (Mt. 27:57-61)
Is it true then that no physical body was put in the tomb which was guarded by the high priests?
No body was put in the tomb in which the crucified person was supposed to be put. What Joseph did was to put a stone in front of it as though some one was put inside it.
Although the chief priest and the guards were there when they opened the tomb there was no one in it. So the guards were bribed to stay quiet about the whole matter. Mathew tells us about this in the following verses:
They gave large money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day. (Mt.28:12-15)
No one could have attested to the fact that it was Jesus who was crucified, as there was no evidence that he was put in the tomb, and when they finally went to open it, they found it opened with no one inside of it.
The Qur’an makes it absolutely clear that they did not harm Jesus although they believe they did; and the truth of this matter will one day come to light. Allah says:
They said: We killed the Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of Allah; but they did not kill him; nor did they crucify him; but so it was made to appear to them. And those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no certain knowledge; but only conjecture to follow. For a surety they did not kill him. Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death. (4:157-159)
For us the important thing to keep in mind is what Jesus taught and what he stood for. This, unfortunately is not taken into consideration by many of those who claim to believe in him and love him.