Did Jesus Really Die? – Objections and Answers

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How much would it have cost to bribe the Centurion and get Jesus down off the cross still alive?

The Centurions’ life – unless the conspiracy went right up to Pilate himself (cf. Mt. 28:12-5).

A Centurion was the equivalent of a Major, and the amount of money to buy his complicity would not have been excessive. Rome did not pay its soldiers well. He had little chance of promotion and would have wanted money for his retirement.

A soldier’s pay, though not massive, was adequate. But one of the chief perks for a soldier was a guaranteed pension on retirement, plus the highly sought-after prize of Roman citizenship. If he’d done as you suggest, he wouldn’t have a retirement. As already noted, the penalty for such a failure to carry out orders was death.

Only if he got caught and obviously he didn’t. Corruption was no less common then than now. It had been done before, and I see no reason why it was not done again….

And how could he hope to avoid someone making enquiries as to what had become of the body?

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Maybe the release of the fluids by the spear saved his life rather than ended it.

Death by crucifixion usually took several days. To accelerate death they broke the legs of the victim who then drowned due to fluid build-up in the lungs. But Jesus did not have his legs broken while the two others crucified with him did; and the release of fluids by the spear may have saved his life rather than ended it.

The primary effect of leg-breaking was not to encourage fluid build-up but because, with all the weight on the arms, it then became very difficult to breathe. (There were other ‘useful’ side- effects too: internal bleeding helped accelerate the onset of clinical shock, etc.) However, the account records that they found that he was already dead (so, presumably not breathing and therefore no point breaking his legs); but they wanted to make quite certain (this being a politically sensitive case) so used a spear instead.

There may well have been a fluid build-up: but sticking a spear in his lung would scarcely have been beneficial.

There was an observed fluid release by the spear; its effect would depend on how far it penetrated.

Do you mean to say that these professional Roman soldiers, who faced the death penalty themselves if they failed to carry out their orders, and were doing this in order to make sure that he was dead, only stuck the very tip of the spear in? Just for the record, here’s the Strong’s definition of the word used:

“3572 nusso {noos’-so} apparently a primary word; v AV – pierce 1; 1
1) pierce
2) to pierce through, transfix
2a) often of severe or even deadly wounds given one”

Also, the reference later to the wound as being the size of a man’s hand (Jn 20:25-7) rather gives the lie to this particular theory.

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If Jesus secretly went to France after 40 days, as the Albignesians claimed, the only records would be in France. That is why the church had to destroy them.

This is just a popular example of a hackneyed and improbable conspiracy theory, taking us back to the ‘Jesus tricked the disciples’ argument…

  • The first problem with this theory is the conflict between the character of Jesus, as revealed in his teaching and conduct, and what would have been his cynical exploitation of his own disciples.
  • The second is the problem of his actual death on the cross. The evidence is there; all sources, Christian, Jewish and Roman, are agreed on this point.
  • The third problem is motive. Why would Jesus bother to start a new religion in his name, at the cost of excruciating pain to himself, if all he really wanted to do was retire secretly to France and have a family? If only the Jewish leaders had known, they’d have happily paid his fare!
  • Finally, like all such conspiracy theories, it suffers from a glaring lack of contemporary evidence, in sharp contrast to the actual evidence we are considering. All the supposed sources cited in support of it can be shown to date from many centuries after the time of Christ; and even then, the so-called ‘evidence’ is mostly pure conjecture. Even the supposed teaching of the Albignesians is speculative. It is entirely possible that the persecution against them was politically motivated, as they defied the authority of Rome.

It is theories such as these that should be dismissed as mere legends: not the gospel accounts!

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