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for all. The belief that Jesus was crucified raises a number of unavoidable inquiries. Some of these may be presented here 1. Does the crucifixion of Jesus as conceived by the Christian churches befit the Justice, the Mercy, the Power, and the Wisdom of God? 2. Is it just on God’ s part, or anybody’ s part for that matter, to make someone repent for the sins or wrongs of others, the sins to which the repenter is no party? 3. Is it consistent with God’ s Mercy and Wisdom to believe that Jesus was humiliated and murdered the way he is said to have been? 4. Is it a fulfillment of God’ s promise ( to defend His allies and protect His beloved ones) that Jesus was so deserted that he became an easy prey to God’ s enemies? Is this to be taken as a way of fulfilling one’ s obligations or as a precedence in honoring one’ s word? 5. Is it justifiable and proper to believe that God, the Most Forgiving, was unable to forgive Adam and his children for the Original Sin, and that He held them in suspense or bewilderment until Jesus came to make the atonement with his own blood? 6. Does the belief of crucifixion and blood sacrifice appear in any religion apart from the pagan creeds of the early Greeks, Romans, Indians, Persians, and the like? 7. Is there any parallel to Jesus in human history besides the fictitious figures of Bacchus, Apollo, Adonis, Horus and other Virgin-born gods? 8. Does it not give new insight to compare the words attributed to Jesus with those of Bacchus, who said that he was the Alpha and Omega of the world, and had came to redeem humanity by his blood? Could the similarity of these words to those ascribed to Jesus in later years stimulate a new zeal to search for the whole truth of the matter? 9. What did the Roman authorities have against Jesus? He was no threat to their control. In fact he did many favors for their leading personalities and their households. He taught his followers to render unto Caesar what belonged to Caesar and unto God what belonged to God. He was a peaceful preacher and a great help to the Roman authorities in keeping law and order in the land. Why then would they crucify him and lose such a good law-abiding citizen and supporter? 10. How much is known about the character of the Roman Governor, Pilate? Was he on good terms with the contemporary Jews who appealed to Rome against him? Was his rule in Judaea not expressive of his hatred and contempt of them? Was he not vulnerable to bribes? Why then would he hasten to do their will or implement their order? Why would he not accept the bribe of a rich admirer of Jesus such as Joseph of Armathaea? This Joseph, according to Luke, was wealthy and very interested in Jesus, and was a counselor who did not consent to the counsel in the decision to refer Jesus for crucifixion. Could he not have tried, even by bribing the corruptible governor, to save Jesus from crucifixion after he had failed to do so in the council chamber? 11. How many disciples did actually witness the alleged crucifixion of Jesus, and what were their reactions? Can it be true what Matthew says (26:56) that all the disciples forsook Him and fled? Is this the criterion of the integrity and character of such great disciples of a great teacher? Only the beloved John is reported to have been present at the scene. But how long was he present and how long did it take the condemmed person to die on the cross in those days? According to some reliable historical sources (see the article on the Cross, The Chambers’ Encyclopedia, 1950), it usually took a few days for the condemned to die on the cross. But why was it only a few hours, not the usual few days, in the case of Jesus? And why did he “ die” on the cross while his two other companions survived him? What about the darkness which overshadowed all the land for three hours of the crucifixion period (Matthew, 27:45; Mark, 15:33; Luke, 23:44); Could a replacement or substitution have taken place on the cross under the purple robe during that period of darkness and confusion? 12. How familiar with Jesus were those Roman soldiers who came to take him to cross? How certain were they that it was the right person they took to the scene? Did they really recognize him when they went to arrest him? Did they have any particular interest or urge to identify Jesus at that time when public festivities were taking place

Islam in Focus  

By HAMMUDAH ABDALATI Table of Contents Chapter - II