You preach everywhere regarding the means of Jesus’ death, but my Muslim friend said to me: “They are spreading lies which will lead them in Hell.”  That would include you. What should be our response?


Your Muslim friend is claiming that when we Christians teach that Jesus died on a cross in Jerusalem, we are lying.  Muhammad stated in the Qur’an that Jesus did NOT die on a cross.  For your information, one passage in the Qur’an which states this is Sura 4:157.  There it says that “they killed him not, nor crucified him.”  If Muhammad is right, then your friend is also right. If Muhammad is right, then the entire message of Christianity, which is based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is untrue, and Christianity is a fraudulent religion.  However, if Muhammad is wrong, and if Jesus was killed by crucifixion, then your friend is wrong, and what he/she says is simply not true.
So, here is the question:  Is it true that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified in Jerusalem by the Romans, at the behest of the Jews?  The simple answer is this:  Jesus certainly was crucified in Jerusalem by the Romans.  In fact, this is one of the most strongly verified truths about the ancient world.  A number of non-Christian authors from the late first century or very early second century confirm the fact of how Jesus died.  This includes the Jewish historian Josephus, as well as the Roman historian Tacitus. Both of them stated clearly and without any possibility of confusion that Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem under Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor.  Also, John the close friend of Jesus, as well as the historian Luke, and the apostle Matthew, as well as the close confidante of Peter, Mark.  All told us the place, the date, and the means by which Jesus was killed, and all agree. There is no voice from the first century which says anything different.  In fact, the entire Christian church, from the day of its birth, declared that Jesus was not only crucified by the Romans in Jerusalem, but also that he was raised from the dead in the third day.  There is not the slightest shred of evidence from any source, Christian or non-Christian which says anything different than the clear and well-established fact that Jesus was crucified by the Romans on the eve of the Passover, most likely in AD 30, or possibly in AD 29.  We can debate his resurrection, but it is sheer foolishness to declare that Jesus was “not killed, nor crucified.”
Then, nearly six hundred years later, along comes an Arab military and religious leader, who knew virtually nothing of the history of Rome or of the Christian church, and he told his followers that Jesus was not crucified.  Let me ask you this: Who is more likely to know how Jesus died, his own mother, his brother James, and his best friends, such as John and Peter, and well-trained historians such as Josephus who lived in Palestine in the first century, or an Arab tribesman, living one thousand miles away, nearly six hundred years after the event?  Muhammad is quite simply wrong.  Muslims can say what they will, and they can believe what they will, but it is a FACT that Jesus of Nazareth was executed by crucifixion, at the request of the Jewish leaders, under the authority of the Romans.  This being the case, then your friend is 100% absolutely and certainly wrong.  In fact, quite the contrary is the case.  Those who have heard about Jesus, and who deny him are condemned already to hell.  Unless your friend is willing to change his/her mind and come to God through Jesus, he/she is the one who is condemned to hell, not you.  You can be very confident of this conclusion and please do not be intimidated by your friend’s rhetoric.
John Oakes

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