Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"

Trinity, Atonement & Blood Sacrifice XVI : Crucifixion 8


In this segment, Dr. Badawi continues his Bible trivia game in an attempt to cast doubt on the accuracy of the Biblical account of the crucifixion of Jesus.

Host: How do the four Gospels compare with the story of the crucifixion?

Jamal Badawi: There are several

1. Preparation

Mark 15:16-20 said that Jesus was given a purple cloak and thorns on his head and mocked. According to Matthew 27:28-29 he was given a scarlet cloak and a reed was put in his hand. Luke 23:11 said that Jesus was mocked by Herod's soldiers, not Pilate's. John agrees with Mark that the cloak was purple.

Please remember that these accounts were written based on the testimonies of eyewitnesses. What one person might call purple could be called scarlet by another - they are very similar in appearance. Also, several other factors could explain the difference between purple and scarlet. It depends on the time of day (and therefore the amount of sunlight) which the witnesses saw the cloak, whether the cloak was seen in indoor or outdoor lighting, or the amount of blood and perspiration which covered the cloak.

2. Who carried the cross?

Mark 16:21, Matthew 27:32, and Luke 23:26 say that Simon carried it. John 19:17 said that Jesus carried the cross. Luke is a little different saying that many people followed Jesus.

Simon carried the cross. The apparent contradiction between John 19:17 and Mark, Luke and Matthew is solved when we recall that the word "cross" is used in the Bible with different meanings and does not necessarily refer to the wooden cross on which Jesus was crucified. In Mark, Matthew, and Luke, the cross refers to the wooden beam which Simon of Cyrene carried and on which Jesus was crucified. However, "cross" is also a term which Jesus used to refer to a task or burden. For example, Jesus said to his disciples that everyone must take "his cross" and that only then could he be his disciples (see. Matthew 10:38 and 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23 and 14:27). Jesus fulfilled this requirement when he finished the work which the Father had given Him and obedient even unto the death on the cross.

3. What was given to Jesus before crucifixion?

According to Mark 15:23, he was given wine and myrrh but he refused it. According to Matthew 27:34 he was given wine and gall and he tasted it. Luke and John say nothing.

Is there a difference between myrrh and gall? The word "gall" is a general term for anything that is bitter and myrrh (a natural gum resin) is a bitter substance. The Greek word used by Matthew is this passage is chole.

Why did Matthew use the general term chole instead of the more specific "myrrh"? Perhaps Matthew did not want to use the term myrrh in this case because he used the word in Matthew 2:11 to refer to a gift given to the baby Jesus? In any case, this is not a contradictory account.

4. What was the reaction of the two robbers?

Mark and Matthew said they both reviled Jesus. Luke says that only one of the robbers reviled Jesus while the other rebuked the other robber. John says two others were crucified with Jesus.

Once again, various witnesses see different events. Both robbers reviled Jesus in the beginning. As the day progressed, one of the robbers repented while the other did not.

5. What was the cry of Jesus on the cross?

Mark said the he said eloi and after that he made a cry and died. Matthew said eli eli, followed by a cry and he died. Both say that the crowd thought that he was calling on Elijah. Luke and John are different. Luke 23:46 says that Jesus said Into thy hands I commend my spirit. John says he said it is finished.

The four Gospels record what the authors heard and Jesus said all of these statements at different times. Jesus probably first said the words recorded in Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 ("My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?") and then followed with what is recorded in John 19:26-28 ("Dear woman, here is your son," "Here is your mother" , and "I am thirsty."). After that, Jesus let out a loud cry (John 19:30, Matthew 27:50 and Mark 15:37). When Jesus knew that everything had been accomplished and all was fulfilled, he spoke His last words in Luke 23:46 ("Father, into your hands I commit my spirit").

6. The inscription

Mark said the King of the Jews, Matthew says this is Jesus, King of the Jews, Luke say this is the King of the Jews, John says it said Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.

The main charge against Jesus in all four of the Gospels is that he claimed to be the 'King of the Jews', there is no contradiction of this fact. The difference in wording can be explained John 19:20:

"Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek."

Pontius Pilate had the sign written and the different wordings in each of the languages probably varied according to Pilate's proficiency in each of the languages.

7. The events following the death of Jesus

Mark says the curtain in the Temple was torn, Matthew adds the earth shook, rocks were split and graves were opened and some Saints came out. Luke also speaks about the curtain and adds that there was darkness on the whole land. John doesn't say much about this.

Once again, there are no contradictions between these accounts, each is describing what he saw. I believe that all of these events took place, just as the writers of the Gospels record them.

Host: Are the any other observations?

Jamal Badawi: Mark 22:39-46 tells us that when Jesus was praying, an angel appeared to him to strengthen him. If Jesus is God, why should God need strength from anyone? If God is the source of strength, he wouldn't need it. We cannot say that Jesus in his human form needed this because he is full man and full God at the same time. Another question is that the Gospels tell us that Jesus knew that he would be killed for the sake of mankind. Why was Jesus stressed and pray to God to save him? The Church doctrine according to Paul was that Jesus was to come to earth and die for the sins of mankind. We know from the Bible and Qur'an that Abraham was willing to offer his son and Jesus cannot be less in faith then Abraham.

Jesus was fully man and fully God. The weight of all of the sins of humankind was about to be placed on His pure body. I cannot imagine what Jesus suffered, so I cannot fault Him for asking the Father for strength. Jesus obeyed God the Father and went to His death. Yet again, Dr. Badawi attempts to place restrictive definitions on God.

Another issue is the escape of all of the disciples except Peter who followed far away. This is unlikely, the disciples were special people who sacrificed to follow Jesus and they have a minimum of faith and courage. Many early Christians were tortured and killed, how could his disciples leave him, they were not accused of any crime. How was it possible for Peter to cut off the ear of the servant in front of the soldiers and then not be arrested for assault by the soldiers. After all of this, he ran away and denied Jesus. If the disciples believed that Jesus was divine, would they be intimidated? If they expected Jesus to be killed, why did they panic? The conclusion is that it is very unlikely and one wonders why this was written.

The Apostles were only human. They saw the sheer might of the Roman Empire arrayed against them, as well as the authority of the leaders of the Temple. In spite of all of the wonderful things that they heard from Jesus and all of the miracles that they witnessed, they remained fragile humans.

Host: Why is this such a problem?

Jamal Badawi: If we say that all of the disciples ran away it means that they were not witnesses of what happened to Jesus, removing the most authentic source. There would also be problems with the authenticity of the stories of resurrection. The disciples were sincere followers and they knew him best. To drop all of them in this crucial event, all of the sources have come to us through people who were not eyewitnesses. We have a number of women and acquaintances who watched from a distance. If they were at a distance, how did they know who was killed? Mark 15, he does not mention anyone who saw the crucifixion but said that many women were looking from afar. Matthew 27:55 there were many women looking from afar, nothing about the disciples, Luke said that Jesus was followed by multitudes but no mention of the disciples. According to John 19:25, John said that Mary was standing by the cross, the only place where she was mentioned. Even in John, his mother disappears she should be first told about the resurrection.

Who said there were no eyewitnesses? According to John 19:26-27, John was at the base of the cross! How much closer can someone get than that? Also, Mary the Mother of Jesus was at the foot of the cross and I am sure that she knew who her Son was!

Host: What does the drawing of two crosses (on a diagram) indicate?

Jamal Badawi: John describes the breaking of the legs of Jesus. John said that the bodies could not remain on the cross. John 19:51-57, says that the Jews asked Pilate to break the legs be broken. When they came to Jesus, they found him dead. The way of breaking the legs was very strange because it says that these two were crucified on both sides of Jesus. The went to the first robber, by passed Jesus, and returned to the middle to break the legs of Jesus. That is a strange way to do it.

This is hardly an issue at all! Perhaps the crosses were arranged in a triangular pattern with Jesus at the point, therefore the two robbers were closer to each other.

Andrew Vargo

Responses to Jamal Badawi's "Radio Al-Islam Channel RA 200"
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