Christianity without the resurrection of Christ

What would Christianity be without the resurrection of Christ? The Gospel narratives about the crucifixion and resurrection raise doubts about the death of Jesus on the cross.

Apostle Paul said, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” (1 Corinthians 15:17)
Thus, it was Paul who proclaimed the central doctrine of Christianity and the
celebration of Easter is the remembrance of what Christianity stands upon. But what if there was no resurrection? Would Christianity truly be without any purpose?
For many years now, the crucifixion, Christ’s death, and resurrection have been enveloped in mystery as scholars have debated upon this event in history. There is no doubt that there are many pieces of this puzzle which are missing. Jesus has been an important part of the three Abrahamic religions. While the Jews rejected Jesus as the awaited Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, the Muslims have believed in him and accepted him as a prophet sent by God. But nothing has created more controversy among these three faiths than the crucifixion of Jesus.
The Gospels tell us that Jesus was crucified under the Roman authority.
But it was the Jewish chief priests and the elders who handed him over to the Romans. The Gospel of Mark narrates, “As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.” (Mark, 15:1) When Pilate offered to release Jesus in lieu of another prisoner, the chief priests instigated the crowd and they all said ‘no’ to an exchange. When Pilate asked them what they wanted to do with Jesus, they all shouted in unison, ‘Crucify him!’
Gospel narratives go on to describe how Jesus was placed on a cross as a common criminal for a crime which was not made clear. Even Pilate was not willing to punish this man who, in his eyes, did not commit any crime.
When Jesus was finally put on the cross, he remained there for only three hours unlike the other criminals who were also crucified. Although the Gospel narratives mention that Jesus was tortured before he was placed on the cross it is questionable that a rather young man as him could succumb to the tortures so easily. Furthermore, when the soldiers came to see whether Jesus was dead,
they confirmed and did not break his legs while the legs of the two other criminals were broken. They also pierced his side and saw that blood and water gushed out. (John; 19:32-34) The Gospel of John narrates that Joseph of Aramithea who was a secret disciple of Jesus asked Pilate for his body. He was accompanied by Nicodemus, another secret disciple, who brought a mixture of myrrh and aloe which weighed hundred pounds. The two men took Jesus to a newly hewn burial cave where they applied the ointment and wrapped him up in a linen cloth (John; 38-40).
These events- a short time on the cross, not breaking the bones, blood gushing from an apparent dead person, and the application of hundred pounds of myrrh and aloe- raise the question, “Did Jesus actually die on the cross?”
The Quran is unequivocal that Jesus did not die on the cross. It says, “And their saying, ‘We did kill the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of God;’ whereas they slew him not, nor crucified him, but he was made to appear to them like one crucified; and those who differ therein are certainly in a state of doubt about it; they have no definite knowledge thereof, but only follow a conjecture;” (4:158) 
In the above Quranic verse the phrase “nor crucified him” does not mean that Jesus was not put on the cross but rather that his death was not brought about by the method of crucifixion. All Muslims believe that Jesus did not die on the cross. However, even among the Muslims there is disagreement as to the explanation of his survival from the cross. Some say that he was not the one who was put on the cross and instead a different person was made to look like him and that Jesus ascended to heaven in his body.
It was the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who claimed that Jesus was put on the cross, became unconscious, was taken down from the cross alive, healed in the burial cave in three days, and traveled to Kashmir, India where he completed his mission of preaching to the lost tribes of Israel until his death at age 120. In his book, “Jesus in India”, Ahmad used documents from various sources to conclude that Jesus had to have survived the crucifixion in order to complete his mission.

Christians need not be worried about their salvation if Christ did not rise. In fact, if they accept the truth about his survival they will become more acceptable of the followers of other faiths. Evangelists would not feel compelled to deliver the Good News to ensure salvation of all of mankind.


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