Jesus is No Myth

Dedicated to promoting the idea that the Biblical Jesus Christ was a historical character.

  Who moved the stone?

If the women could not move it,

the disciples dared not move it,

the Jewish rulers would not move it,


the Romans were there to prevent

anyone moving it

then who moved the stone?


This is what happened during the Passover celebration that the Jews observed when Caiaphas was high priest, Herod was king of Judaea, and Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor. 

Slide 2

The importance of the Resurrection cannot be overstated. It is the foundation of Christianity. As the Apostle Paul said, "...if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins."  I Corinthians 15:17. 

The Importance of the Resurrection. I Cor. 15:16-19. Slide 3

Paul wrote if his first letter to the Corinthians,

16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;

17 and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

19 If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. I Cor. 15:16-19. NASB

But Jesus did rise from the dead and that was foreshadowed by the “sign of the prophet Johah.”

Matthew wrote in his gospel,

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”

39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet;

40 for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matt. 12:38-40. 

Slide 3

We will look first at these topics.

 Slide 4

The Health of Jesus  (Slide 5)

No Major Illnesses

A Strong Constitution

Emotional Stress of Gethsemane

Health of Jesus 

The rigors of Jesus' ministry (that is, traveling by foot throughout Palestine) would have precluded any major physical illness or a weak general constitution. Accordingly, it is reasonable to assume that Jesus was in good physical condition before his walk to Gethsemane. However, during the 12 hours between 9 PM Thursday and 9 AM Friday, he had suffered great emotional stress (as evidenced by hematidrosis), abandonment by his closest friends (the disciples), and a physical beating (after the first Jewish trial). Also, in the setting of a traumatic and sleepless night, he had been forced to walk more than 2.5 miles (4.0 km.) to and from the sites of various trials (Fig. 1). These physical and emotional factors may have rendered Jesus particularly vulnerable to the adverse hemodynamic effects of scourging. 

  Slide 5


They scourged Jesus with a flagrum. This weakened Him.

Scourging, or flogging, was a legal preliminary to a Roman execution. Usually, two soldiers performed the scourging, using a short whip called a flagrum, or a flagellum. It was a whip with several single, or braided leather thongs of different lengths. Small iron balls, or sharp pieces of sheep bones were tied in the thongs.

Luke wrote,

13 And Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people,  14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. 15 “No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. 16 “I will therefore punish Him and release Him.”  Luke 23:13-16.

John wrote,

19:1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him.  2 And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and arrayed Him in a purple robe;  3 and they began to come up to Him, and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him blows in the face.  John 19:1-3.

 Matthew wrote,

24 And when Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” 25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children!”  26 Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified.  27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman cohort around Him.  28 And they stripped Him, and put a scarlet robe on Him.  29 And after weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand; and they kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”  30 And they spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. 31 And after they had mocked Him, they took His robe off and put His garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.    Matt. 27:24-31.

 Slide 6


The victim was stripped of his clothing. His hands were tied to an upright post. The back, buttocks, and legs were flogged to weaken the victim to a state just short of collapse and death.

 lashes limited to 39 by Jewish law

intended to weaken the victim

injury: contusions, deep cuts, skeletal muscles torn

pain, and blood loss cause circulatory shock

survival on cross depended on blood loss

 Slide 7


The Cross (Slide 8)

Crucifixion probably first began among the Persians." Alexander the Great introduced the practice to Egypt and Carthage, and the Romans appear to have learned of it from the Carthaginians.

'Although the Romans did not invent crucifixion, they perfected it as a form of torture and capital punishment that was designed to produce a slow death with maximum pain and suffering. 

It was one of the most disgraceful and cruel methods of execution and usually was reserved only for slaves, foreigners, revolutionaries, and the vilest of criminals. Roman law usually protected Roman citizens from crucifixion, except perhaps in the case of desertion by soldiers.

The cross consisted of several parts: The stipes, the patibulum, a sedile (or sedulum) [a seat to prolong the crucifixion] and a suppedaneum (a  block for transfixion of the feet).

 Slide 8


In its earliest form in Persia, the victim was either tied to a tree or was tied to or impaled on an upright post, usually to keep the guilty victim's feet from touching holy ground. Only later was a true cross used; there were several variations (Table)." Although archaeological and historical evidence strongly indicates that the low Tau cross was preferred by the Romans in Palestine at the time of Christ (Fig 3), crucifixion practices often varied in a given geographic region and in accordance with the imagination of the executioners, and the Latin cross and other forms also may have been used.

 The processional to the site of crucifixion was led by a complete Roman military guard, headed by a centurion. One of the soldiers carried a sign (titulus) on which the condemned man's name and crime were displayed (Fig 3)." Later, the titulus would be attached to the top of the cross.

 Slide 9


Jesus carried His own cross. (Slide 10)

 Patibulum and victim lifted to top of stipes, feet nailed

survival usually 3 to 4 hours

death hastened by breaking of legs

 John wrote,

17 They took Jesus therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.  18 There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. John 19:17-18.

 It was customary for the condemned man to carry his own cross from the flogging post to the site of crucifixion outside the city walls. He was usually naked, unless this was prohibited by local customs. Usually, the outstretched arms then were tied to the crossbar or patibulum.

 26 And when they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. Luke 23:26.

 32 And as they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross. Matt. 27:32.

 The weight of an entire cross exceeded 300 lb.; therefore, in almost all cases the one who was crucified carried only the crossbar, called a patibulum. But the patibulum, alone, would have weighed 75 lb. to 125 lb. It was placed across the nape of the victim's neck, and balanced along the shoulders.

 That Jesus had suffered greatly under the flogging may be inferred from his inability to bear the crossbar all the way to the place of crucifixion.  John 19:17; Matt 27:32. 

 Slide 10


The Method (Slide 11)

 33 And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, 34 they gave Him wine to drink mingled with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink. 35 And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots; 36 and sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there. 37 And they put up above His head the charge against Him which read, “THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”  Matt. 27:33-37.

 At the site of execution, by law the victim was given a bitter drink of wine mixed with myrrh (gall) as a mild analgesic. The criminal was then thrown to the ground on his back,  with  his arms outstretched along the patibulum. The  hands could be nailed or tied to the crossbar, but nailing apparently was preferred by the Romans.

 The archaeological remains of a crucified body, found in an ossuary near Jerusalem and dating from the time of Christ, indicate that the nails were tapered iron spikes approximately 5 to 7 in (13 to 18 cm) long with a square shaft 3/8 in. (1 cm. ) across.

 Furthermore, ossuary findings and the Shroud of Turin have documented that the nails commonly were driven through the wrists rather than the palms. [The wrist was regarded as part of the hand in biblical times.]

 After both arms were fixed to the crossbar, the patibulum and the victim, together, were lifted onto the stipes. On the low cross, four soldiers could accomplish this relatively easily. However, on the tall cross, the soldiers used either wooden forks or ladders.

 Next, the feet were fixed to the cross, either by nails or ropes. Ossuary findings and the Shroud of Turin suggest that nailing was the preferred Roman practice. Although the feet could be fixed to the sides of the stipes or to a wooden footrest (suppedaneum), they usually were nailed directly to the front of the stipes (Fig 5). To accomplish this, flexion of the knees may have been quite prominent, and the bent legs may have been rotated laterally.

 When the nailing was completed, the titulus was attached to the cross, by nails or cords, just above the victim's head.

 The soldiers and the civilian crowd often taunted and jeered the condemned man, and the soldiers customarily divided up his clothes among themselves. The length of survival generally ranged from three or four hours to three or four days and appears to have been inversely related to the severity of the scourging.  However, even if the scourging had been relatively mild, the Roman soldiers could hasten death by breaking the legs below the knees (crurifragium or skelokopia). Not uncommonly, insects would light upon or burrow into the open wounds or the eyes, ears, and nose of the dying and helpless victim, and birds of prey would tear at these sites.

 Moreover, it was customary to leave the corpse on the cross to be devoured by predatory animals. However, by Roman law, the family of the condemned could take the body for burial, after obtaining permission from the Roman judge.

 Since no one was intended to survive crucifixion, the body was not released to the family until the soldiers were sure that the victim was dead. By custom, one of the Roman guards would pierce the body with a sword or lance. Traditionally, this had been considered a spear wound to the heart through the right side of the chest--a fatal wound probably taught to most Roman soldiers. The Shroud of Turin documents this form of injury. Moreover, the standard infantry spear, which was 5 to 6 ft (1.5 to 1.8 m) long,  could easily have reached the chest of a man crucified on the customary low cross.

 Slide 11


The Intent  (Slide 12)

Design: slow death, maximum pain, suffering

regard: disgrace, cruel

Persian method: tied to tree, impaled on post

types of cross: X, Tau, and Latin (traditional)

condemned carried his own cross

Roman: led to site by guard, with centurion

Stipes located permanently at  the site

victim given bitter drink by law

wrists nailed to cross bar first

Patibulum and victim lifted to top of stipes, feet nailed

survival usually 3 to 4 hours

death hastened by breaking of legs

  Christ suffered the disgrace and the cruelty of the cross for us. As Paul wrote to the Galatians,

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” —  14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.  Gal. 3:13-14.

 Slide 12


Death on the Cross  (Slide 13)

The Roman guard would not leave the victim until they were sure of his death.

1)  Pilate asked the centurion to verify that Jesus was dead.

Mark wrote,

44  Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. 45  So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.  Mark 15:44-45.

2)  The soldiers did not break Jesus' legs because they saw that He was already dead.

John wrote,

 31  Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32  Then the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and of the other who was crucified with Him. 33  But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs.  John 19:31-33.

3)  A soldier pierced His side with a spear.

John went on to say,

34  But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.  John 19:34.  

The Greek word used by John, pleura, meaning "side" clearly tells where the spear entered the body of Jesus.

4)  Blood and water issued from the wound—indicating a rupture of the heart.

Medical doctors believe the water was pleural and pericardial fluid which preceded the flow of blood. The accumulation of such fluid could easily result from cardiac rupture. The weight of medical evidence indicates that Jesus died before the thrust of the spear into his side.

5)  The disciples saw Him crucified.

6)  The women, who knew Him well, saw Him crucified.

John wrote,

25  Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. John 19:25.

 Luke said,

49  But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.  Luke 23:49.

 In verse 46 Luke says "He breathed His last." And the acquaintances and women witnessed it.

7)  His enemies believed He was dead.

Matthew wrote,

62  On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63  saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise.'  Matt 27:62-63.

 The death of Jesus Christ upon the cross is certain. He died in the full physical sense of the word. Every witness confirms it, including His enemies.

JAMA, Mar 21, 1986, p1463.

 Slide 13


 Slide 14


The Tomb

Owned by Joseph of Arimathea: in fulfillment of the prophecy.

Joseph and Nicodemus prepared the body: using the spices myrrh and aloes. They wrapped the body according to Jewish custom.

The women saw where Jesus was buried. Therefore, the tomb did not get lost.

It was a new tomb; therefore, the body of Jesus could not be confused with another.

The tomb was hewn out of rock; no one could tunnel in from the back.

 Slide 15


 The Burial

We know more about the burial of Jesus than any other  character in ancient history. We know:

who took the body down from the cross: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus.

that the body was wrapped -- with spices: Myrrh and aloes.

that there were burial clothes: Joseph and Nicodemus wrapped the body of Jesus.

how the tomb was made: It was hewn out of a rock.

about the man who owned it: Joseph was a rich man and a member of the Great Sanhedrin.

where the tomb was located: It was located near the location of the crucifixion.

 Slide 16


The Seal

The seal was simply a cord stretched across the stone to ensure that the tomb had not been opened.

The cord was sealed on the ends.

It was a Roman Seal.

The tomb was sealed under Roman supervision.

The Romans sealed the tomb to prevent vandals from entering.

It was a legal seal. 

The seal was a mode of authentication.

The Guard

Pilate said, “echete koustodian” which translated means: “you have a guard.”

It was a guard of Roman soldiers.

A “guard” consisted of from 4 to 30 soldiers, probably 8,  for two watches.

The guard was commanded by a centurion.

The Guard

The guard of soldiers held their post from Friday until Sunday.

They were put there to prevent theft of the body.

This would also prevent a false report of a resurrection

The Disciples

They were fearful.

They all “left Him and fled.”

Peter denied Him.

They did not believe when the women brought word of the empty tomb.

Post Resurrection Appearances

Mary Magdalene. Mark 16:9.

Two women returning from the tomb. Matthew 28:8-10.

Post Resurrection Appearances

Two disciples on the road to Emmaus, which was about seven miles

from Jerusalem. One disciple was named Cleopas. These disciples

reported the event to the Eleven, but the Eleven did not believe

them. Luke 24:13.

• Ten of the Apostles. Thomas not present. John 20:24.

• Thomas. John 20:26-29.

• The Eleven Apostles as they reclined at table. Judas Iscariot had

departed. Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36.

• The disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. John 21:1.

• To more than 500 brethren at one time. I Cor. 15:6.

• To Saul of Tarsus. I Cor. 15:6-8 .

Note these facts:

It was not one who saw Him after His resurrection, but many.

They saw Him separately; they saw Him while they were together.

He was not obscured by darkness, but He appeared in daylight.

He was not distant,  but near.

He appeared not once,  but repeatedly.

The witnesses not only saw Him, but they touched Him, talked with Him, ate with Him and examined His person.

The facts are decisive. The conclusion is unavoidable. Jesus died on the cross in the full physical sense of the word. They buried him in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, and on the First Day of the week following He rose from the dead.