BELIEF: The Crucifixion
When we read bible, we find many signs in it that prove that Jesus (as) did not die on the cross, but was saved from that ordeal with the help of Allah.
“Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” Jesus answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (The Holy Bible, Matthew Chapter 12)
Christians attribute many types of signs for Jesus (as). For example they say Jesus (as) gave life to the dead persons, cured many disease of peoples, walked on water etc. However when a group of his opponents came towards his for witnessing any sign and stated their objective in a very polite way Jesus (as) told them that those wicked and adulterous people, who were demanding a sing from him, shall be given only one sign, the 'sign of the Prophet Jonah'. Then he (as) further told them that just like Jonah lived in the belly of huge fish for three days and night, so the Son of Man shall spend three days and nights in the heart of earth.
We read in the bible a very clear description of the sign of the Jonah prophet. A short description is cited from Wikipedia:
“Jonah is also the central character in the Book of Jonah. Ordered by God to go to the city of Nineveh to prophesy against it "for their great wickedness is come up before me," Jonah seeks instead to flee from "the presence of the Lord" by going to Jaffa and sailing to Tarshish, which, geographically, is in the opposite direction. A huge storm arises and the sailors, realizing this is no ordinary storm, cast lots and learn that Jonah is to blame. Jonah admits this and states that if he is thrown overboard the storm will cease. The sailors try to dump as much cargo as possible before giving up, but feel forced to throw him overboard, at which point the sea calms. The inspired sailors then offer sacrifices to God. Jonah is miraculously saved by being swallowed by a large fish specially prepared by God where he spends three days and three nights. In chapter two, while in the great fish, Jonah prays to God in his affliction and commits to thanksgiving and to paying what he has vowed. God commands the fish to vomit Jonah out. The first time Jonah prays in the book is in the fish which is also the first time Jonah rejoices.” (wikipedia)
We learn from above incident that God almighty saved the Jonah, against almost impossible odds. First he survived a sea-storm, then even when he was thrown into the sea he was not drowned, but instead was swallowed by a large fish, then whilst within the fish instead of dying he somehow survived. Had the fish vomited him out in the sea he would have drowned, but instead he was vomited back onto the shore and despite his weakness still somehow survived and this miracle is recorded in the Bible.
So, when Jesus (as) said that such a sign would be shown to wicked people, how and when was this prophecy fulfilled? A time came when Jesus' life was threatened. A case was filed against him and the judge Pontius Pilate order the crucifixion of the Jesus (as). Like Jonah (as) Jesus was in danger of losing his life. But as foretold earlie God utilized an intricate scheme to save him (as) from the death thus fulfilling the prophecy.
Accounts of the crucifixion
The earliest detailed historical narrative accounts of the death of Jesus are contained in the gospels. There are other more implicit references in the New Testament epistles. In the gospels, Jesus predicts his death in three separate episodes.
According to all four gospels, Jesus, carrying his cross, was brought to the "Place of a Skull" and crucified with two thieves, with the charge of claiming to be "King of the Jews", and the soldiers divided his clothes before he bowed his head and died. Following his death, Joseph of Arimathea requested the body from Pilate, which he then placed in a new garden tomb.
The gospels also describe Simon of Cyrene bearing the cross, the multitude mocking Jesus along with the thieves/robbers/rebels, darkness from the 6th to the 9th hour, and the temple veil being torn from top to bottom. The synoptic also mention several witnesses, including a centurion, and several women who watched from a distance two of whom were present during the burial.
Luke is the only gospel writer to omit the detail of sour wine mix that was offered to Jesus on a reed, while only Mark and John describe Joseph actually taking the body down off the cross.
There are several details that are only found in one of the gospel accounts. For instance, only Matthew's gospel mentions an earthquake, resurrected saints who went to the city and that Roman soldiers were assigned to guard the tomb, while Mark is the only one to state the actual time of the crucifixion (the third hour, or 9 am) and the centurion's report of Jesus' death. The Gospel of Luke’s unique contributions to the narrative include Jesus' words to the women who were mourning, one criminal's rebuke of the other, and the reaction of the multitudes who left "beating their breasts", and the women preparing spices and ointments before resting on the Sabbath. John is also the only one to refer to the request that the legs be broken and the soldier’s subsequent piercing of Jesus' side (as fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy), as well as that Nicodemus assisted Joseph with burial.
According to Gospels, Jesus rose from the dead after three days and appeared to his Disciples on different occasions during a forty day period before ascending to heaven. The account given in Acts of the Apostles, which says Jesus remained with the apostles for forty days, appears to differ from the account in the Gospel of Luke (wikipedia)
The gospels (sections of The Holy Bible dealing with the life of Jesus) state Jesus (as) died and then rose from dead after three days. Is this not a strange assertion? Was not Jonah (as) sign was to be shown to the world? Did not Jonah (as) continue to live through his ordeals? If Jesus (as) died, then how can there be the similarity between his suffering and Jonah’s ordeal? Cannot the fact that Jesus (as) was seen alive after three days be taken as a clear proof that he (as) did not die at first place? Is it not found in the Bible that the two theives who were crucified with Jesus were also alive at the time he was taken down?
We believe that in the same way Allah majestically saved Jonah from his trials, he also saved Jesus a.s. from the crucifixion.
How Jesus (as) survived the death on cross
Ahmadis also illustrate the notion of Jesus having survived the Cross through various Biblical scriptures.
1. Jesus had prophesied that his fate would be like that of Jonah (the story of Jonah is one of survival). (Matt. 12:40)
2. Jesus was placed on the cross for only a few hours. Death by crucifixion usually takes several days. While he was on the cross his legs were left intact, and not broken as was the normal procedure. This would have prevented death by respiratory distress. As blood and water were reported to have 'gushed' from the spear wound, this was sign of a beating heart.
3. Jesus prayed to be rescued from death on the cross (Matthew 21:22)
4. Pilate, having sympathy for Jesus, secretly devised to save him by setting his Crucifixion shortly before Sabbath day
5. The Gospel of John records that Nicodemus brought myrrh and aloes (John 19:39). These healing plants, particularly aloe plants, are considered medicinal and applied to wounds.
6. After he had awoken from his swoon (resurrection), Jesus bared his wounds to Thomas (John 20:25-7), showing he did not have a supernatural, resurrected body, but a patient's body. He was also seen in the flesh by a large number of his followers, baring the same wounds that he had suffered from his ordeal on the Cross. (Luke 24:38,39)
7. After his wounds had sufficiently healed Jesus left the tomb and met some of his disciples and had his food with them and walked on foot from Jerusalem to Galilee (Luke 24:50)
8. Jesus had prophesied that he would go to seek out the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel (John 10:16). The Jews of Jesus’ time believed that the Lost Tribes of Israel had become dispersed in different lands (John 7:34-35)
9. Being a divine prophet, Jesus could not have died on a cross because according to the Bible “He that is hanged is accursed of God.” (Deut. 21:23)
10. When Joseph requested Jesus' body from the cross (Mark 15:43), Pilate asked a centurion if Jesus was already dead (Mark 15:44). The centurion confirmed that Jesus was already dead (Mark 15:45). This centurion was a believer that Jesus was the son of God (Mark 15:39).
11. There are no accounts in the gospel of Jesus ascending into the heavens, aside from accounts that were absent from the earliest written gospels. (source: Biblical footnotes)
The Second Part of the Sign of Jonah (as)
But the sign of the Jonah does not end there. It has a second interesting part as well. After Jonah survived, he went back to his people and preached to them and led them to the right way. According to the Christians, Jesus died on cross, but Jonah survived. According to the Christians, Jesus went to heaven but Jonah went back to his own people and led them to the right path. Hence the Christian beliefs on Jesus neither agree with the first part nor the second part of the sign of the Jonah (as).
However, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, blessed with the true knowledge regarding the books of the God, not only agrees with the first part of the Jonah’s sign but also with the second part as well. We believe that Jesus (as) survived the crucifixion and people of his time could not kill him just like Jonah survived after being swallowed by a fish. Just like Jonah, who after his survival went back to his people for preaching, Jesus (as) also survived and he went to his people for preaching.