The Real Jesus
The real Jesus told the disciples that he would return soon. The real Jesus was not recognizable by either Mary Magdalene or by various disciples. The real Jesus was named Yeshua, but was never named (or even called) Immanuel. The real Jesus believed in reincarnation and the real Jesus… didn’t die on the cross.
There are a number of people who believe that Jesus survived the crucifixion. A movie, “The Passion of Christ,” was even made based on that premise, which was from the book of the same name by biblical scholar Hugh Schonfeld. One of the more important sources for this idea was none other than early church father Irenaeus. In his famous work “Against Heresies,” Irenaeus wrote that Jesus went to India after the crucifixion and lived to an advanced age. Jesus’ travels to India, long after the crucifixion, is confirmed in the Acts of Thomas, which is attributed to the disciple Thomas.
It was noted historian and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer who was one of the first to point out that the gospels (see Mark 13 and Matthew 24) actually say that Jesus intended on returning (the Second Coming) in the “lifetime of the disciples”. Needless to say, that never happened. Obviously then, as Schweitzer noted, Jesus could not have been divine. As it says in the Bible, if a prophet says that something will occur and it does not, then the prophet does not speak the Word of God (see Deuteronomy 18:22). However, it does not preclude the possibility that Jesus survived the crucifixion.
The Bible says that Jesus’ last words on the cross were, “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me” (Mark 15:34/ Matthew 27:46). A divine Jesus would have never uttered those words. How foolish it would have been of Jesus to have forsaken himself (if he were God incarnate) and how ridiculous it would have been for Jesus to say those words since he knew that he was supposed to die (even if he was only the Son of God). Obviously, then, God did not forsake him. However, Jesus may have thought that someone was going to get him off the cross before he expired, and that someone had not yet shown up.
Jesus was on the cross for only 6 hours when he was taken down from the cross. It takes 2-4 days, and sometimes even longer, for a person to die on the cross. Jesus may well have been alive, then, just as the other two men being crucified with Jesus were also alive. Even Pontius Pilate, himself, could not believe that Jesus had died so soon. Beyond that, one has to seriously ask the question of why the crucifixion was started at all when it was just a few hours before the Sabbath, at which time this kind of punishment was disallowed under Jewish law.
The interesting thing about the crucifixion is that it took place in the private garden of Joseph of Arimathea, at a distance from any onlookers (Luke 23:49). It was Joseph of Arimathea who requested Jesus’ body from Pilate and it was Joseph of Arimathea who brought 100 pounds (why so much?) of myrrh and aloes, which have medicinal uses, to the tomb wherein the body of Jesus was laid. It was Joseph of Arimathea who was a secret disciple of Jesus (John 19:38). Finally, Joseph of Arimathea would have had to have been a member of Jesus’ immediate family in order to ask for possession of the body! Of course, Joseph of Arimathea, being the rich man that he was, could have easily offered Pilate a bribe not to have Jesus crucified, especially since Pilate didn’t think that Jesus had done anything wrong. The fact that he didn’t offer a bribe, is very telling.
Aside: Historians and theologians alike have said that Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, but what if that is not correct? The gospels all say that he was crucified in Jerusalems (per the New Testament written in the original Greek). That’s Jerusalem with an “s” at the end. Remember, the Dead Sea Scrolls identified the disciples as part of a small Jewish religious community that lived in Qumran, which they considered to be the New Jerusalem. So what if the location of the crucifixion site was really Qumran, which would explain why archaeologists have never found it.
Historian Jaroslav Pelikan once commented that Jesus is the dominant figure in the history of Western culture. However, it’s hard to imagine that so little is really known about such an important historical figure. Regardless of what the truth of the matter is, I would argue that the history of Jesus has been intentionally obfuscated. As Jean Jacques Rousseau said, “The falsification of history has done more to mislead humans than any single thing known to mankind.” In that regard, the great library at Alexandria, which contained the wisdom of the ages, was burned down to forever conceal the truth about Jesus.
In the final analysis, there are plenty of arguments pro and con for the divinity of Jesus. It probably doesn’t matter anyway since people already have their minds made up, one way or another. As Stuart Chase so aptly put it, “For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don’t believe, no proof is possible.”
The real Jesus is for the most part missing from the Bible. The real Jesus would not have died for a cause, but he might have faked his death to promote such a cause. The real Jesus would have returned as he promised the disciples…if he could have.
“Those who say that the lord died first and then rose up are in error, for he rose up first and then died.”
– Gospel of Philip