Many people have questions about the Christian belief that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and some skeptics choosing not to believe what is in God’s Word have put forward alternate ideas as to what might’ve happened. These theories seem reasonable to them, but we have to consider whether or not they are truly valid.
Perhaps the most common alternative explanation is that Christ did not die on the cross but merely passed out. His friends presuming him to be dead, took him for burial only to have Jesus revive in the cool of the tomb. However, when you really consider this theory, I believe logic easily deals with it.
Firstly, the Romans were efficient at killing and one of the reasons people were scourged before being crucified was because the blood loss hastened their death. The whip or Flagrum as it was called, was specifically designed to remove the flesh from a body. It consisted of several thongs embedded with metal and bone that were designed to tear up strips of flesh. Many people died from the lashing, but Christ did not. After His torturous, bloody walk out of the city in His severely weakened state, Jesus was nailed to the cross by Roman soldiers, who themselves would have been under the penalty of death should the execution be unsuccessful.
Being soldiers, these men were familiar with death – they knew how to ensure it and they also knew how to recognize when it had occurred. John relates in John19:31-35 that the Jewish religious leaders did not want bodies left on the crosses because of the Sabbath and so: “they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.” Accordingly, the soldiers came to break the legs of all who had been crucified, but when they came to Jesus they found that “he was already dead” and so they did not break his legs.
Death by crucifixion came by asphyxiation. The weight of a person’s body on the arms put the diaphragm into such distress that a person could not breathe without pushing themselves up on the nail through their feet to gasp for air. Breaking the legs of the crucified merely hastened death. But notice these soldiers who were so well-acquainted with death, were convinced that it had already occurred to the point that they did not attempt to break Jesus’ legs. Instead John as an eye-witness to the events, tells us: “one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water”.
John was a fisherman. He had no personal knowledge of medicine and yet his account confirms that death had indeed occurred. Any medical professional will tell you, that the appearance of what an untrained person would call, “blood and water” coming from the wound meant that the clot and serum of Christ’s blood had separated. Something which only occurs after death!
Jesus did not survive all that was done to Him that day and from John’s eyewitness account it is plain that Christ was indeed dead as they took Him from the cross. The testimony of the Scripture is clear even if some find it hard to believe – Jesus Christ did die and when people saw Him alive after that it was because He had risen from the dead, just as He had promised He would!
May God bless you