SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
SCEPTIC.INFO Free your mind - question!
WAS JESUS FATALLY WOUNDED IN THE SIDE?
The assertion of many that if Jesus was alive when stabbed with the lance the lance savaged Jesus's pericardium which would have finished him off assuming he was not really dead yet. The pericardium is around the heart and blood and water will appear if it is stabbed. The objection to this being certain is that John did not get the witness from a soldier but said it himself. It is like a man asking you to listen to him instead of sending you to the policeman who was there. Another bigger objection is that John would not have been allowed to stand that close to see. How good was his eyesight? It would take very close inspection. Blood mixed with water is hard to make out most of the time. And the pericardium scenario is only one of many - including some non-fatal - possibilities. Let us look at the matter further.
Though nothing in the accounts say it, Christian defenders like to say that if Jesus had been alive on the cross when he was pierced in the side and blood and water came out according to John then that would have killed him.
Most scholars approaching the story from the viewpoint of professional historical analysis conclude that the piercing story is unhistorical. It never happened.
According to the testimony of John, Jesus was pierced on the cross by a spear in the side after he was accepted to be dead. Blood and water came out. John alone reports this. He is not enough on his own as a witness as even his own gospel said when Jesus said that the law is right to require at least two independent witnesses. John had to make do with one witness when he believed that only at least two were any good. It certainly indicated that he dishonestly wanted people to forget about the rule and wanted to trick them into believing what he wrote. The side wound story just isn’t reliable.
John applied Zechariah’s prophecy that the people would look on the one they have thrust through and mourn for him to Jesus. This infers a distance of time for they thrust and look and then realise their mistake which would take time. It implies that Jesus died long after he was pierced. Did Jesus live for years after this time?
The way John abused prophecy makes him unreliable and shows that he probably invented the spearing and the leg breaking of the thieves to force his story to seem to have been prefigured in the scriptures. Neither the Psalm or Zechariah really prophesied about Jesus. Why spear Jesus instead of breaking his legs like the rest? It makes no sense.
John gives the impression that the blood and water came out separately alongside one another which would be a sure sign that he or his witness was never there at all for he or his witness was fibbing. He says there is only his witness’s word for it. Why didn’t Mary write a statement that it was true? She was there so she must not have seen it which would imply it never happened. John was heretical in demanding that we accept this testimony of his for the Old Testament Law of God said that there had to be two independent and thoroughly checked witnesses to a crime or anything before it could be believed. He did not even tell us who he was so we know nothing about him and so he made a virtue out of credulity which says enough about him.
The witness emphasised that it was true about the blood and water so that we might believe (John 19:35). Believe what? In Jesus as a messenger of God for he then mentions prophecies that no bones would be broken and that he would be pierced. He could not have meant that the blood and water proved that Jesus was dead because a person is more certainly dead when nothing comes out unless he meant he was alive. He practically shouted at us that he did not take the stab as proof that Jesus was dead. The piercing prophecy is very ambiguous. If the stabbing was never mentioned in the gospels the Christians would be saying the prophecy means the nailing of Christ to the cross.
It was deceptive of the witness to say we should believe him when he could not even give his name and when he said stupid things like Pilate declaring that Jesus was innocent of any crime after Jesus confessed to the crime of claiming to be a king to his face!
And stabbing is so rare that one questions if Jesus was stabbed at all. In 290 AD, two godly crucifixion victims Marcellus and Marcellinus were stabbed because they irritated the soldiers by praising God. But never was it known for anybody to be stabbed to ensure they were dead.
John says that it was accepted that Jesus was dead before he was pierced. This makes it improbable that Jesus was stabbed at all. When they did not break his legs to make extra sure they would have hardly stabbed him through the heart. The cut in the side could have been for checking if Jesus was alive to see if he would react to get him off the cross before it was too late.
It may be that there was no stabbing when only John mentions it. The older gospels wanted to present the resurrection as a miracle and if a man is crucified and then thrust through after death it is more of a miracle. But just as easily, this might be a clue that the wound was fairly superficial and bore no relevance. Thomas said he wanted to put his hand in the side of Jesus and Jesus asked him to do it so it might have been a centimetre in depth or just a wide gash but not that deep.
Let us pretend that we can believe in the wounding story.
It is thought that if this piercing was incapable of killing Jesus it would have been done again through the heart for the Romans wanted to ensure Jesus was dead so it did kill Jesus if he was not dead.
We would have been eagerly told if the lance alone could have killed Jesus or if there was a second thrust through the heart if the first was not deep enough but we are not. If the Shroud is genuine then they never intended to kill him for the cut would not have touched the heart (The Turin Shroud is Genuine, page 68).
If Jesus was pierced, then it was done to see if he would react to the pain for people thought then that dead men could bleed. When he didn’t react they were more certain that he was dead.
The wound need not have been deep.
The Roman executioners thought a dead man could bleed so they might not have made another thrust through the heart when the blood came out. Blood can come out of wounds by means of gravity soon after death (page 83, The Turin Shroud is Genuine) and that misled them.
Perhaps the piercing was not near the heart but done lower down and pierced the bladder.
Maybe this was the water that was seen coming out . Jesus might have drank a lot of water during his trial after being weakened during his ordeal in the garden of Gethsemane.
Some say that the bladder would have been accidentally emptied due to the trauma and abuse Jesus had got. But perhaps the wound is a sign that it was not that bad after all. The bladder would have been hard to strike from an upward angle for the bone would protect it but maybe Jesus was crucified on ground level. They chose a safe place to go through the motions of making sure he was dead. The John gospel did not try to shut up those who would have used that explanation which suggests either that since the author had just made the stab story up which was why it didn’t occur to him that his Jesus might have been stabbed in the bladder – lies are improved over time as criticisms are taken into account – or that he wanted to hint that Jesus was pierced in the bladder.
The wound could have been made in the large intestine indicating that when water came out that Jesus had some kind of sickness for that is very abnormal. It is thought that Jesus could have lived up to a week after receiving this wound. I prefer the bladder hypothesis.
The witness could have been mistaken about the water for he saw something terrible and which was traumatic for him.
Christians argue that Jesus emitted blood but did not bleed. The water was blood serum which separates from the blood during decomposition and it and some blood came out. But blood serum is not called water any more than tea is water. The liquid could have been saliva from Jesus’ mouth or the drink he took that might look like water from a bit of a distance which came out just as the wound emitted blood. It could have been a trickle of sweat.
Jesus was not dead long enough for the blood to separate from the plasma or did they nail a dead man and say the reason he was motionless was because he was drugged? The disagreements between what Jesus said on the cross in the gospels and the improbabilities could be taken as evidence that his actions during the crucifixion were made up.
Anyway, the fluid could have gathered between his lungs and ribs because of the scourging so it does not prove that Jesus was dead (The Turin Shroud is Genuine, page 116). This would mean the wound need not have been serious.
There is nothing about the side wound to make us confident that Jesus was really dead.
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