Well, I do not know if anyone ever thought about it, but I always wondered if Jesus’ death on a cross could be a conspiracy that Jesus himself made up. Like if he was really just a man, but he devised such a seamless plan that made him look like God or the disciples simply made up a story to kickstart a religion. After reading my book I am convinced that it was not a conspiracy.
I always wondered if there was a possibility that like in Sherlock Holmes, where the villain faked his death by hooking a harness inside his clothes to prevent the rope from strangling him, could Jesus have faked his death? I see no way around it. Jesus was nailed to the cross naked for at least 6 hours. How will they fake a crucifixion? Where do you hide a harness in a naked body? How do you fake nailing through someone’s wrist? If you are faking, how do you keep Jesus on the cross then? Not only that, Gospel of John states that the Jewish leaders did not want bodies to be left on the cross for the Sabbath, so they had soldiers to break the legs of the criminals and brought them down. When they got to Jesus however, they realized that he was already dead, so they did not break his legs. They pierced the side of his body bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. How could they synthesize this? Even if they did, how possible will it be to do first aid for a guy that has been bleeding for 6 hours and have him survive in that era? I bet we will struggle to keep someone like that alive even with our medical technologies today. Even if he did survive, wouldn’t it be likely that his wounds get infected? How will he survive that then?
Now let us now not focus on the technicals(on how did Jesus fake his death), let us focus on the motivation(why did Jesus need to fake his death). He had no need. If it is for political power, he could have simply accepted when the people wanted to forcefully crown him King. If it is fame, he could do more miracles and be more famous than he already is, rather than teaching difficult teachings and deter people from following him. Now let’s say Jesus has his own reasons to fake his death, how can he do it then? To fake a death he will need the cooperation of the Romans soldiers. He will need the cooperation of at least one, but how are you going to get the cooperation? Bribing? Jesus isn’t rich so he doesn’t have the means to do that. Say some straight to the heart kind of words to the soldiers. That sound feasible, but the soldiers are motivated by something else. The public’s pressure, the government etc etc. However, if it is only one soldier, how can you pull something that is so big off? You will need many soldiers to do it and in less than 24 hours in trial, how will you be able to convince so many people to do it? Not only that, before Jesus was crucified, he was tortured. How do you fake wounds? Even if you can, how do you fake the whipping? You have to convince the person doing the whipping and people to fashion the wounds! How do you do that then?
Now, let’s say that it was some Roman’s scheme to fake Jesus’ death to show people that they have authority. Wouldn’t it be easier to just simply kill the man, rather than to stage an execution? What good will it do a government to stage someone, that was interfering with their business, death only to let him cause more havoc to their country by setting him free? Let’s say Jesus escaped prison, then why don’t he go into hiding? I mean, if he is out, the Romans will capture him again. Not to mention, this was if Jesus did fake his death. Next, what will be the motivation for the Romans to do it then? By keeping Jesus alive, you are disturbing your own authority over the country, you are creating disturbance in your land and will do them no good at all! There is no motive for the Romans to do it.
Now to the disciples. What if Jesus did die, but never rose again. The Jesus that appeared before them was an imposter or they simply come up with a plan to say that “Jesus is alive again” to kick start a new religion? Well, now I will quote the book I have been reading, “The Jesus I Never Knew” by Phillip Yancey.
The first Christians staked everything on the Resurrection, so much so that the apostle Paul told the Corinthians, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” Did it really happen, this event apart from which our faith is is useless? How can we be sure?
People who discount the resurrection of Jesus tend to portray the disciples in one of two ways: either gullible rubes with weakness for ghost stories, or as shrewd conspirators who conceived a resurrection plot as a way to jump-start their new religion. The Bible paints a distinctly different picture.
As for the first theory, the Gospels portray Jesus’ followers themselves as the ones most leery of of rumors about a risen Jesus. One disciple especially, “doubting Thomas,” has gained the reputation as a skeptic, but in truth all the disciples showed a lack of faith. None of them believed the wild report the women brought back from the empty tomb; “nonsense” they called it. Even after Jesus appeared to them in person, says Matthew, “some doubted.” The eleven, whom Jesus had to rebuke for a stubborn refusal to believe, can hardly be called gullible.
The alternative, a conspiracy theory, falls apart on close examination, for, if the disciples had set out to concoct a seamless cover-up story, they failed miserably. Chuck Colson, who participated Ina feckless conspiracy after the Watergate break-in, says that cover-ups only work if all participants maintain a unified front of assurance and competence. That, the disciples surely did not do.
The Gospels show the disciples cringing in locked rooms, terrified that the same thing that happened to Jesus might happen to them. Too afraid even to attend Jesus’ burial, they left it to a couple women to care for his body. (Ironically, for Jesus had fought Sabbath restrictions against works of mercy, the dutiful women waited until Subsay morning to finish the embalming process.) The disciples seemed utterly incapable of faking a resurrection or risking their lives by stealing a body; nor did it occur to them in their state of despair.
According to all four Gospels, women were the first witnesses of the resurrection, a fact no conspirator in the first century would have invented. Jewish courts did not even accept the testimony of female witnesses. A deliberate cover-up would have put Peter or John or, better yet, Nicodemus in the spotlight, not built its case around reports from women. Since the Gospels were written several decades after the events, the authors had plenty of time to straighten out such an anomaly—unless, of course, they were not concocting a legend but recording the plain facts.
How would an imposter of Jesus be able to fool the disciples? How will the imposter be able to fashion up his wounds to be exactly like Jesus’? What good will it do the disciples to say that Jesus is alive? To live a life of suffering and die a martyr? To start a religion that they have no idea will last or not? Is it really worth it to die for a lie? I doubt not one of the disciples would not break if they were tortured for a lie. Perhaps they are really saying it for a kingdom that they cannot see.