A Refutation of Ahmed Deedat’s Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction: Part 6

The index to this series of posts can be found here.  This post is a refutation of “Chapter 6:  Trials of Jesus” of Ahmed Deedat’s Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction.

Chapter 6 begins with:

GONE IN HIS HOUR OF NEED

In the history of the world, there is no parallel of such a contemptible betrayal. From the beginning to the end, Jesus (pbuh) received the most shabby response from his chosen ones. Professor Momerie succinctly sums up the “Disciples” and their response to the Master:

“HIS IMMEDIATE DISCIPLES WERE ALWAYS MISUNDERSTANDING HIM AND HIS WORKS. WANTING HIM TO DECLARE HIMSELF KING OF THE JEWS: WANTING HIM TO CALL DOWN FIRE FROM HEAVEN, WANTING TO SIT ON HIS RIGHT HAND AND ON HIS LEFT HAND IN HIS KINGDOM; WANTING HIM TO SHOW THEM THE FATHER, TO MAKE GOD VISIBLE TO THEIR BODILY EYES: WANTING HIM TO DO, AND WANTING TO DO THEMSELVES, ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING THAT WAS INCOMPATIBLE WITH HIS GREAT PLAN. THIS WAS HOW THEY TREATED HIM UNTIL THE END. AND WHEN THAT CAME, THEY ALL FORSOOK HIM. AND FLED.”

If Muhummed (pbuh) was the “Most Influential Man in History” – Michael M. Hart;

If Muhummed (pbuh) was the “Most Successful of all Religious Personalties” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 11th Ed;

If Muhummed (pbuh) was the “Greatest Leader of all Times” – Jules Masserman in the “TIME” Magazine;

If Muhummed (pbuh) was the “Greatest Man that ever Lived” – Lamartine in his “History of the Turks”;

THEN IT CAN BE CLAIMED WITH JUSTIFICATION THAT Jesus Christ (pbuh) was the “Most unfortunate of all of God’s Messengers”.

The disciples of Jesus always misunderstood him. His nation, the Jews, always misrepresented his utterances, AND his so-called followers are always misinterpreting his teachings, even to this day. If Jesus were a Japanese instead of being a Jew, he would most assuredly have committed honourable “HARA-KIRI” (suicide) rather than endure the fickleness and infidelity of his followers.

The death and resurrection of Jesus is very important in understanding his identity.  Deedat may point to some misunderstandings held by the disciples before the resurrection but he also ignores the correction of those misunderstandings after the resurrection.  For example, in Luke 18:31-34 Jesus tells his disciples that he must die and then rise again but they do not understand him.  But after the disciples see the resurrected Christ they understand (Luke 24:44-49).  Therefore it is simply not the case that the disciples always misunderstand Jesus.  It is also hypocritical of Deedat to claim that today’s Christians are always misinterpreting Jesus’ teachings when this very book only exists because Ahmed Deedat was willing to misinterpret the Gospels and Jesus at every turn.

Continuing on:

PREDETERMINED JUDGEMENT

The fate of Jesus (pbuh) was already sealed. Caiphas the High Priest, at the head of the Sanhedrin (a Religious Board of Jewish Deputies), was a man who would have recused himself in any civilised Court-of-Law, because of his prejudice against the defendant. He had already condemned Jesus to death without any hearing. He had recommended to his Council, even before the case that:-

“… it is expedient for us that one man die for the people, and the whole nation perish not.”

(HOLY BIBLE) John 11:50

Jesus had to be liquidated! There was no question of right or wrong; Justice or injustice; it was “EXPEDIENT”! The trial was a farce. By hook or by crook they would have Jesus convicted and done away with. In the middle of the night, what we might call at 2 o’clock in the morning, the Jews had mustered up false witnesses to testify against Jesus. A trial, past midnight was against Jewish practice; but who cares? Despite sympathetic and encouraging prosecutors and jurors, the false witnesses could not tally in their evidences.

It was too much for Jesus. He could not hold his peace. He had to remonstrate. He made a telling plea in his own defence, saying:

“… I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews always gather; and in secret have said nothing.”

(HOLY BIBLE) John 18:20

In essence, he said that he expounded no secret or esoteric doctrines. He did not teach anything in private which he would not be prepared to proclaim in public. In which case, the Jews would have been able to line up an army of witnesses to testify against him. But what a farce! The Jews could not get even two to agree in their allegations! “But neither did their witness agree together” – (Mark 14:59). His argument was so potent that an officer standing by was provoked to strike him in silence. Did that intimidate Jesus? No! Instead, he protested further:

“… if I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil. But if well, why smitest thou me?”

(HOLY BIBLE) John 18:23

The victim was slipping out from between their fingers. It was now or never. Legally they could not incriminate him. Direct intervention was necessary. The High Priest interjects with a side thrust. Tell us then:

“… Art thou the Christ, the son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am . . . ”

(HOLY BIBLE) Mark 14:61-62

“SON OF GOD”— NO BLASPHEMY

There was nothing blasphemous or treasonable in the simple avowal of Jesus (pbuh). “Christ” is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah,” which meant the ANOINTED ONE or the APOINTED ONE.  “Son of God” is also another harmless expression in Jewish theology. God seems to have sons by the tons in the Jewish Bible. But if you are looking for trouble, you do not have to go far. You will find it round the corner. The High Priest was exultant. He felt that his rapier thrust had ripped open the defence of Jesus. To dramatise his contrived victory, he began renting his clothes. Nowhere was the word Christ equated with God. We must divorce this notion from the paganised Christian doctrine of the incarnation, wherein God becomes man. The Jewish expectation of a Messiah, did not identify the Messiah with God. Indeed, the nature of Jewish monotheism wholely excludes such pagan connotations.

“What need have we for any further witnesses? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.” —

(HOLY BIBLE) Mark 14:63-64

GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY — “JESUS MUST DIE!”

The Jews falsely charged that Jesus had blasphemed, which is like treason in the spiritual realm. The Christians are “ONE” with the Jews regarding this “blasphemy” of Jesus, but contend that he was not guilty, because as God, he was entitled to “blaspheme” — it was no blasphemy. Between the two (Jews and Christians) they want poor Jesus to die. One for “GOOD RIDDANCE” and the other for “GOOD REDEMPTION”.

The verdict was quick and unanimous. It was cut and dried! But without the Roman consent, they could not hang him. In the morning they took their victim to Pontius Pilate, because, as they said:

“It is not lawful for us (Jews) to put any man to death”. —

(HOLY BIBLE) John 18:31.

PILATE “PASSES THE BUCK”

On discovering that Jesus was a Galilaean, the most troublesome of his subjects, Pilate felt it advisable to “pass the buck” to Herod. You remember, the oldest game in the world. It started in the Garden of Eden according to the Christian Scriptures. But it did not work. After a fruitless attempt to elicit co-operation from Jesus, Herod sends him back to Pilate.

The Jews had condemned Jesus for blasphemy. A man claiming to be God, they alleged. This would not hold water before Pilate. He had his man-gods beyond counting. His Jupiter and Pluto, his Vulcan and Eros, his Mars and Neptune, his Appollo and Zeus, to name just a few out of his Pantheon. One more, or one less, would not make any difference to him. This the Jews very well knew. So they changed their charge from blasphemy to treason. They began accusing:

“. . . We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”

(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 23:2

SECOND FALSE CHARGE

The charge was absolutely false. Contrary to what they are alleging, he had said, on the subject of taxation:

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God, the things that are God’s”—

(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 22:21.

What is subversive about this? Like the Christians, the Jews too, before them had invented a new meaning for the word “Christy,” viz. “A KING!” So that he could be more easily presented as a challenge to their Roman overlords. Pilate got the message. But this poor man, meek and passive, seemed to be no threat. He did not look like a Zealot, a political agitator, a subversive person, a terrorist!

In the above Deedat follows the Gospels without injecting much interpretation.  However, many Jews did expect a royal messianic figure (i.e., a royal Christ) and so Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah could be taken by the Jews to mean that he was claiming to be a king in opposition to Rome.  Moving on:

A MASTERFUL DEFENCE – AND A JUST VERDICT

Incredulously he asks Jesus:

“… Art thou the King of the Jews?’ … Jesus answered him, “MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD, if my kingdom was of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now is my kingdom not from hence.’ ”

(HOLY BIBLE) John 18:33-36

A masterful defence! No Q.C. 1 could have done a better job. As a man of God, he could not disavow his religious status. His was a spiritual kingdom, a ruler to rescue his nation from sin and formalism. This was all nonsense to the Roman Governor. The man may be deluded, mad; but of no danger to the State. He was on no collision course with Rome. Pilate goes to the waiting Jews and delivers an unequivocal verdict —

“… I FIND IN HIM NO FAULT AT ALL!”

(HOLY BIBLE) John 18:38

Though Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are supposed to be writing independent records on the life of Jesus, it is astonishing that the Synoptists, the first three had never heard the words — “My kingdom is not of this world” — at all. If God dictated these words exclusively to John, or if he had been informed by some witness, then these words must have escaped the lips of Jesus. A most telling defence against the false allegation of the Jews. How did these words reach any ear, without Jesus opening his mouth?

1. Q.C. means Queen’s Counsellor, previously K.C. (King’s Counsellor) The highest legal representative in English Court-of-Law.

Note Deedat’s inability to keep his story straight.  In the above passage he admits that Jesus’ kingdom is a spiritual kingdom, yet in chapter 3 he has Jesus planning an earthly kingdom.

The mere fact that the Synoptic Gospels do not contain a quote found in John does not mean they had never heard the quotation.  The accounts of Jesus’ trial do not mention everything that happened at the trial nor should we expect exact quotations from ancient sources.  The important fact is that the Synoptic Gospels agree with John in that they do not have Jesus attempting to establish an earthly kingdom.  Matthew 26:64 and Mark 14:62 have Jesus describing his kingship as him sitting at the right hand of God coming on the clouds of heaven.  Luke 23:14 states that Pilate found no grounds for believing Jesus was leading a rebellion.

Deedat continues:

SPEAKING WITH CLOSED MOUTH?

The hot-gospellers are getting hoarse in the throat, singing and shouting, that Jesus was led

“to the slaughter like a lamb, like a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth” – (Isaiah 53:7).

Poor deluded souls, they hymn songs:

“Hy het sy monde nie oop gemaak nie! Hy het sy monde nie oop gemaak nie!” (And he opened not his mouth).

Now, an Attorney-at-Law, claiming to be “re-born” has joined the chorus of Bible-thumpers with the same senseless repetition. Let me quote, word for word from his Book, to enable you to diagnose this new sickness of cultism to which even people having undergone a dicipline of Law are not immune. He says;

“Isaiah predicts about Jesus Christ:- ”
1. He would not defend himself at his trial
(Jesus did not): “He opened not his mouth”

When you meet these cultists in the flesh, please ask them, “Did Jesus speak with his mouth closed?” How did the following utterances which are attributed to Jesus, escape his lips without him opening his mouth –

(a). Before Pontius Pilate: “My kingdom is not of this world” —
(John 18:36).

(b). Before the Sanhedrin: “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil, but if well, why smitest thou me?” —
(John 18:23).

(c). Before God in the Garden: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away . . .”
(Matthew 26:39).

We Muslims believe in the many, many miracles of Jesus, but we would be reluctant to believe that he dabbled in ventriloquism. Again and again, whenever the need arose, during his trials and tribulations, Jesus opened his mouth with telling effect, “according to the Scriptures”. But for those who refuse to see or hear, we can only seek solace in the words of the Master:

“. . . they seeing, see not; and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand”
(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 13:13

The above section attacks a straw man.  Christians do not believe that Jesus was absolutely silent during his trial, rather they believe he did not give a vigorous defense:

  • Matthew 26:62-63 (NIV):  Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent.
  • Matthew 27:12-14 (NIV):  When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
  • Mark 14:60-61 (NIV):  Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.
  • Mark 15:3-5 (NIV):  The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.” But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.
  • Luke 23:9 (NIV):  He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.

Deedat concludes the chapter with:

THE BLACKMAIL

In the case under discussion, Pilate finds Jesus — NOT GUILTY! His implacable enemies, blackmail Pilate, saying:

“. . . If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend; whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh agaist Caesar”

(HOLY BIBLE) John 19:12

While the trial was under way, Pilate’s wife sends him a message: “Have thou nothing to do with that just man (Jesus); for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.” —

(HOLY BIBLE) Matthew 27:19.

As reluctant as Pilate was to condemn an innocent and harmless subject, and despite the pleadings of his dear wife based on supernatural visions, he could not prevail against Jewish pressure. He was forced to give in to the Jewish clamour of “Crucify him, crucify him!”. “Pilate took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this righteous man.” — (Matthew 27:24). You are culpable for this unjust crime. And he handed Jesus over to be crucified.

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