Chapter 8 begins as follows:
Was the prayer of Jesus (pbuh) being answered? He had cried (o the loving father in heaven for help, with strong crying and tears:
“And being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly;
and his sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood falling down to the ground”
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 22:44
What can be expected from such heart-felt prayer and importuning? One of the four brothers of Jesus reminds us that:
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
(HOLY BIBLE) James 5:16
Such heartfelt prayers! Such blood-curdling cries! Such sorrow and sobs! A cynic remarked that it would even bring God down from His Throne.
Luke 22:42 has Jesus ultimately submitting to the Father’s will: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Deedat continues:
GOD ACCEPTED JESUS’ PRAYERS
Paul confirms that his supplications did not fall on deaf ears:
“Who, in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was HEARD in that he feared.”
(HOLY BIBLE) Hebrews 5:7
What does it mean “God heard” his prayers! It means that God accepted his prayers. God Almighty is not deaf at any time. He is the All-Hearing God. He heard (accepted) the supplication of Jesus in the same way that He had heard (accepted) the prayer of father Abraham. Abraham, in his old-age had prayed for a son, and Ishmael was born. The words of Abraham had become flesh. Ishmael literally means “GOD HEARD”, in Hebrew. Zakariah also in his old-age prayed for a son, and God heard (accepted) his prayers, and John the Baptist was born. Now Jesus cried for help, and God heard (accepted) his prayers:
“And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.”
(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 22:43
Strengthening him in the faith, in the hope that God will save him. This is actually what he was beseeching God to do for him. When and how rests alone in the Hands of God. His ways are not our ways. Count the blessings so far:
(a) An assurance from Heaven.
(b) Pilate finds him, not guilty!
(c) His wife shown a dream in which she is told that no harm should come to Jesus.
(d) Legs not broken!
(e) In a hurry to bring him down from the cross.
The author of Hebrews is not Paul. More importantly, it is clear that the author of Hebrews believed Jesus suffered (2:18; 5:8; 13:12), bled (9:12, 14; 10:19, 29; 12:24; 13:12, 20), was crucified (6:6; 12:2), died (1:3; 2:9, 14; 7:28; 9:14, 15, 26, 28; 10:10, 12; 13:12), and was resurrected (13:20). Deedat’s assertion that the author of Hebrews thought Jesus avoided death is impossible to square with the text. Luke 22:43 does mention an angel but then Luke goes on to narrate the death of Jesus by crucifixion and his subsequent resurrection.
Deedat’s list of blessings is laughable. There is no assurance from heaven that Jesus will avoid death. Pilate ultimately condemns Jesus to death despite his wife’s dream. Jesus’ legs are not broken because he is already dead. Jesus’ corpse is taken off the cross before evening. This chapter ends with the following:
WHAT USE — “THE BONES” . . .
The fourth above: “and they brake not his legs”, we are told was in fulfilment of a prophecy:
“He keepeth all his bones, not one of them is broken.”
(HOLY BIBLE) Psalm 34:20
If the bones of a victim were to be protected from harm, then they could only be of benefit if the person was ALIVE! For a person, already dead, intact bones mean nothing. Whether they are sawed into pieces, or smashed into smithereens, it will not make any difference to the resurrected body, the spirit or the ghost. But for living persons on the cross (like the “crossmates” of Jesus), the breaking of the legs made all the difference between life and death. The pagan Romans were not hell-bound to fulfil any prophecy. Their reason was that they “SAW that he was dead already, they brake not his legs”. — (HOLY BIBLE) John 19:33
“SAW” is a very simple word. We may yet ask, what did they see? Could it be the fulfilment of the words of Christ: “seeing, ye shall see and shall not preceive” — (Matthew 13:14). When John says that the soldiers “saw”, he means that they surmised. For no modern-day stethoscope was used to verify death; nor did anyone touch his body or feel his pulse before concluding that “he was dead already”. I see in the word “saw” another step in God’s plan of rescue.
The ancients were not idiots, they could tell when someone was dead or not. This is all the more the case when we are talking about professional executioners. Since Jesus was buried his body most certainly was touched. Deedat also leaves out the fact that the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear (John 19:34). Somehow this is not seen as another step in God’s plan of rescue.