A Refutation of Ahmed Deedat’s Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction: Part 13

The index to this series of posts can be found here.  This post is a refutation of “Chapter 13:  Jesus No Phantom” of Ahmed Deedat’s Crucifixion or Cruci-fiction.

Chapter 13 starts with:

ARITHMETICAL CONUNDRUM

The two from Emmaus,

“rose … and returned to Jerusalem, and found the ELEVEN gathered together, and those who were with them”

(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 24.33

Which “eleven?” They “found the eleven.” Did they include themselves in the number they FOUND? Even then the disciples there (of the elected twelve of Jesus) could never be more than 10 altogether. Because on this first visit of Jesus to that upper-room. Judas and Thomas were definitely not present. But Luke was not an eyewitness to this scene. He is simply copying verbatim from Mark 16:14 who said. “he (Jesus) appeared unto the ELEVEN as they sat eating.”

Now listen to Paul,. the thirteenth self-appointed apostle of Jesus. He says that after three days of hibernation. “(Jesus) was seen of Cephas (meaning Simon Peter), then to the TWELVE” — (1 Corinthians 15:5). Which The word “THEN” here, excludes Peter! But if you add him on, and with all good luck, you can still never get the “CHOSEN TWELVE” together to see Jesus, because the traitor Judas had committed suicide by hanging — (Matthew 27:5), long before Jesus alleged resurrection.” “twelve?”

We are dealing here with a strange mentality, where “Eleven” does not mean ELEVEN — (Luke 24:33).”Twelve” does not mean TWELVE, and “Three and three” means TWO AND ONE!’ Jesus would truly sympathise with us:

“it is hard for you to kick against the pricks” —

(HOLY BIBLE) Acts 9:5

According to Luke 6:14-16, the Twelve consisted of Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot.  One of the men on the road to Emmaus is named Cleopas (Luke 24:18) and the other is unnamed.  The Eleven are portrayed as separate from the two men who went to Emmaus.  Luke 24:36-49 conflicts with John 20:19-31 on whether Thomas saw the risen Christ on Easter Sunday.  Mark 16:14 is not part of the original Gospel of Mark, which ended at 16:8.  The appended ending to Mark is actually summarizing the story from Luke, not the other way around.

Paul does not say Jesus hibernated, he explicitly says he died (1 Corinthians 15:3).  The word “then” in 1 Corinthians 15:5 does not necessitate that the appearance to the Twelve did not involve Peter.  It is conceivable that Paul believed Jesus appeared to Peter while Peter was alone and then appeared to the Twelve, including Peter, at a later time.  The number twelve does not cause a problem since Judas Iscariot was replaced by Matthias (Acts 1:26), a witness to the resurrection (Acts 1:21-22).  The language of 1 Corinthians 15:5 does not require us to link Paul’s summary to a specific appearance like Luke 24:36-49 so we do not have to conclude there is a conflict.

Eleven means eleven in Luke 24.  Deedat’s confusion arises because he reads John 20:19-31 into Luke 24.  Twelve means twelve in 1 Corinthians 15.  Deedat’s confusion arises because he has misread the passage.  Jesus’ prediction that he would spend three days and three nights in the earth will be dealt with in an upcoming chapter.

In the next section Deedat writes:

ENTER JESUS

Whilst the two are telling their sceptical audience about their encounter with a physical, living Jesus (one who was eating food with them), “IN WALKS JESUS” (these are my words) 1 the doors being shut for fear of the Jews. The Christian controversialist says: “No! our records state that Jesus simply ‘STOOD IN THEIR MIDST2; he did not WALK in!” It was a question of disappearance from Emmaus and a reappearance in Jerusalem — like the “Invisible Man”, like the “Indian Rope Trick”, like “Star Trek” ( a science-fiction fantasy where people are “beamed” from Space Ships to planets and back again). You acutally “see” people disappearing in your very sight and materialising in another place. People who believe this to be real are victims of their own delusions. They have seen too many films and viewed too many TV programmes.

Jesus’ physicality poses no problem for Christians as we believe Jesus physically rose from the dead.  The text actually does mean that Jesus appeared in some supernatural fashion.  This explains why the disciples thought they saw a ghost (Luke 24:37) much better than Deedat’s interpretation.  Moving on we read:

THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE

But why did it take Jesus (pbuh) so long to reach the upper-room? He had “vanished” before the “two” made a beeline for Jerusalem, and yet Jesus had not preceded them. He was late in coming. It reminds one of the story of the hare and tortoise. Could it be that he was nursing his wounds on the way?

The cultists imagine that Jesus was floating around from place to place, appearing and disappearing at will. Jeffrey Hunter, the handsome young actor, playing the role of Jesus Christ in the film, “King of Kings”, made a very sensible observation after climbing Mount Zion for the scene of the “temptation” of Jesus by the Devil. After heaving and hoving, sweating and panting for breath while climbing the hill, he remarked, “FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I REALISED HOW HUMAN JESUS WAS!”

Neither Luke nor John, who record this episode of Jesus’ visit to the upper-room, venture to tell us that he simply o-o-z-e-d through the key hole, or that he oozed through crevices in the wall. O! But why did they deprive us of this vital information? Because no oozing happened! But the problem remains — how did he get in when the “doors where shut’? — (John 20:19). Amazingly, Luke 24:36, who also records this incident word for word did not think fit to add,” the doors were shut.” It was unimportant to him! Why? Because it was irrelevant! Claiming an “orderliness” and judiciousness for his writing, he would not confuse the issues – (Holy Bible, Luke 1:3)

Jesus did not take long to reach Jerusalem.  After Jesus disappeared from their sight, the two disciples went from Emmaus to Jerusalem that very hour (Luke 24:33).  Jesus arrived while the two were still talking to the Eleven about what had happened (Luke 24:36).  It appears that Jesus appeared minutes after the two disciples from Emmaus had arrived.  The fact that Jesus walked fourteen miles (from Jerusalem to Emmaus and back) at a speed comparable to two healthy individuals does not support Deedat’s claim that Jesus was nursing his wounds on the way.

No one claims that Jesus oozed through a key hole or through a crevice in the wall.  This straw man argument is all the more pathetic since in the previous paragraph Deedat notes that Christians believe Jesus appeared and disappeared at will.  Luke did not need to mention the doors were locked in order to convey the idea that Jesus’ appearance was supernatural.  Continuing on Deedat states:

THE UPPER-ROOM

This abode in question, is alternatively described as a “guest chamber” and as a “large upper-room” — (Mark 14:14-15). It is not the whole residence. It is part of a mansion. Do I have to prove this to you? Could this be the only room upstairs? Taking into account that this particular room contained a table big enough to seat at least 14 people on 14 clumsy chairs — Jesus and his 12 disciples making the “unlucky thirteen”, and John the “diciple whom Jesus loved” being the owner of the house and “leaning on Jesus’ bosom” (John 13:23) making fourteen in all.

Can you imagine the size of this “guest room”? — With pantry, and kitchen, and other facilities; and downstairs, where the owner’s family and servants resided. It was like a small palace! Jesus was familiar with this mansion. He had visited Jerusalem often for the feast of the Passover. Remember how he directed his disciples to find the place? — (Luke 22:10).

My own humble abode has four entrances. Perhaps John’s “GUEST CHAMBER” had only one main-entrance with 2 doors. But was there a need to seal it off from the rest of the house? For the visitor, the front doors were sufficient for all their needs — entry and exit. And Eastern guests do not pry into passages, attics and apartments of their hosts! They are easily gratified with every little hospitality bestowed. But Jesus was no stranger to the house. He was like a member of the family of the disciple Jesus loved. He had no need to knock at bolted doors to terrify his timid flock. There were more ways than one of getting in. If there was any misgiving on the part of the disciples for his sudden appearance in their midst, he was quick in dispelling it.

“Peace be unto you”, he cried;
but his little lambs “were terrified!”

(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 24:36-37

If Jesus had simply used another entrance that does not explain why the disciples thought he was a ghost (Luke 24:37) nor does it explain why John mentions that the doors were locked (John 20:19).  A supernatural appearing of some kind explains both.  Next we read:

OPPOSITE REACTIONS ON RECOGNISING JESUS

Remember at the break of dawn that very morning, a lone woman, Mary Magdalene, was mad with glee on recognising him around the tomb. And she had to be stopped in her stride from embracing him. But these ten heroes who were rattling sabres in this very room were now petrified on recognising their Master. Why was there opposite reactions between the men and the woman? — Men terrified, woman not afraid? The reason is that the woman was an eye-witness to all the happenings around calvary, whereas the men were nowhere in sight. Therefore the woman went to the tomb with the intention of meeting a LIVE Jesus, and her joy on meeting him. But the ten were not witnesses to the happenings, hence their supposition about seeing a ghost. They were physically and emotionally on the verge of breaking down. Luke succinctly describes their condition:

“But they were terrified and affrighted and supposed that they had seen a spirit.”

(HOLY BIBLE) Luke 24:37

But the women were afraid (Matthew 28:8; Mark 16:8; Luke 24:5) and Mary Magdalene was crying at the tomb (John 20:1-18).  Clearly Mary did not go to the tomb thinking Jesus was alive.  The men in Luke 24:37 think they see a ghost because Jesus has just appeared to them.  Moving on:

REASON FOR FEAR

The reason for their terror was that they thought that the man they saw standing in their midst was not Jesus himself but his ghost. Ask your “BORN-AGAIN” friends who want to share heaven with you, the reason for the disciples thinking that Jesus was a spirit. Ask them, “Did he look like a spirit?” And though misguided as they may be, you will hear their answer — “No!” Then why did the disciples of Jesus think that Jesus was a spirit, when he did not look like one? There is no answer! They are speechless. Please help them. Free them from their infatuation. If you don’t, they will harass us and our people till kingdom come. They will steal our children (as they are doing now in Muslim lands), in the guise of feeding hungry children, and at times with our own money: Have you heard of “World Vision” and the like? Crusades once more but with arms invisible.

The reason the disciples of Jesus were afraid was that they had learned by hearsay that their Master was killed by being fastened to the cross — that he was crucified.  They had learned by hearsay that he had “given up the ghost”: that he had died. They had learned by Hearsay that now he was –”DEAD AND BURIED” for three days. A man with such a reputation, would be expected to be decomposing in his tomb. FOR ALL THEIR KNOWLEDGE WAS FROM HEARSAY! — What they had heard! Because none of them was there to witness what was really going on with Jesus at Golgotha. In the most critical juncture in the life of Jesus:

“. . . THEY ALL FORSOOK HIM AND FLED.”

(HOLY BIBLE) Mark 14:50

As noted throughout this post, the disciples thought Jesus was a ghost because he suddenly appeared before them.  Christians do not steal Muslim children by feeding them when they are hungry.  On the other hand, there are cases of Muslims stealing Christian childrenWorld Vision is a humanitarian organization that serves people regardless of religion.  It is ludicrous to compare it to the Crusades.  The chapter closes as follows:

THE GENUINE DISCIPLES

Mark is talking about the chosen “twelve”. Not about Jesus’ “secret” devoted ones like the other John who took Mary the mother of Jesus home, and Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathe’a and the like. In view of the dastardly desertion by the other “twelve”, I am loathe to call these “men” disciples. Or is Mark lying? When he said all, did he not mean “All”? There was no come-back with these heroes. The author of the fourth Gospel lists a number of women from Jesus’ entourage. Among them three Marys, “and the disciple whom Jesus loved”. He repeats this phrase a number of times without actually identifying him as JOHN their benefactor in Jerusalem. Why? If that John is the author himself of the fourth gospel, then why does he not say so. Why is he so shy? He was not very bashful when asking Jesus to make him and his brother sit: “One on thy right hand, and the other on thy Jeft hand in thy Kingdom” – (Mark 10:37). The reason for his reticence is that the “beloved disciple” is his namesake, i.e. his name is also lohn! The rest of the disciples were nowhere to be found when he (Jesus) was most in need. They all had, as Mark says, “forsaken him and fled!” — (Mark 14:50).

WHAT WOULD YOU CALL THIS – “CRUCIFIXION or CRUCI – FICTION ? “

It doesn’t matter whether Ahmed Deedat considers the Twelve to be disciples, it matters whether Jesus calls them disciples and he most certainly did even after the crucifixion (Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 24:45-53; John 20:21-23; 21:15-25).  The disciples were transformed and willing to die for their beliefs (e.g., Acts 7:54-60; 12:1-5).  The last question in the chapter is about newspaper articles similar to those in chapter 9.

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