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What if Jesus Had Not Been Crucified, So There Was No Easter?

  • Written by  Amber Lovejoy
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What if Jesus had not died on the cross? What if Jesus had not died on the cross?

With Easter just around the corner, tens of millions of people turn their attention to a man called Jesus, his life and brutal death, and his place in history.

I very much respect Jesus, and people’s religious beliefs, so there is no offense intended when I raise this intriguing question: What if Jesus had not been crucified? What if he had lived a long life, perhaps even to experience old age and die of natural causes?

These questions are explored by an eminent scholar who contributed to the book What If? Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been.

The scholar imagines that the Roman official (named Pontius Pilate) who allegedly condemned Jesus to death instead set Jesus free. Jesus goes on to live as a rabbi, revolutionary and “Jewish” activist.

For most Christians, this imagined scenario sounds insane, if not outrageous. They believe Jesus was sent to earth by his Father, the God of the universe, to be killed as a form of blood sacrifice so humans could be forgiven for their sins. Without Jesus’ death and resurrection, all of us are going to hell.

At the very least, if Jesus had not been crucified, there would not be Easter as we know it.

Non-believers have an equally hard time accepting that a loving Father God would send us all to hell—unless we believe in an escape clause that involving God killing His own Son as part of a forgiveness program.

At the very least, if Jesus had not been crucified, there would not be Easter as we know it, because Easter is the celebration of the claim that Jesus literally rose from the dead on the third day after he was killed on the cross.

If there were no Easter, there likely would be no Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, Easter vacations, Easter Sunday or any of the other modern trappings of Easter.

On a more serious note, for 2000 years people have wondered about the “real Jesus,” and what would have been different for him and the world if his life had not ended with him nailed to pieces of wood.

When the controversial 1988 movie The Last Temptation of Christ (directed by Oscar-winner Martin Scorsese, with an awesome soundtrack by Peter Gabriel) was released, tens of thousands of Christians protested it, because it portrayed Jesus as a man torn with doubt about his impending crucifixion, and because it wonders what Jesus’ life would have been like if he had not been put to death by Pontius Pilate.

Later, Mel Gibson did a completely different cinematic take on the trial and torture of Jesus, in his controversial 2004 film, The Passion of the Christ, which was viciously lampooned on South Park.

None of us were alive when Jesus lived so the debate about the Bible’s account of Jesus will probably go on until the end of time. I personally find Jesus to be an inspiring role model, a man who sacrificed his life preaching pacifism, kindness, generosity, forgiveness and peace. We sure need more people like him.

Whether or not you celebrate Easter as a religious holiday, a time for Easter bunnies, Easter Sunday and Easter family dinners, or whether you believe Jesus gave up His life to provide forgiveness for humans, the true meaning of Easter will always interest those who wonder “What if...”

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No Easter: The Last Temptation of Christ
Last modified on Tuesday, 03 July 2012 18:53

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