Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Good Friday and The Need for Crucifixion

Last Friday was Friday the 13th.  It was a bad Friday.

The Friday before that was the Good Friday.  Many Christians were fasting that day, and the churches all over the world were holding religious service, commemorating the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus.

Friday is a good day for Muslims.  It is the chief of all days.  On this day, the Muslim men would observe the Friday Prayer in congregation, the only prayer that is not valid except being observed in a group.  If the day of pilgrimage happens to fall on Friday, it is considered a Hajj Kubra, or Great Pilgrimage.

The Jews consider Saturday to be the chief of all days, which they call Sabbath.  It is the day the Jews are not allowed to work, but to spend the day singing praises to the Lord.  They are not allowed to work because God Himself rested on that day, having completed His creations in six days, so the Bible says.

To the Christians, Friday is generally considered a bad day.  It is the day Adam ate the Forbidden Fruit, and the beginning of Prophet Noah’s Great Flood.  Their good day is Sunday, the day Jesus was resurrected. 

Although Friday is not a good day to the Christians, if it falls during the Easter Week, then it becomes Good Friday.   It becomes a good day because on that day, Jesus was crucified.

The Friday, the day on which Jesus was crucified, is actually not good, for crucifixion is not a good thing.  But it is considered a Good Friday because through that crucifixion, the Original Sin of mankind is erased.  For this reason, that Friday is considered a good Friday, although in general Friday is bad. 

Thus, unlike Muslims who generally believe that Jesus was never crucified, the Christians would not be Christians if they do not believe that Jesus was crucified.  To the Muslims, the crucifixion of Jesus is at best a possibility, which they generally reject.   To the Christians, it is a certainty.  Not believing in it would make their faith flawed.

Now, the Muslims’ main contention is due to the fact that the Quran (chapter 4: verses 156-159) makes it clear that Jesus was neither slain, nor crucified.  Some Muslims theorize that even supposed Jesus was crucified, he did not die on the cross.  He only fainted, because people don’t die through crucifixion that soon.  Death because of crucifixion was supposed to take days, not hours.  Or more precisely, six hours in the case of Jesus’ alleged crucifixion.  This becomes known as the Swoon Theory.

The Christians argued that Jesus was already beaten to a pulp.  He was already half dead, so to speak, by the time he was crucified.  That he died soon thereafter was not at all improbable.  Perhaps God did not want him to suffer much longer. 

I would say to my Muslim brothers holding the Swoon Theory to cut the crap.  Since the Quran is already very clear on the matter, we need not theorize any further.  Jesus was not slain, nor crucified, but only made to appear like that to the eyes of the people, Quran says.  Enough said.

In any case, from an Islamic point of view, it does not matter one way or another.    If God decides that Jesus the Christ, or Isa al Masih, was to be slain and crucified, there would be nothing strange about it.  Many other prophets had been slain by various means.  Prophet Ezekiel (Nabi Zulkifli) was said to be sawn into half.  John the Baptist (Nabi Yahya) was beheaded.

In short, if God decides that His prophets would be slain by their enemies, these would be done.  It is not a matter of faith as far as Islam is concerned.  The only reason we need not theorize any further in the case of Jesus is because Allah has already made it clear in our Holy Book.

For the Christians, however, crucifixion is a matter of faith.  It is one of their pillars.  For Christianity to hold water, Jesus must die on the Cross.

You see, when Adam and Eve ate the Forbidden Fruit, the twain had committed the sin.  Since this was the first sin ever committed by mankind, it became the Original Sin. 

Now, all sins can be forgiven, but Original Sin cannot.  While the sins of fathers and mothers are not inherited to their children, the Original Sin is.  Even the saints or the prophets are tainted with this sin.  Thus, everyone is tainted with the Original Sin. 

Hence, even when the baby is born and not yet committed any sin, he or she is already a sinner, because he/she inherits the Original Sin from his/her parent.  The worst part is that even God is not at liberty to forgive this Sin as He may like.

To erase this Original Sin, God has to make a sacrifice.  He has to get Himself killed.  But how can God kill Himself?  Well, God is God.  He can kill Himself if He wants to.  But if God kills Himself, what would happen to the universe and all the creations?  Can the universe perpetuate without God?  As you can see, it is quite a dilemma, even for God.

Fortunately, about 2,000 years ago, God finally found a solution.  He took His Word (understood as His Speech, or Qalam in Arabic) and planted it in the womb of Mary the Virgin.  Thus, God was born in the form of a man.  That man, Jesus the son of Mary, became God’s only son.  Having spent 33 years as a man, he was arrested, beaten to a pulp and crucified to death.  With his death, the Original Sin is erased.

But there is still one final catch.  When Jesus the Son of God gets himself sacrificed on the Cross, the Original Sin is not erased automatically.  To have it erased, you have to believe that the Lord Jesus is the Son of God, who had sacrificed himself in order to save mankind from eternal damnation.  This you have to do during the ritual of Baptism.  If you don’t believe in it, you are still damned.

This is what Good Friday is all about, and why Crucifixion is essential in Christianity.  It is pointless therefore for any Muslim to argue with his Christian friends whether or not Jesus the Christ died on the Cross.  Christianity does not hold water without crucifixion. Crucifixion is a sine qua non, without which cannot, in Christianity.  For mankind to be saved, Jesus must be crucified. 

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