Did Isa really die?

Many believe Isa did not really die. Instead, they say, God rescued him from his enemies and took him up to heaven. But when we read the Injil, we see clearly that Isa both died and, three days later, came back to life. God raised him from the dead.

Did this really happen? What is the historical evidence for Isa’s death?

Isa himself knew that he would die. He told his disciples very clearly on three separate occasions that this would happen:

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man [Isa’s name for himself] will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.’ (Luke, 18:31-33.)

All of these events took place and are carefully described in the Injil. When Isa was arrested by the Jews, his followers ran away. Only a few followed, at a distance. But the Jews did not have the right to put anyone to death. So they had to take Isa to Pilate, the Roman governor of Palestine.

The Jews accused Isa of wanting to make himself a king. Pilate knew that these accusations were not true, but he was afraid of the crowd. He gave in and handed Isa over to the soldiers to crucify him.

Many of Isa’s followers watched his crucifixion from a distance. They were too afraid to come close. But John, the disciple who Isa loved, and Isa’s mother Miriam came right up to the cross:

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing near by, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son,’ and to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. (John, 19:25-35)

Isa’s mother Miriam, her friends, and Isa’s closest disciple John all saw him on the cross. John saw him die and, later, he saw the soldiers pierce his side.

Could there be any clearer testimony?

But Isa’s death was not the end! He was not defeated by his enemies. No, God raised him from the dead on the third day. This is also clearly recorded in the Injil. On the third day after Isa’s death, the women came to the tomb to anoint his body with spices.

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. (Mark, 16: 1-6)

Later that same day, Isa appeared to Peter, to two other disciples and then to ten of his twelve apostles. During the next few weeks, they saw him many times and became absolutely sure that he had really come back to life.

The apostle Peter boldly declared:

We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name. (Acts 10:39-43)

This weighty historical evidence and eyewitness testimony surely proves beyond doubt the truth of Isa’s death and resurrection.


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