The Crucifixion of Jesus

Before we examine the story about the crucifixion of Jesus, we need to recognize and acknowledge the Romans did not conquer most of the known world and build their empire by being kind or benevolent. They did so by being ruthless and cruel. No quarter given, none asked. So, I decided to examine this story from an historical perspective rather than a biblical one.

The head of the Roman Empire was an Emperor who wielded absolute power. It was the Emperor who appointed people to administrative (Prefect/Governor) positions throughout the provinces of the Roman Empire. Those selected were Romans with proven loyalty and service to the Emperor and were expected to govern their areas of responsibility with ruthless efficiency.  

This policy was meant to discourage local inhabitants from engaging in rebellious activities against Roman rule. Let’s face it, Roman Law in the provinces of their empire was not about justice, it was about subjugation and control.

The usual term of office for a Prefect was about three years. But if an incumbent did not perform to the standard expected by the Emperor, he would be removed from office, exiled from Rome and probably assassinated. This policy ensured that yesterday’s ally did not become tomorrow’s enemy.

One form of capital punishment favored by the Romans was crucifixion. This practice was the most cruel, sadistic and gruesome means of putting a human being to death slowly, while at the same time, inflicting as much pain as possible.  

It is against this background, that I examined the story of the crucifixion of Jesus. This crucifixion has been a source of controversy for nearly 2000 years and, because it occurred so long ago (AD 36?) we may never know what actually took place.

There are so many variations to the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, it is difficult to separate truth from myth and religious embellishments. I state this because it seems the only disciple present at the crucifixion appears to be John. This means some versions of the crucifixion may be based on hearsay.

What follows is my view of how this historic event may have unfolded and is based on how the Romans dealt with offenders who were considered a threat to public order in the provinces and a threat to Roman rule. However, I have to acknowledge that my view of what may have took place has been formed from information obtained from many different written sources. So, it may be no more accurate than the versions written in the New Testament Gospels.

At the time of Jesus’ arrest, Pontius Pilate was Prefect of the Roman Provinces of Judea, Samaria and Idumaea. Pilate held this post from AD 26 to AD 36, which was much longer than the normal tenure for such a position. Why Pilate was retained in this position for so long is not known.

Was it because Pilate did such a good job of governing those troublesome provinces? Or was it because the Emperor Tiberius (AD 14 to AD 37) was an absentee emperor who left affairs of state to his Delegate in Rome and it was he who decided to retain Pilate in that position for so long? Or perhaps the Emperor or his Delegate had political reasons to keep Pilate away from Rome?  

Whatever the reason may have been, I believe if Pilate did not perform his job effectively, he would have been removed from his position, exiled from Rome and probably would have died from an ‘assisted suicide.’ So, whichever way one looks at this, Pilate was obviously a very experienced and capable Prefect and nothing in his biography suggests otherwise.

For this reason, I do not understand why the Gospels portray Pilate as being indecisive when dealing with the arrest and death sentence of Jesus.

At that time, Pilate’s main concern was maintaining public order during the Passover period when crowds of people were coming into Jerusalem. Pilate would have been aware of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and of his popularity with the people. So, it is reasonable to state that Pilate would have sent his intelligence gatherers to find out as much information as possible about Jesus. Pilate would also have ordered his soldiers to keep a close eye on the activities of Jesus and report back directly to him.

Pilate would have been informed that Jesus had come to Jerusalem from Galilee where people believed Jesus had unearthly (supernatural) powers. These powers enabled Jesus to perform acts (miracles) that were impossible for a mortal man to perform.

So, when Jesus was brought before him, Pilate would have a good knowledge of the activities of this man called Jesus.

Pilate was advised that Jesus had been arrested on the orders of the Temple of Jerusalem’s High Priest (Caiaphas), tried and found guilty of offences against the Temple. Under Jewish Law, one of these offences was punishable by death. Because only the Roman Prefect had the authority to confirm and order a death sentence to be carried out, Caiaphas had sent Jesus to Pilate.

The offences Jesus had been convicted of were that he (Jesus) rampaged through the grounds of the Temple of Jerusalem with a whip disrupting the traders and dealers who were engaged in their lawful business activities. The Passover period was the most lucrative time of the year for the Temple, for Jerusalem and for the Roman tax collectors. This disruptive action of Jesus caused the Temple and Rome to lose a lot of this revenue.

Jesus also threatened to destroy the Temple. In today’s language this would be seen as a terrorist threat which would be a crime against Roman rule as well as the Temple authorities.

Pilate would have also been informed that Jesus claimed he was the son of God and those who did not believe in him would not go to his Father’s Kingdom of Heaven. In other words, those who did not believe in Jesus, would not have a life hereafter (eternal life) following death. The Temple authorities saw this claim as sacrilege which, under Jewish Law, was punishable by death.

Although Jesus never claimed he had been sent by God to free Judea from Roman rule and would become King when this had been achieved, some of his followers believed he was the ‘Messiah.’ While the Roman Emperor was a God like figure, he was not a God nor was he the son of a God. This means that Jesus had been placed in a more exalted position than the Roman Emperor. Pilate would not have been impressed with that.

For these reasons Pilate would have enough evidence to deem Jesus to be an enemy of Rome and justify confirming the death sentence. Also, let us not forget, that Jesus actually wanted to die so he could fulfill his destiny to save the world from sin. This raises the possibility that Jesus deliberately behaved in such an anti-social and destructive manner to ensure he would be arrested and crucified.   

Pilate would have known Caiaphas in an official capacity and socially as well so he would have no reason to doubt Caiaphas’ judgement and integrity. Therefore, it is reasonable to suggest that Pilate would have co-operated with the Jewish Temple authorities to ensure public order was maintained. So, the most logical thing for Pilate to have done was to confirm the death sentence and order the crucifixion of Jesus to be carried out. End of story.

Why did this not happen? Why was Pilate reluctant to confirm the death sentence of Jesus?

The palaver that embroiled the story from that point onward is simply beyond belief.

First of all, why would Pilate risk his own position and life to save the life of a Jewish preacher who may be a threat to Roman rule in Judea? It was also quite clear that the presence of Jesus in Jerusalem was a threat to public order so the sooner he was dealt with the better. So, what was Pilate’s problem?

It is written that, because Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate sent him to be dealt with by Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea (4 BC to AD 39) who was in Jerusalem for the Passover period. This does not make any sense. Herod’s jurisdiction of Galilee was over a hundred miles north of Jerusalem so he would have no authority in Jerusalem where Jesus committed the offences.  

There are at least two versions of this part of the story. In one version it is written that Herod and his men mocked Jesus and sent him back to Pilate. In another version, it is written that Herod was pleased to meet Jesus because he hoped he would perform a sign or a miracle of some sort. It is also written that after his meeting with Jesus, Herod and Pilate became friends.

Therefore, one or both of these incidents must be a fabrication or an embellishment of some sort and may not reflect the truth. This means we may never know if Pilate really did send Jesus to Herod. But if he did so, Pilate would have compromised his authority as representative of the Roman Emperor. 

In the next part of the story, it is written that after Herod returned Jesus to Pilate, Caiaphas turned up at Pilate’s residence early next morning with a ‘rent a crowd’ baying for the blood of Jesus.

As the representative of the Roman Emperor and an experienced Prefect, Pilate would not have accepted such a demonstration against his administration. Nor would he have allowed himself to be bullied.

Therefore, I believe it is reasonable to state that the first thing Pilate would have done is to order armed soldiers to surround the crowd and arrest Caiaphas. He would then have informed the crowd that they are an illegal assembly which is contrary to public order. Pilate would then have ordered the crowd to disperse or face the full force of Roman Law. This would have brought the confrontation to an end: that is, if there ever was such a confrontation.

It is difficult to believe that Pilate would allow such a situation to develop. Nor would he have compromised his authority by offering the crowd a choice between Jesus and Barabbas. For these reasons I doubt if such a demonstration/confrontation ever took place.

The only event we can be sure of is, of course, the crucifixion of Jesus. But once again, I believe the story has been embellished to some extent.

What follows is my view of what could or may have took place on the day of the crucifixion of Jesus and the two other offenders who were crucified with him.

Here was an opportunity for Pilate to assert his authority as Prefect and reinforce Roman rule in Judea by crucifying all three offenders at the same time. Such a spectacle and act of resolve would show leadership. It would also show the citizens of Jerusalem and visitors to the city for the Passover period who was in charge and what happens to people who mess with Rome. Also, the Romans were efficient and experienced killers so it would be logical to deal with all three offenders at the same time and in the same way.

That is to say the three offenders would have been stripped naked in public view and scourged with whips. The cross beam of the crucifix was then placed across the back of their necks and shoulders like a yoke with arms outstretched and then tied in place. Or could they have actually been yokes of some sort, not the cross beams as written? This made sure the offenders could not cover their nakedness and would suffer the humiliation of being taunted and jeered as they walked past the crowds of onlookers on their way to meet their death.

It is also written that a crown of thorns was fashioned for Jesus and placed on his head causing him further injuries. Was such a crown really made for Jesus? Or is this just another embellishment to the story? I ask this because it seems to be ‘rather convenient’ that a Jerusalem Brier Bush would be growing in or around Pilate’s residence.

It is also written that Jesus wore his own clothes during the walk to the place of crucifixion. I really don’t believe Pilate would have allowed this or treated Jesus any differently to the other two offenders.

On arrival, all three were nailed to their crucifixes with metal spikes.

All three, already traumatized from the scourging, would then have gone into shock and be almost unconscious.

Victims of crucifixions were nailed to the cross in such a way the torso would hang down and away from the upright of the crucifix. This placed a great deal of stress on the shoulder joints, chest and diaphragm causing the victim excruciating pain. In this position, it made it almost impossible for the victims to breathe and had to gasp desperately for each breath.

The poor souls would try to use the leg muscles to push themselves upward to try and make breathing easier but doing so only prolonged the agony. So, in my view, it would have been almost impossible for them to talk or say anything coherent as they waited to die.

And yet, it is written that Jesus was engaged in conversations with the other two offenders, the people who attended his crucifixion and talking to God as well. I cannot see how this was possible!

It was also common practice for the soldiers to shatter the victims lower leg bones with a club to stop them using their leg muscles to help them breath and prolong life.

But they did not do this to Jesus, they speared him with an upward thrust into the groin. It is written that it was done to spare his mother Mary the agony of seeing Jesus legs being shattered in such a barbaric manner. But was thrusting a spear into his groin any less barbaric? Or was it because Jesus needed his legs to walk out of the tomb when he was resurrected from the dead?

Following the death of Jesus at about midday, it is written that the sun stopped shining for about three hours and darkness descended over the whole world. Obviously, it was not an eclipse and whoever wrote that obviously did not know the world was round and when it was daylight on one half of the planet, it was dark on the other. So, what happened?

There would have been widespread panic and fear as the part of the world that should have been in daylight was suddenly completely dark. Are there any written accounts of this phenomenal occurrence recorded in any of the counties West of Judea? If so, what is written?

It is also written that there was an earthquake and the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn apart, tombs opened and the bodies of saints resurrected back to life. All this would have been quite a spectacle if it is the ‘Gospel Truth.’ But, once again, we may never know what really happened that day.

Following the death of Jesus, Pilate gave permission for a man called Joseph from Arimathea to claim the body and prepare it for burial. The body of Jesus was then placed in an unoccupied tomb. Who owned the tomb? Did it belong to Joseph? I suppose it didn’t really matter because Jesus only needed it for three days.

Once Jesus was entombed, the tomb was sealed and temple guards placed outside? This was done on the orders of the Temple authorities to prevent anyone removing the body of Jesus and claiming he had been resurrected from the dead.

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Thirty Pieces of Silver

For almost 2000 years, Judas Iscariot, a disciple of Jesus, has stood convicted of betraying Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. It is written that, in the garden of Gethsemane, Judas identified Jesus to the arresting detachment of soldiers and Temple guards by kissing him on the cheek. But is what is written the ‘Gospel Truth.’

When one examines this story, there are so many inconsistencies about the betrayal and arrest of Jesus. So, it is difficult to be certain what actually occurred that evening during and after the final supper that Jesus shared with his disciples.

First of all, how much was thirty pieces of silver worth in terms of purchasing power? It has been assumed that the coins given to Judas (if indeed any coins were given to him) were Tyrian Shekels, one of the currencies in use in the Temple of Jerusalem at that time. These coins were over 90% pure silver and weighed about 14 grams. However, over time, with constant handling, some of the precious metal wore off the surface of the coins so they were weighed rather than counted to ensure the ‘correct weight’ of the precious metal was transacted.

It has been estimated that, in today’s money, thirty of those coins had a purchasing power of around $US20,000. This is a large sum of money to pay for someone to identify the most popular person in Jerusalem at that time.

But, was it really necessary for The Temple Authorities (The Sanhedrin) to pay any amount of money to someone who could identify Jesus?

The answer is definately not.

This is because, just a few days earlier, Jesus made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding a donkey, an event which is now known as Palm Sunday. It is so named because people threw their cloaks and palm fronds onto the road ahead of Jesus and waved them around in the air as he rode past.

This means that a large crowd of people, which may have included Roman soldiers (if any) on guard duty at the city gates, would have been able to identify Jesus if they saw him again. Even the donkey would have been able to recognize Jesus again.

Also, Jesus entered the Temple and drove out all who were buying and selling commodities in the Temple grounds, overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those who were selling doves. By doing this, Jesus made many enemies (which must have included some of the Temple guards) who, after this incident, would have no difficulty identifying Jesus if they saw him again.

All The Sanhedrin needed to do was send out armed patrols to locate and arrest Jesus. This would not have been difficult. All the patrols had to do was go to where the crowds were gathering to hear Jesus speak. Jesus would have offered no resistance to being arrested because he believed it was part of his destiny.

So, why did The Sanhedrin need Judas to identify Jesus? And why offer him such a large sum of money? It does not make any sense!

There are also inconsistencies regarding who actually went to arrest Jesus. One version stated that Judas, accompanied by a great multitude with swords and clubs from the Chief Priests and the Scribes and the Elders, came to arrest Jesus. Another version stated that Judas came to the grove guiding a detachment of Roman soldiers and officials from the Chief Priest. Yet another version stated that Judas came with a small detachment of Roman soldiers accompanied by The Temple guard.

Then there is the question regarding the disciples being armed and specifically mentioned Peter being armed with a sword which which he cut off the ear of on of the members of the detachment. Why was Peter armed? Would a pacifist like Jesus expect or allow his disciples to be armed? Also, Peter was a simple fisherman who may have been skilled in the use of a fish fileting knife, but a sword?

There is also the question of the ‘Judas kiss.’ One version of the story includes this incident but another version does not.

So, what might have occurred that evening in the garden of Gethsemane?

Let us speculate that sometime during that day, The Sanhedrin sent a messenger to find Judas to ask him to come to the Temple for a meeting. Let us suppose Judas told the messenger he would come to the Temple after supper. So when Jesus and the other disciples decided to walk to the garden of Gethsemane after supper to pray, Judas told them that The Sanhedrin wished to talk to him and he would join them in the garden after his meeting.

At that meeting, let us suppose Judas was advised that Jesus had made many enemies because of his rampage in the Temple and they were now plotting to kill Jesus. But if Judas would agree to take members of the Temple guard along with a small detachment of Roman soldiers to Jesus, they will protect Jesus and see no harm comes to him.

Judas would not have had reason to believe they were not telling the truth and agreed to The Sanhedrin’s proposal and took the detachment to the garden of Gethsemane. Why else would Judas accompany the detachment to Gethsemane? Would he have gone to face Jesus and the other disciples if he was going to betray Jesus? A betrayer would have taken the money and gone into hiding.

When Judas and the detachment arrived in the garden, Judas quickly went to Jesus and, what has been assumed a kiss, may have been Judas quietly informing Jesus the reason for him bringing the detachment to him. But when Jesus was arrested, Judas realized he had been tricked. How terrible Judas must have felt at that moment.

It is written that after Jesus was arrested, Judas returned to the Temple and gave back the thirty pieces of silver and went away to take his own life. But I do not believe that Judas received any money in the first place.

Would The Sanhedrin pay so much money in advance? I don’t think so. Would they pay Judas after Jesus almost immediately identified himself? Why would they? Was bringing the detachment to the garden worth any money in the first place? After all, at least some members of the detachment would have been selected because they knew what Jesus looked like and would recognize him on sight.

Also, Judas left the last supper immediately after Jesus accused him of betrayal so how did he know that Jesus and the disciples would be in the garden? And what would have happened to Judas if they were not in the garden when the detachment arrived?

And, what really happened to Judas after Jesus was arrested? Could it be that Judas was quietly taken away by a couple of the Temple guards before he had a chance to defend himself? Was Judas then murdered by strangulation then ‘strung up’ and his death reported as suicide?

This would have been relatively easy to do because there were no homicide detectives or forensics to prove otherwise. The Sanhedrin then spread the story that a remorseful Judas gave back the thirty pieces of silver he had (supposedly) received to betray Jesus and then taken his own life.

Now let us briefly examine what may have occurred during the final meal Jesus shared with his disciples.

As Jesus was preparing for his last meal with the disciples, he may have felt very sad and melancholy because he knew he was about to leave his disciples to go to fulfill his destiny. Did Jesus also have doubts about having the courage to face the ordeal that was to come?

Did Satan sense Jesus’ vulnerability and seize the opportunity to enter into Jesus not Judas? After all, for a long time, Satan had been trying to corrupt Jesus.

Could this be the reason for such a dramatic change in how Jesus behaved during the supper? What other possible reason would prompt Jesus to expose Judas as a betrayer and Peter as a denying coward in front of everyone present? This was completely out of character for Jesus.

We need to remember that Jesus was a very kind and forgiving ‘turn the other cheek kind of person so why would he name and shame Judas and Peter in such a manner? What did Jesus hope to gain by exposing Judas and Peter? Why would Jesus risk causing discord among the disciples just before he leaves to fulfill his destiny?

Could it be that Satan was influencing Jesus’ behavior to try and forestall Jesus from fulfilling his destiny?

Whichever way one views the story of the arrest of Jesus, it just does not make any sense. I also believe there is sufficient ‘reasonable doubt’ for Judas to be Exonerated by a modern court of law,

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Did Jesus Really Walk on Water???

The story goes that, after Jesus fed the five thousand, he sent his disciples to where their boat was moored somewhere near old Bethsaida (not Bethsaida Julias) while he walked up a mountain for solitude and prayer. The crowd that had been miraculously fed by Jesus’ disciples then broke up and started walking towards Capernaum, a distance of about five or six miles using the Ford across the River Jordan.

Because it was already dark, the most logical thing for the exhausted disciples to do would have been to eat some food (if they had not already done so) and get some much needed rest while they waited for Jesus to meet them after he finished his prayers.

But Jesus did not want the disciples to wait for him and asked them to row their boat across the Sea of Galilee to Capernaum, a distance of about four and a half miles in a North Westerly direction from where they were. When the disciples were about half way across, they found themselves facing strong winds and rough seas which prevented them from making any further headway towards Capernaum.

In the meantime, shortly before sunrise, Jesus arrived at the shore of the Sea of Galilee (it is not known exactly where) and saw his disciples were in trouble so, without hesitation, he walked on the surface of the sea towards the boat which may have been up to two miles from where he was standing on the shore. As Jesus approached the boat, the disciples saw him and were terrified because they thought it was a ghost coming towards them.

But Jesus spoke to them and said “take courage, it is I. Don’t be afraid.” Peter then said to Jesus “if it is really you, command me to walk on the water.” So Peter climbed out of the boat and walked towards Jesus. But Peter became afraid and when he took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink into the sea and called out to Jesus for help.

Jesus caught Peter, reproached him for his lack of faith and led him back to the boat. As soon as Jesus and Peter were on board, the wind dropped and the sea became calm. At this point, according to John, Jesus instantly moved the boat (by telekinesis?) and everyone on board to Capernaum, a distance of about two miles.

When the people who had walked overnight to Capernaum saw Jesus on board the boat they were amazed because they knew that, after Jesus’ disciples fed them, he did not accompany them to the boat but walked up a mountain for solitude and prayer.

Basically, this is the Gospel version of the event. But there could be be a much simpler explanation for this miraculous event.

Let us suppose that, when the disciples arrived on the shore of the sea of Galilee where the boat was moored, they noticed a storm was gathering over the sea so they decided not to put to sea but wait for Jesus to return from his prayers.

In the meantime, during his prayers, Jesus also noticed a storm was gathering over the sea. This worried Jesus so he cut short his prayers and walked to where his disciples were and was relieved to see his disciples had not put to sea in the boat.

After welcoming Jesus, they waited for the storm to abate and then put to sea and rowed to Capernaum. This would not take long on calm waters and when they arrived the crowd who had walked overnight to Capernaum saw Jesus on the boat and were amazed.

From this moment on, speculation and hearsay may have taken hold of the story and a mundane trip across the Northern part of the Sea of Galilee became a miraculous event.

The walking on water miracle is one of the most difficult to rationalize. Also, the distances I have quoted are my ‘best estimates’ based on the information available so I hope they are not too far off the mark.

First of all, human feet do not displace enough water to create buoyancy. Put simply, buoyancy is created when the upward force of displaced water is equal to the downward force of gravity. This cannot be achieved by a person standing upright on water and therefore, the person sinks or swims.

Also, the Sea of Galilee is prone to sudden wind storms so I do not understand why Jesus wanted his disciples to row to Capernaum without him whilst it was still dark.

Did Jesus realize that a storm was due to hit the Sea of Galilee? And, when the storm hit the boat, why didn’t Jesus calm the storm from where he stood on the shore so the disciples could continue their journey to Capernaum? Did Jesus deliberately delay calming the storm so he could ‘grandstand’ and show off his power by walking on the surface of the sea?

Would God allow Jesus to delay helping the disciples when their lives were in danger just so he could walk on water? Such an act could be interpreted as a ‘showy stunt’ that one would not expect the son of God to engage in.

Because the boat was about half way to Capernaum when the storm hit, Jesus may have had to walk up to two miles on the surface of the sea during gale force winds and heavy seas to reach the boat. But the weather did not appear to have any effect on Jesus’ ability to stay on the surface and reach the boat.

How was this achieved under such conditions? If Jesus walked on the surface of the sea, it would have been ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ as Jesus moved up and down with the surface swells and troughs of the waves. But according to the disciples, Jesus appeared ‘like a ghost’ coming towards them.

So, did Jesus really walk on water? Or did he glide ‘like a ghost’ above the surface of the sea? Either way, it is not a feat a human being could perform and adds strength to the legend that Jesus was the son of God.

I seems convenient that the only witnesses to this miracle were his own disciples. The crowd that Jesus’ disciples had fed the day before and walked overnight to Capernaum, only observed that Jesus was on board the boat when it arrived. Because this event occurred about two thousand years ago, it is impossible to separate truth from hearsay and determine what really happened.

However, 1,969 years after the birth of Jesus, technology was developed that allowed men, wearing space suits, to walk upon the surface of the moon.

But, 2,020 years after the birth of Jesus, we still have not developed the technology that allows a man, wearing a robe and sandals, to walk unaided on the surface of the sea.

So it all comes down to faith. The faithful followers of Jesus have the right to believe in the power and the miracles ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels. And, the not so faithful have the right to express doubts about these miraculous events because, even miracles need some form of technology to change the natural into the supernatural.

aquarianmist

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Jesus Feeds 5000 People

This miracle is difficult to summarize because it is not clear at what time of the year the event took place. This information is important because of the hours of available daylight and the day/night temperatures at the time of the event. It is also strange that no mention is made of the Romans. There would have been a garrison and several outposts in the area which may have been patrolled by by Roman soldiers. I am sure the Romans would have kept an eye on the movement of people and would have been interested to know why so many people were leaving the towns and villages and where they were going.

So, it appears likely that this event took place in the Spring around the time of the Passover celebrations in March-April when people were on the move. Hours of daylight in the area of the Sea of Galilee in the Spring average 11 to 13 hours between 6.00 am and 7.00 pm and the average temperature varies from 11 to 30 degrees Celsius. Also, mention is made of how much grass was growing in the area at that time, which is a strong indication of early to mid Spring growth.

The location of the event is not clear either but general opinion is it took place near Bethsaida. There is also doubt about the number of people who where at the event. Some interpretations of the story claim there was 5000 people, not including (or beside) women and children. Does this mean there was only men in the multitude? If not, then the number of people present may have been greater than 5000.

The reason this information is important is because, it is written that, as evening approached, the disciples advised Jesus that they were in a remote place and it was already getting late (perhaps around 3.00 to 5.00 pm) so he should send the crowd away to allow them to go to the villages in the area to buy something to eat and to find lodgings for the night.  Jesus replied “they do not have to go away. You give them something to eat.”

In at least one version of the story Jesus then asked his disciples to separate the crowd into groups of about 50 people. But this would have taken quite some time to organize and as evening was rapidly approaching, any delay could entail feeding the people in the dark. So, I shall go with the version where Jesus did not ask the disciples to separate the multitude into groups, did not refer to women and children but simply asked his disciples to “have the men sit down on the grass.

Miraculously, a boy was standing nearby with a basket containing five loaves of unleavened bread and two fishes. Where did this boy come from? Where were his parents? Jesus asked for the basket to be brought to him. Jesus took the the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, Jesus gave thanks and broke the loaves and gave them with the two fish to his disciples to distribute to the people who were now seated.

This is where the story begins to lack detail. Because the men were now seated, it would have been easier and quicker for Jesus to have the food dropped into the laps of the people in a similar way that ‘manna’ was dropped from heaven. But for some reason, Jesus wanted the disciples to distribute the food. This meant that each disciple had to feed over 400 people.

Also, nothing is written about what species of fish were distributed. The Sea of Galilee is a fresh water lake which supports several species of fish. Did God provide 5000 fish of the same species? Was the fish cleaned, filleted or baked? Or did the people eat raw fish ‘sushi style’? Nor is there any mention of the need for drinking water. Did the crowd carry their own water bags?

So how did the disciples feed the people? Perhaps Jesus took the basket from the boy and miraculously duplicated it so there was 12 baskets full of a never-ending supply of bread and fish. Jesus then passed the baskets to the disciples who walked among the people distributing the contents until the crowd were all fed and satisfied. I state this because, it is written, that there was 12 baskets of left-overs after the crowd had finished eating. So I have to assume this is how the people were fed.

Try to imagine how long it would take each of the 12 disciples to serve over 400 people who were sitting on the ground spread over a large area.

While the disciples were feeding the people, perhaps Jesus was preaching his message to the people.  How Jesus could make his voice heard by 5000 people at the same time from the same spot is a mystery. Some interpretations of the story state that perhaps a wind blowing off the Sea of Galilee would have carried his voice to all the people. Maybe this is possible but the wind may well have distorted his voice instead. So, it may be that, as the disciples walked among the people distributing the food, Jesus was also walking among the people repeating his message as he moved through the the seated crowd.

Because of the lack of detail, this ‘miracle’ story lacks substance and leaves too many unanswered questions. But who am I to raise doubts about a miraculous event that took place 2000 years ago?

aquarianmist

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Water Into Wine – Jesus Style

Continuing with my quest to determine if the Holy Bible really is ‘The Gospel Truth,’ I have read the story of  the first miracle attributed to Jesus at a wedding at Cana in Galilee where, it is written, he changed water into wine.

Jesus, his mother and the disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana. During the wedding feast, the host ran out of wine so Jesus’ mother came to Jesus and told him there was no more wine to drink. Jesus replied ” woman, what has this to do with me? my hour has not yet come.”

However, Jesus’ mother told the servants of the household to do whatever Jesus asked of them. Jesus then asked the servants to fill six twenty to thirty gallon stone water jars with water. After this was done, Jesus asked a servant to draw some water from one of the jars and take it to the host in charge of the festivities.

The servant did as he was asked and offered the water to the host who tasted it and found it to be fine wine. The host then called the bridegroom and said “everybody sets out the fine wine first and then, when the guests are intoxicated, serve the cheap wine but you are serving the fine wine last.”

It is not known how many guests were at the wedding celebration but there was now an extra 120 to 180 gallons of wine available for the guests to drink. Whichever way one looks at it, this was a lot of booze to get through in one day.

We all know that alcohol abuse has been a curse for mankind from the very beginning and has been responsible for ruining may lives, causing many deaths and is a big factor in domestic violence against women.

Because of this, it is difficult to understand why God would allow Jesus to turn water into wine so that people can become intoxicated, misbehave and make fools of themselves.

We also know that fresh water is the life blood of the plants and animals (including Human beings) that live on land and without it, life on Earth would not be be as we know it today. Therefore, fresh water has to be the greatest gift God gave to Planet Earth. So why would God allow the water of life to be turned into the ‘demon drink?’

But Jesus’ use of wine did not end there. It is written that, during his last supper with the disciples, Jesus likened and compered his own blood to wine and encouraged his disciples to drink it in his memory. Why would anyone (let alone the Son of God) compare their blood to an alcoholic beverage.

It doesn’t make any sense.

aquarianmist

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Lazarus – What Really Happened

As part of my quest to discover if the Holy Bible really is the ‘Gospel Truth,’ I have read the story of the resurrection of Lazarus.

I have been unable to find anything written about how Lazarus felt after what happened to him. So, I have tried to put myself into Lazarus’ sandals and imagine what he may have said to Jesus after he was resurrected from the dead.

Maybe Lazarus spoke to Jesus saying “I thought you were my friend, yet when my sisters sent word to you from Bethany that I was very ill and may die, you said I would not die and made no attempt to come to see me but carried on performing miracles and healing the sick in the place where you were.”

“But I did die and my death caused my family a great deal of emotional trauma and were left with no option but to prepare my body and seal it in my tomb. By the time you arrived in Bethany Jesus, I had been dead for four days and my family were still mourning my passing. As for me, my immortal soul was settling down in God’s Kingdom of Heaven when you suddenly brought me back to this ‘hell hole.’ “Jesus, are these the actions of a friend?”

The big question is this: why would God allow Jesus to let his friend die so he could ‘grandstand’ and ‘show off’ his power by bringing Lazarus back to life four days after his death? What was the point of doing this? Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’ family’s grief by going to Bethany as quickly as possible and healing him. Isn’t this what a true friend would do?

Because the incident occurred 2000 years ago, it is impossible to verify what really happened. But given that, even with today’s modern medical miracles, we still cannot bring back to life someone who has been dead for four days, one is left with feelings of doubt.

Perhaps I am ‘yea of little faith.’

aquarianmist

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All the Kingdoms of the Earth

As stated in my last post, I now question if the Bible really is the ‘Gospel Truth.’ Some believers may feel offended by my statement but it is not my intention to offend anyone. All I am trying to do is seek the truth about Jesus Christ and, because it all happened 2000 years ago, it will not be an easy task.

As a starting point, I will examine Jesus’ period in the desert where he fasted for 40 days and forty nights without food, water or shelter. Most of us would be lucky to survive 10 days in such a climate without food, water or shelter but Jesus is ‘the son of God’ so he was able to do what is completely beyond normal human endurance.

But Jesus was not the first person to fast for 40 days and forty nights in such a climate. Moses climbed Mount Sinai and remained up there without food water or shelter for 40 days and 40 nights and came down with the Ten Commandments from God. Also, after Noah had loaded the Ark with the animals and his family, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Noah, of course, had food, water and shelter within the Ark during that period.

I now wonder if the period ’40 days and 40 nights’ has some sort of religious significance? Or is it the number 40 that has significance because the ‘chosen people of God’ wandered around for 40 years looking for the promised land. Or perhaps they are all simply ‘unrelated coincidences.’

Setting aside those questions, on his last day of fasting, Satan appeared before Jesus and tempted him to turn stones into bread. Jesus refused. Satan then took Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple and asked him to ‘cast himself down’ as he himself had been cast down from heaven. Again Jesus refused.

Satan then took Jesus to a very high mountain and showed him all the Kingdoms of the Earth laid out before him. Satan did not ‘name’ any of these Kingdoms but promised Jesus authority over them if he bowed down and worshiped him. Once again, Jesus refused.

It would be impossible to see ‘all the Kingdoms of the Earth’ from a high mountain or even from the summit of Mount Everest. This is because when God made the world, he made it round and rotate on its axis as it orbited the Sun. Therefore, Satan would have to take Jesus into ‘orbit’ around the Earth to point out ‘all the Kingdoms of the Earth’ to him.

Also, one would have thought Satan would have pointed out some of the Kingdoms to Jesus saying “look these Kingdoms worship Idols and Statues and those Kingdoms sacrifice human beings to appease their ‘Gods.’ To which Jesus may have replied “All these things I know; this is why my father has sent me.” This of course, did not appear to happen.

This indicates that the person who wrote the story of the temptation of Jesus believed the world was flat and had no knowledge of these other Kingdoms of the world. And therefore, in the story, Satan and Jesus would also believe the world was flat and have no knowledge of these other Kingdoms either.

Jesus appears to have confirmed this belief when he commissioned his disciples to ‘preach the Gospel to the ends of the Earth.’ The phrase ‘to the ends of the Earth’ originated from the time when it was generally believed that the world was flat and if you travelled in the same direction for long enough, you would reach the end of the Earth and fall off into the abyss.

Therefor, I feel it is reasonable to state that, if Jesus really was the son of God, he would have known the world was round and would have commissioned his disciples to ‘preach the Gospel to all the Kingdoms around the world.

 

aquarianmist

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I am Man – I am (not) Invincible

About a year ago I was diagnosed with a serious heart condition which cannot be fixed by surgical intervention. This means I have to rely on medications to control the condition. In other words, I am stuck with it. When the cardiologist advised my of my illness I said no, this is not possible, this sort of thing always happens to the other fellow not to me, I am superman, I am invincible.

We all know that once we are born, one day we shall die: as one wag put it “nobody gets out of life alive.” But I have never given my mortality much thought and continued to live in the belief that I am invincible. But now, when I try to ‘leap tall buildings in a single bound’ or run ‘faster than a speeding locomotive,’ I usually end up being taken by ambulance to the hospital Emergency Department.

After several such trips to the hospital ED, it dawned on me that the cardiologist may be right and I do have a serious heart condition.

These trips to the hospital ED also made me realize that, while paramedics are angels of mercy, ambulance trips are are cramped, noisy and bumpy and patients do not accrue frequent flyer reward points. Also, when I arrive at the ED by ambulance, I jump the queue and other patients have to wait longer for treatment which made me feel like a nuisance.

I also realized that being ‘wired up’ in ED is not the place to be if I want a good night’s sleep or need to take a pee. On one visit, the hospital administrator turned up with the discharge papers to be signed  and asked if I had a ‘power of attorney’ in place or had signed a ‘do not resuscitate form.’ I felt like saying “come back when I am dead and I will sign the form.” But I just shook head in silence and stayed out of trouble.

The end result of my own folly is, when I am home alone, I have to wear an ambulance ‘alert’ button around my neck to summon the paramedics in an emergency. I also have to wear a medical ID dog tag in case I am unconscious when the paramedics arrive. Isn’t the aging process bloody wonderful.

Then cam the Covid-19 lock down. Being a ‘high risk’ category patient I was well and truly grounded and had to learn how to behave myself.

My imposed isolation gave me the opportunity to catch up on all the neglected little maintenance jobs in and around the house. I also looked for something else to occupy my time during isolation and decided to research my family history and put together a family tree.

Researching my dead ancestors made me more acutely aware of my own (self denied) mortality which, in turn, triggered the urge to explore the immortality of my soul and eternal life promised by Jesus Christ.

I soon found myself in trouble because the more versions of the Biblical story Jesus I read and watched on television, the more ‘improbable the story became.

So I now find myself asking if the Bible really is the ‘Gospel Truth.’

I do not consider myself to be a religious man in terms of church dogma, nor am I an outright atheist but see myself sand an ‘open thinker.’ This thinking makes me wonder if there is a greater power at work somewhere in the universe that we humans have not yet discovered.

Also, if UFO sightings are genuine and there is no reason to believe they are not, there has to be other ‘blue’ planets out there that are, at present, beyond our reach. If the universe is made up of the same elements that gave us life, then those planets will be populated with people similar to us and ‘alien monsters’ belong in the realms of ‘science fiction.’

Because of UFO visits to Earth, people from those planets must be far more technologically advanced than we are. This make me wonder if the populations of those planets have similar primitive social structures and beliefs as ours or, are they more sophisticated and without prejudice, poverty or crime and punishment.

I often imagine that such a society will one day ‘inherit the Earth’ and will all live together in peace and harmony.

I am not disparaging the beliefs of other people and, in some ways, I envy their convictions. But, somewhere out there is the answer to the enigma of our creation and one day we shall discover it. But alas, not during the time I have left. After all, I am man – I am (not) invincible.

aquarianmist

 

 

 

 

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HE TOO

Is the ‘outing’ of Charlie Sheen by Cory Feldman the start of an ‘He Too’  movement?

aquarianmist

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Parents in England face prison for keeping kids out of LGBT lessons

Yes, Gays Are Bullies

The UK state education system is imposing more and more extreme LGBT indoctrination on kids at a younger and younger age. They have only got to step into school for the first time aged five, to be surrounded by story books and posters telling them sheer lies  – such as that a baby can have “two mothers” or that people can “change sex”. They are faced with cross-dressing teachers, imaginary “gay history” and nonsense about “gender unicorns”.

In some parts of England, parents are mobilizing to resist the ever-worsening war on children’s minds. 

At Parkfield school in Birmingham, parents, mainly Muslim, have protested outside the school and have been legally banned by a court hearing from holding any more demonstrations – which is a violation of their legal rights. But then, so is the so-called “Relationships and Sex Education”. By UK law and under Human Rights legislation, parents are supposed…

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