By Odi Ikpeazu
From the age of three months, the preacher told me that Jesus died and rose on the third day. By the time I was thirteen years old, the story was firmly cast in my mind like concrete.
When I reached the Age of Reason at about sixteen and began comparatively studying Man and his numerous Beliefs, I ran into several writings, which were roughly contemporaneous with the Synoptic gospels, that documented different accounts of those long-ago events in Judea.
A few of them maintained that Jesus did not die on that fateful day in Golgotha. Some claimed he was swapped! Some claimed he was actually crucified but survived the ordeal and eventually brought down alive. Mind you, I am not vouching for those accounts, or any other for that matter. I am just considering them.
When I first read those accounts, my initial reaction was that of surprise but almost immediately, it was replaced by unbridled joy. You need to see how relieved I was at the suggestion that Jesus did not die that horrible and despicable death. The fact that his death was supposed to be for my sake didn’t help matters and had always filled me with a sense of guilt rather than triumph. To have an innocent genius wasted for sins I am even yet to commit, seemed to me most unkind.
You see, from babyhood, I dearly loved the character of Jesus and so the possibility that he may have survived the harrowing crucifixion gave me an undescribable sense of relief and euphoria. But my friends and family emphatically didn’t think so. They thought it was most hideously blasphemous for me to even imagine his suurvival.
I was frankly amazed how happy we all were that he died. We so loved the idea that he died for our sins that we may be saved and most definitely would never consider the possibility that he may have survived, which by the way, millions believe was the case. Most of us love the life of Jesus but love his death infinitely more, which is probably bizarre in many ways.
But when I come to think of it, shouldn’t people ideally die for their own sins? Why would anyone do the crime and have someone else do the time? Well, I must admit, it’s all really very convenient, even smart!
I do not question people’s faiths and beliefs. Or even lack of it. Every faithful is totally entitled to their faith, be they Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Amadiohaist, etc.
Yet, even as a child, I always wondered why anyone would create their own enemy and give him almost equal power as himself. Was it some form of generosity? That would be self-defeating. Or mistake? That would seriously compromise omnipotence. Or just a divine game? That would be taking playfulness to the maximum! He has power to do anything and has dominion over all things. And of all those things he could do, he chose to create his own worst foe all by himself! Amazing!
And come to think of it once again, , why would he kill his only son, in whom he is well pleased, instead of choking out his worst enemy, Satan, whose occupation is the destruction of his wonderful creation?
Well, I guess it all comes with the territory of working in mysterious ways!!