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Common Questions About Jesus' Death, Burial and Resurrection

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Even though people have heard some of the same sermons and teachings over the years about Jesus' crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, they still have questions about those events.

Below are some common questions people are still puzzled about. One or more of your questions might be listed and answered.


Questions About Jesus' Crucifixion

People, and even Christians, ask why Jesus had to die on the cross. It was God's plan of redemption. Had Jesus not redeemed us on the cross, we would not be forgiven for our sins. God came to earth as the human Jesus to be one of us to save all of us. In order to do that, God's plan was for Jesus to take on all of our sins on the cross.

Secondly, Jesus' death on the cross was prophesied long before He was born. His death on the cross fulfilled the Scriptures.

Why was Barabbas set free instead of Jesus?

It was a custom that a prisoner be set free during every holiday. The people chose to crucify Jesus who was not guilty and to set Barabbas free who was guilty.

Where did the vinegar come from that Jesus was offered it while He hung on the cross?

It was common for vinegar, gall, or cheap wine to be on hand for those being crucified to dull their pain. “They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink” (Matthew 27:34).

Why did Jesus refuse the vinegar at first?

Jesus refused the vinegar so He could go through the normal pains of crucifixion. When He came close to death, He said, "I thirst" (John 19:28) because of the loss of body fluids through sweat and open body. Jesus wanted to say His final words, but His parched lips and almost closed throat needed moisture. Therefore, He accepted the vinegar that was put on His lips with a sponge attached to a long stick.

Why was there a rush to crucify Jesus?

The religious leaders wanted to do it before Passover started.

Why did Jesus have an unfair and illegal trial?

There were at least eight reasons Jesus' trial was illegal.

  1. The Sanhedrin had plotted to kill Jesus before the trial. They had already made up their mind to find Jesus guilty. The High Priest Caiaphas said before the trial that it was necessary for Jesus to die for the entire nation. The Sanhedrin council never should have held the trial because the members were His accusers.
  2. It was illegal to have a capital trial at night. When a person's life was at stake the trial could only be held during the day.
  3. According to Jewish law, a trial starts when witnesses come forward on their on accord to testify. The Sanhedrin went out to look for witnesses after the trial had already started.
  4. The Sanhedrin accepted false witnesses even when they knew they were not telling the truth.
  5. In capital cases, the outcome or judgment should have been delayed until the next day. It was illegal for the Sanhedrin to pronounce judgment immediately.
  6. It was illegal for a trial to take place on the day before the Sabbath or before a holy day. The Sanhedrin council should not have even been meeting during that particular time.
  7. Jesus' testimony was never considered. When Jesus was put under oath, He acknowledged He was the Messiah. His words caused the Sanhedrin to say He was guilty of death. They never believed Jesus was telling the truth.
  8. No evidence was allowed to be given on Jesus' behalf. They made their judgment without proof of Jesus' innocence or guilt.

Why weren't Jesus' legs broken before He died?

Usually, the legs would be broken to speed up death. It was prophesied that Jesus' legs would not be broken. There was no need to break His legs because He had already died. That fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy that the Messiah's bones would remain unbroken (Psalm 34:19–20).

Which of Jesus' disciples were witnesses to His crucifixion?

Only John, Jesus' beloved disciple was at the foot of the cross during the first part of His crucifixion. However, Jesus told John to take His mother home (John 19:25-29). Therefore, neither Mary the mother of Jesus nor any of His disciples actually saw Jesus die on the cross. The other disciples had scattered during that time.

Jesus Burial Place That Belonged to Joseph of Arimathea

Jesus Burial Place That Belonged to Joseph of Arimathea

Questions About Jesus' Burial

Where did the tomb come from that Jesus was buried in?

When Jesus died on the cross, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus' body and give it a proper burial. After the body was taken down, Joseph of Arimathea was helped by Nicodemus to wrap Jesus' body in cloth with myrrh and aloes.

Both Pharisees buried Jesus in Joseph of Arimathea's new tomb which was protected by a heavy stone rolled against the opening.


Questions About Jesus' Resurrection

Why is it not biblical to say, "Jesus got up from the grave?"

Romans 10:9 says:

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."

Jesus did not get up on His own. To say, "He got up" minimizes what really happened. It also leaves God out of this most sacred event in Christianity.

When I was first licensed as a new preacher back in 1995 and was invited to preach on Easter Sunday morning, the older pastor asked me if I knew how to get Jesus up from the grave.

There were times recorded in the Bible when Jesus got up, but His resurrection was not one of those times. "Jesus got up" from his sleeping position at the bottom of the boat during a terrible storm when His disciples were afraid (Mark 4:38-40). Jesus usually taught in a sitting position. "Jesus got up" from sitting and teaching the multitudes during His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, Chapters 5, 6, and 7. After He had finished, "He got up."

To say, "Jesus got up" during His resurrection only includes Jesus. The entire Trinity was involved in Jesus' resurrection. Jesus, the Son of God was crucified on the cross. God, the Father raised Him from the dead on the third day by the power of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.

It is powerless to say, "Jesus got up."

It is powerful to say, "God raised Jesus from the dead."

Jesus refuted the statement that He got up. He Himself said:

"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32).

How to account for the three days between Jesus' crucifixion and His resurrection?

A popular question people ask and often debate is how it could have been three days from the time Jesus was crucified on the cross on Friday until He was resurrected on Sunday morning. While the question might sound complex, the answer is quite simple.

Jesus taught:

"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:40)

That time was not as we know it with 24 hours being one day. According to the way Jewish time is computed, any part of a day is counted as a whole day.

Day 1: Jesus died at 3 p.m. on Friday.
Day 2: Jesus was in the grave on Saturday.
Day 3: Jesus rose on Sunday morning.

Jesus died and rose from the grave on the third day just as He said He would (1 Corinthians 15:4).

Nail Print in Jesus' Hand

Nail Print in Jesus' Hand

Why didn't Mary Magdalene recognize Jesus after His resurrection?

Mary Magdalene, a devout follower of Jesus, did not recognize Him in the garden because of her grief. Because He was in the garden, she thought He was a gardener. She recognized Him only after He called her name (John 20:11-18).

Does Jesus still have the nail prints in His hands and feet and the hole in His side?

Yes, He does. Jesus' scars were the proof Jesus used to convince His disciples, especially doubting Thomas, that it was truly Him (John 20:24-29).

According to Acts 1:11, two men dressed in white said, "Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Therefore, Jesus will return the same way He left with nail prints in His hands and feet.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.