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SatouKimu's avatar

What if Jesus didn't want to die? Would that change anything?

Asked by SatouKimu (121 points ) September 7th, 2011

Just a random thought. Because I don’t know too much about the Jewish or the Christian view on this, I’m just thinking of Jesus as a normal human, and if, as a normal human did, he didn’t want to die, would that change anything in your belief, and would it alter anything that is written in the bible?

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38 Answers

dreamwolf's avatar

If he didn’t want to die, he would not have displayed sacrifice, and the prophecy of the son, being sowed down upon man wouldn’t be.

Hibernate's avatar

If Jesus didn’t want to die then He wouldn’t be the on e the prophecies were talking about so another had to show up.

dreamwolf's avatar

@SatouKimu There is one slight flaw in your thinking however. You are claiming not all humans want to die, which is not a definite statement. For instance, the U.S. trains its military to prepare for the ultimate outcome and stay alive, at the same time, they know that dying is the ultimate sacrifice, therefore they know they might die.

RareDenver's avatar

There is a difference between wanting to die and accepting one’s death. I had always assumed that it was taught he accepted his death as opposed to willed for his death.

flutherother's avatar

This raises the question of just how human Jesus was. If he remembered his divine origin he wouldn’t have the same fear of death as the rest of us and so his sacrifice would be less.

harple's avatar

“O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”

Of course, that’s just one take on it…

choreplay's avatar

@flutherother but even so, would you willfully go through what he did, being beaten and nailed to wood? This question is incomplete without considering the perspective of parents and children. His death is representative of a sacraficial love for our children. My not wanting to lose my life for anything and being willing to give my life for my child can exist parallel and are not the same.

With regard to Christ, he didn’t want to die (see quote in @harple post) and that was the humanity in him.

LostInParadise's avatar

If given the opportunity to rule the universe, I would have willingly undergone the ordeal that Jesus went through.

JLeslie's avatar

@dreamwolf @Hibernate Whose prophecy? The Jews don’t accept Jesus as the messiah. Are you talking about a prophecy in the old testament?

yoshiboshi's avatar

I guess it depends on what you mean by “want”. Perhaps he didn’t want to suffer and die, but perhaps he wanted to die so he can be a symbol of hope to his people?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

Going by what’s written in the bible, he didn’t want to die, and went so far as to beg God, his father, to spare him just hours before he was arrested. He accepted his “fate” and let himself be sent to the cross in order to save his people. Just because he allowed it to happen, doesn’t mean that he actually wanted to be tortured and killed.

SavoirFaire's avatar

As has been said above, Jesus is depicted as being willing to die rather than as wanting to die. That’s why his acts are considered to be a sacrifice. Even if we do not like @SatouKimu‘s original wording, however, the intent can be reinstated.

What if Jesus had been unwilling to die? What if he had used all of his remaining strength to try avoiding death? Would that change anything?

@dreamwolf By the way, @SatouKimu did not say that all humans want to avoid death but rather that normal humans want to avoid death. “Normal” is a statistical concept, and I think it’s pretty clear that most humans try to avoid death.

mazingerz88's avatar

I don’t know. Did he really want to die?

Nullo's avatar

Jesus wasn’t terribly keen on it, actually.

From Matthew 26:
36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed. 38 Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”

39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 40 And He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? 41 Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 43 Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more.

It is suggested elsewhere that He had a way out of crucifixion, but chose not to take it.

“For God so loved the world…”

@JLeslie The Jews as a whole not accepting Jesus as the Messiah at that time doesn’t affect the fact. Indeed, prophecy (Isaiah, I think) states that the disbelief was the expected outcome.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo Huh? The Jews feel Jesus came close, but did not fulfill all the necessary criteria. That is why Jews don’t believe he was the messiah. So I am guessing according to the old testament Jesus Did not fulfill the requirements put forth by the Old Testament. But, the reason I ask my question above, is to understand whether the prophecies being referred to were those already written in the Old Testament, or prophecies in the New Testament that Christians say were fulfilled. Remember my knowledge of religion is fairly limited, so I ask out of pure ignorance and curiousity.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie IIRC the only ones left pertain to the End of the World. Can’t really rush that, ya know? :D
This looks to be a fairly exhaustive list of prophecies about Jesus in the Hebrew Scriptures, and their fulfillment in the New Testament. (Some of them are not explicit prophecies, but rather Christ-analogues, either in physical representation or significant content.)
Less exhaustive but perhaps more generally insightful is the GotQuestions article on the subject.

For a prophecy about who Jesus is to have any validity, it must be rooted in the Old Testament. Prophecies in the New Testament relate to other things.

Roby's avatar

My thought are this: All the people responsible for caring out the prophecy of Jesus dyeing; where they doomed to hell? If it took them to see the prophecy fulfilled even down to Judus. Did they all go to hell for haveing a part in killing Jesus when it took them for it to be so. So if he had not of died, I don’t know what the world would be like.

Nullo's avatar

@Roby Nope. They were damned (unless redeemed – not unheard of) by their own hands – in other matters!
See, all it takes is one lie, one instance of petty theft, to make the original sin debate moot.

flutherother's avatar

In his Three Versions of Judas Jorge Luis Borges speculates if Judas Iscariot might be the true Saviour rather than Jesus.

dreamwolf's avatar

@JLeslie The Jews don’t accept Jesus as their king and savior? I’m a Messianic Jew. Which is to say, I’m of Jewish blood and descendant. Look us up, there are many of us in the U.S. especially along the East Coast. :D

Nullo's avatar

@dreamwolf Thanks for bringing that up. I had intended to put in in my own post, but, obviously, I didn’t :]

Figures that the heretical alternate interpretation of Judas’ role would be the more popular one.

mrrich724's avatar

You’re nobody ‘til somebody kills you.

But seriously, Jesus’ message is all about love and sacrifice. And his sacrifice was the ultimate display of his love.

talljasperman's avatar

@mrrich724 If Jesus was God or all powerful… then wouldn’t his sacrifice be considered suicide?

plethora's avatar

@mrrich724 His sacrifice was the ransom for those he redeemed. And His message is not all about love and sacrifice. A big part of His message is about coming to God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), and about denouncing pretenders, and about Hell.

@talljasperman No Trinity

Nullo's avatar

@talljasperman Nope. Self-sacrifice is when you arrange your death to benefit others. Dying so that others might live. Spock, at the end of The Wrath of Khan, sacrificed himself for the crew of the Enterprise by going into the insanely irradiated reactor control booth to bring the warp drive back online, permitting the ship to reach minimum safe distance from the Genesis device.

Suicide is done solely for the dubious benefit of the victim. Just plain ol’ dying. If you should happen to commit suicide in hopes that your family can live on the life insurance money, that’s still sacrifice, not suicide.

JLeslie's avatar

@dreamwolf I have friends who are Messianic Jews. I have no problem with the religion, because I think people can believe and identify with whatever religion they want. But, most Jews feel if someone accepts Christ as their savior they are Christians. However, I am sure there are observant Jews who don’t consider reformed Jews to be Jewish, so hey, live and let live. I really don’t think a Messianic Jew or a Jew for Jesus is considered to be Jewish by most of the population. You say you are Jewish blood, I am curious how much? And if your parents raised you Jewish? Most Messianic Jews I know were raised as Christians and became Messianic Jews.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo So, according to your religion the Messianic Jews are going to heaven, they are Christian enough?

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie Salvation is quite simple – which was the whole point. Romans 10:9–10 says, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.”
Then you can skip over a few books to Ephesians 2:8–9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo I just find that some Christians don’t think the Catholics, the Mormons, or Jehovah’s are Christian, or Christian enough, so I figure those particular Christians also think the Messianic Jews are not Christian enough either.

plethora's avatar

@JLeslie “Christian enough” really doesn’t apply. You either are or you’re not Christian. I personally know a number of Catholic Christians. I also know plenty of non-Christian Baptists. Both Mormons and Jehovahs Witnesses teach a false religion, claim to be Christian, but are, by definition, cults. Just to be clear, neither a Hindu nor a Jew claims to be Christian. If I have confused you, pls note. Thanks

JLeslie's avatar

@plethora :) So, where do you stand on the Messianic Jews? And, what makes a Catholic Christian or not in your opinion? I disagree the Mormons are a cult. Jehovah’s are closer to cult like, unless they have changed some of their ways in the last 20 years. A girlfriend of mine was raised Jehovah, and because of it was not allowed to go to college. For me that is isolating and stunts personal growth, so that is why I am more likely to put them in the cult category, but even with them I hesitate to use the word.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie What @plethora said. Catholicism, JW-ism, and Mormonism are not conducive to salvation, though at least in the case of the Catholics, the core doctrine still works.
I tend to consider Mormonism a cult because it has the Bible play second fiddle to the Book of Mormon, advocates beliefs and practices that are not supported Biblically, and in some cases actually, explicitly, contradicts the Word of God.
See here for more info.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo To me you have an argument for why Christians may not accept Mormons as Christians, but not that they are a cult. My Mormon friends played with us non-Mormons, went to school with us, they did not shun non-Mormon relatives. Sure the more fanatical my ostracize a member of the family if they left the church, like pretty much any religion. They do tend to be rather clannish, but it is understandable. They prefer their children to be surrounded by people with similar values and influences.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie There’s wacky cults and normal cults. Mormons, owing to a general lack of human sacrifice, snake-handling, and anachronistic modes of dress, are among the more normal.
Walter Martin, author of The Kingdom of the Cults references a definition of cults as religious groups which “differ significantly in one or more respects as to belief or practice from those religious groups which are regarded as the normative expressions of religion in our total culture”, and goes on to add,

“A cult might also be defined as a group of people gathered about a specific person or person’s misinterpretation of the Bible… The Mormons, by their own admission, adhere to those interpretations found in the writings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and continued by their current President, called the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. From a theological viewpoint, the cults contain many major deviations from historical Christianity.”

Many UCC-affiliated churches also qualify as cults per this definition.

JLeslie's avatar

@Nullo I think you want to think of them as a cult, but I don’t want to put words in your mouth. I don’t find much difference between them and the other Abrahamic religions when taken to an extreme, and I do consider Mormons Christians personally, but also do separate them out typically as I do Catholics from other Chrstians like Baptists and Methodists, etc. There are plenty of mainstream/moderate Mormons, like there are Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc.

Cult has a negative connotation, even if you use a soft definition to justify the term. The general populations envisions people in cults being isolated from normal society.

mrrich724's avatar

@talljasperman I don’t contest your statement. I’m simply stating one viewpoint. There are way too many contradictions in organized religion (not just Catholicism, or Christianity in general) that one could spend time questioning. Which is why I don’t tend to spend time and effort with things like church and other “organized religious” activities.

One example IS the trinity… Polytheisticism is wrong, yet we are justified in believing in “The Trinity,” our THREE GODS IN ONE!

@plethora yes, his sacrifice was a ransom. But his message was all about love. God loved us so much he gave us his son Jesus to die for our sins . . . b/c although we should come to God, and avoid hell, we are imperfect and will stray anyway. Jesus loved us so much he had the CHOICE to sacrifice himself or not, and still did it so we may be saved regardless of our faults . . . as long as we were truly doing our best.

Nullo's avatar

@JLeslie Wanting doesn’t figure into it; Mormonism is a cult since they adulterate the Word of God. I suppose that we could say that cults are somewhere between Christianity and a different religion, since Judaism is not a cult.
Perhaps the distinction is meaningless to you, but when you have some very simple, very specific criteria for salvation and reunion with God (incidentally halting eternal death and damnation), and someone changes those and says it’s the same thing, we have a pretty serious distinction.
Mormonism is to Christianity what fanfiction is to Star Trek.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Let’s take the off-topic discussions to an appropriate thread. Please stick to discussing the original question. Thanks!

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