. . . They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, though it was made to appear like that to them . . . (Qur’an: 4:157)
Despite the gruesome nature of death by crucifixion, Easter is a time of hope and renewal. It represents the refusal of the human spirit to bow down to tyranny. It symbolizes the total failure of the powerful to control and suppress the inconvenient truth. In effect, the Easter mocks the tyrants; it laughs at their foolish belief that truth can be killed or “disappeared.”
They thought they had murdered the troublesome Jewish peasant, and, indeed, for all intents and purposes they were perfectly justified in believing so. Didn’t they nailed him to the cross? Didn’t they see him die in front of their own eyes? From a severely limited and short-term view of reality, he was indeed dead. They had indeed killed him. And yet, they had made a major miscalculation. They had underestimated the power of truth to survive all efforts at deception and terror.
Did they kill him or not? The answer depends on what one means by the words “kill” and “him.” If the verb “kill” means to stop the vital processes of a living organism, and if the pronoun “him” refers to the material body of a Jewish peasant, then the answer is yes. But this is hardly the end of the story.
If the word “kill” means to somehow prevent the truth from continuing to arise in a way that troubles the powerful, and if the pronoun “him” refers not to the material body of a Jewish peasant but to what he represented, symbolized, and taught, then the answer is no! That would have been impossible, for God exalts the truth and debases falsehood.