Many people accept that the man Jesus died by crucifixion.

But not everyone does. Some believe that Jesus never existed. So it makes sense that they also believe that Jesus didn’t die. How can someone die if they didn’t exist?

Others believed Jesus lived, but didn’t die by crucifixion. One of the most famous teachers of such a theory is Muhammad, the prophet of Islam. The Koran says: ‘That they said (in boast), “We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah.;- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:- Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise. And there is none of the People of the Book but must believe in him before his death; and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them’ (Ali translation).

So why do so many people believe Jesus did die and that Jesus died by crucifixion? Many people have examined the eye-witness accounts of Christ’s death and concluded that they are a true and accurate record of what took place more than two thousand years ago.

What are the eye-witness accounts? Each of the gospel writers in the Bible gives a detailed account of Christ’s death. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John describe Christ’s crucifixion, his final breath and the burial of his dead body. I encourage you to read them for yourselves, it won’t take long and would be a good use of the public holidays our government has granted you over the next few days.

But why would people be so anxious to deny the death of Christ? Well, if Christ didn’t die, then his death didn’t pay for your sins and so you don’t need to look to Christ.

Paul teaches us about the implications of Christ’s death: ‘You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!’ (Romans 5:6-9). If Jesus died, then those who believe in him are justified before God. They no longer stand in their sins, but stand on Christ’s righteousness.

Whereas if Christ didn’t die, then there is no need to follow him. Instead you should follow someone else if you wish to escape God’s wrath. And there are many religions that are happy to point you to someone other than Christ.

But there is very good evidence that Christ did die and that, if you trust in him, you can have forgiveness of sins.

So what do you say? Did Jesus die? Did Jesus die by crucifixion? Did Jesus die in the place of sinners as a sacrifice for sin? Do you trust in Christ’s death so that your sins are forgiven?