Thursday, April 17, 2014

How did Jesus die?

Many views have been expressed by theologians and Church Fathers, on how Jesus Christ died on the Cross. Many heretics (monophysites) have expressed different views, according to their beliefs. Did the Son of God suffer on the Cross? Could he feel pain? Christos Yannaras in his book Elements of Faith explains the Orthodox view on this matter:

“…None of this means that for Christ death was exempt from the pain and horror which every human creature has at the uncoupling of this hypostasis from the way in which nature gives effect existentially to this hypostasis. Christ did not simply die, but summarized in his death all the tragedy which can be heaped up by man’s sin, the existential failure and missing the mark of his nature: His fellow people repaid him hatred and death, they who received from him only love and kindness. They killed him with violence and degradation, in the way in which criminals were executed, those who are especially unsuccessful in human society. They put him up between two robbers like a criminal himself. He died with the martyr death of the cross – a death of extreme pain when the body, no longer tolerating to be supported on the wounds of the nails in order to raise the chest and to draw breath, surrenders to suffocation and choking. ‘And through all these things he showed his love for us’”. (p. 110-111)


  1. I left a comment on this post a few days ago, but it does not appear. Was it rejected for some reason?

  2. Dear David...I have checked the blog and my emails..I cannot find any other comment sent to this post...! For some reason it did not come throught to me..! Would you like to send it again..? Don't understand what happened..!

    1. Dear Demetris

      I think possibly it was because I wasn't properly logged in using my Google ID.

      My Comment was as follows (more or less - I didn't keep a copy)

      I have always been troubled by the elevation of Jesus's suffering on the cross to be something exceptional. How many good and innocent people have died terrible and painful deaths in the last century, never mind the last two millenia? Are their deaths less worthy, or less terrible, because they were not the Son of God? Or do we think that Jesus suffered much more terribly on the cross, because he was the Son of God?

  3. Interesting questions..! I don't think that we believe that he suffered more..! we just point the fact that mankind killed the Son of God..! Which is a contradiction if we think about it..! And he died not for Himself, but for us..! If we are to connect God and mankind then we could probably claim that His death on the cross summarises the deaths of millions of people threw the ages..! Nevertheless, the deaths of so many during human history is of course a terrible reality..!

  4. Another way to think about this. Jesus the man dies as a man at a particular time and place. But the body of Christ is eternal, and is being continually crucified in the deaths of innocents throughout history. In that sense humanity continues to crucify Christ for as long as we commit (or allow to be comitted) horrors such as the Holocaust or the dropping of atomic bombs on Japan, and the Body of Christ continues to suffer.

  5. In the Orthodox Church we continuously state: 'Today He is Crucified...', 'Today He is born...' The Orthodox Churches lives in the eternal present, therefore these events still go on. And we, the faithful, are present during these events.

  6. Perhaps I am Orthodox and did not know it!


    Question. Can dead Christians intercede for Christians who are living? Is it possible for deceased Popes, the Virgin Mary, and other dead saints to hear prayers and intercede for men who are alive?


    Prayer is offered to a person in two ways: one as though to be granted by himself, another as to be obtained through him. In the first way we prayto God alone, because all our prayers ought to be directed to obtaining grace and glory which God alone gives, according to those words of thePsalm (lxxxiii, 12): 'The Lord will give grace and glory.' But in the second way we pray to the holy angels and to men not that God may learn ourpetition through them, but that by their prayers and merits our prayers may be efficacious. Wherefore it is said in the Apocalypse (viii, 4): 'And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel' (Summ. Theol., II-II, Q. lxxxiii, a. 4).

    There are no Scriptures that instruct men to pray to men, dead or alive. Where in Bible does it say pray to angels? There is no verse in the Bible that would indicate that dead Christians can hear our prayers. Even if they could hear our prayers there is no Scripture that states they could intercede between us and God. There is no Scripture that says dead men can be an advocate for us to God the Father.


    Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (NKJV)


    Romans 8:34 Who is he condemns? It is Christ who died, and futhermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercessions for us. (NKJV)

    Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit make intercessions for Christians.

    Can Christians who are alive pray for other living Christians, of course they can and should. Praying, for, is not the same as praying to someone.

    Christians should not pray "to" other Christians. That would be worship. Men are to worship Jehovah God alone.

    Praying to dead Popes, the Virgin Mary and other dead saints is worship. God is a jealous God.