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Christ - Crucifixion

Christ, like unto the seed, sacrificed Himself for the tree of Christianity. Therefore, His perfections, bounties, favors, lights and graces became manifest in the Christian community, for the coming of which He sacrificed Himself.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 450)


In order to understand the reality of sacrifice let us consider the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It is true that He sacrificed Himself for our sake. What is the meaning of this? When Christ appeared, He knew that He must proclaim Himself in opposition to all the nations and peoples of the earth. He knew that mankind would arise against Him and inflict upon Him all manner of tribulations. There is no doubt that one who put forth such a claim as Christ announced would arouse the hostility of the world and be subjected to personal abuse. He realized that His blood would be shed and His body rent by violence. Notwithstanding His knowledge of what would befall Him, He arose to proclaim His message, suffered all tribulation and hardships from the people and finally offered His life as a sacrifice in order to illumine humanity—gave His blood in order to guide the world of mankind. He accepted every calamity and suffering in order to guide men to the truth. Had He desired to save His own life, and were He without wish to offer Himself in sacrifice, He would not have been able to guide a single soul. There was no doubt that His blessed blood would be shed and His body broken. Nevertheless, that Holy Soul accepted calamity and death in His love for mankind. This is one of the meanings of sacrifice.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 450)


Jesus Christ had twelve disciples and among His followers a woman known as Mary Magdalene. Judas Iscariot had become a traitor and hypocrite, and after the crucifixion the remaining eleven disciples were wavering and undecided. It is certain from the evidence of the Gospels that the one who comforted them and re-established their faith was Mary Magdalene.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 621-622)


Know thou that the Messianic Spirit and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is always manifest, but capacity and ability (to receive it) is more in some and less in others. After the crucifixion the apostles had not in the beginning the capacity and ability of witnessing the Messianic reality. For they were agitated. But when they found firmness and steadfastness, their inner sight became opened, and they saw the reality of the Messiah as manifest. For the body of Christ was crucified and vanished, but the Spirit of Christ is always pouring upon the contingent world, and is manifest before the insight of the people of assurance.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas", Vol. 1, p. 193-194)


The Cause of Christ was like a lifeless body; and when after three days the disciples became assured and steadfast, and began to serve the Cause of Christ, and resolved to spread the divine teachings, putting His counsels into practice, and arising to serve Him, the Reality of Christ became resplendent and His bounty appeared; His religion found life; His teachings and His admonitions became evident and visible. In other words, the Cause of Christ was like a lifeless body until the life and the bounty of the Holy Spirit surrounded it. Such is the meaning of the resurrection of Christ, and this was a true resurrection....
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 104)


The crucifixion as recounted in the New Testament is correct. The meaning of the Qur‘ánic version is that the spirit of Christ was not Crucified. There is no conflict between the two.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 491)


This new strange spiritual conception of the Messianic office bewildered the disciples. They did not, they would not reject it; they tried to accept it. But their minds were not flexible
enough to grasp it. It sank into their hearts very, very slowly. In spite of their Master’s vigorous and reiterated teaching, they could only abandon the familiar idea of the
Messiah with toil and pain; they clung to it, as it were, in spite of themselves. Even at the end of Jesus’ ministry, they had not been able to understand His meaning nor succeeded in
their efforts to accept His statement as to His sufferings and His violent death. They still expected He would set up some form of external kingship in which they would enjoy positions of glory and power among men; and Jesus’ last efforts in their spiritual education were directed to training them in the virtue of humility and in the ideal of service.
Before He could bring home to their hearts this difficult and unwelcome lesson, He was taken from them. The tragic close of His career brought their spiritual failure to unmistakable expression. Peter denied His Master thrice; Thomas doubted Him; Judas betrayed Him; all in the hour of His danger forsook Him and fled. The crucifixion cast
them into utter amazement and despair. The whole mental fabric which their pride and imagination had built up was shattered in a moment and fallen. Their world was empty. Their beloved Lord was defeated—the mocking scribe was right. ‘They had made some terrible mistake … For three days the Cause of Christ lay in their hearts dead and buried. None can tell what might have happened, had it not been for the intuition and courage of one who was not of their number—a woman, Mary of Magdala. She it was who was the first to understand the reality of Eternal Life and Christ’s Eternal Sonship. She understood before those to whom they were spoken, the words of Jesus after His rebuke of Peter.
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake
shall find it… the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels…
(Matt. 16:24-25, 27.)
Quicker than any of the Twelve, she perceived the reality of His kingship, and recognised that if His body was dead, His spirit was indestructible and was alive breathing in mortal
power. She cheered the disciples. She communicated to them her vision, quickened their faith and renewed their courage. Purified by their suffering, animated by her spiritual power,
they now perceived for the first time the incorporeal nature of the dominion and glory of their Lord and of His kingdom.
(George Townsend, The Heart of the Gospel, p. 133)


...We do not believe that there was a bodily resurrection after the Crucifixion of Christ, but that there was a time after His Ascension when His disciples perceived spiritually His true greatness and realize He was eternal in being. This is what has been reported symbolically in the New Testament and has been misunderstood. His eating with His disciples after resurrection is the same thing.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 491)