How to Answer Protestants Forum: Crucifixion

Crucifixion QUESTION from Isabel on April 10, 2002 Hello, I am new to this forum. My JW friend says that Jesus was crucified on a Stick and not a cross, How can I answer to this statement? She also says he was tied by his wrists. My kids have learned that Jesus was nailed to the cross by his wrists and not his hands. Is this true. Thank you,
ANSWER by Mr. Troy Martz on April 21, 2002 Dear Isabel:
You problem is not uncommon, someone outside the Church (or in this case Christianity) makes a claim about the faith with such self assurance that we can doubt what we have been taught. First, encourage your Jehovah Witness friend to PROVE their claim. This is just one of the many strange believes that come from the Watchtower.
Clear Scriptural evidence exists for the nailing of the hands:
It happened that one of the Twelve, Thomas (the name means Twin), was absent when Jesus came. The other disciples kept telling him: We have see the Lord! His answer was, I will never believe it without probing the nail-prints in his hands, without putting my finger in the nailmarks and my hand into his side. A week later, the disciples were once more in the room, and this time Thomas was with them. Despite the locked doors, Jesus came and stood before them. Peace be with you, he said; then, to Thomas: Take your finger and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe! Thomas said in response, My Lord and my God!

Besides answering the question of the nails, that also touches on the JW's denial of Jesus as truly God.
As for the shape of the Cross, most credible scholars believe that it resembled a T more than a +. Archeological evidence shows that both the Romans and the Syrians crucified prisoners using a vertical post with a horizontal beam.
The JW's will argue that the Greek word translated as cross (stauros) means stake or post. It does mean that, just as the word noose means a sliding knot. If you said that someone was sentenced to die by the noose, everyone would understand hanging. No reasonable person would think that you meant that they were choked by someone slowly tightening the knot!
An excellent book to read on the subject is A Doctor at Calvary: The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ as Described by a Surgeon by Pierre Barbet, M.D. Not only does he give a well researched and documented account the how a crucifixion occured, he uses the Shroud of Turin as his primary evidence of the brutality of this form of execution.
Again, when someone makes such outlandish claims, make them offer substantial proof. And don't accept proof from the New World Translation of the Bible, the JW's have intentionally mistranslated much of this to support their strange and unChristian beliefs.
Pax Christi, Troy
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