Editor’s note: Christians all over the world believe Jesus came to save mankind and take their sins away by sacrificing himself.
In this opinion by Jasper Jaja, he argues that the action of Jesus coming to the earth for a mission that would kill him was tantamount to a suicide mission.
This term is familiar to military personnel and people who are interested in the armed forces. Simply put, a suicide mission is an activity that is so dangerous that those who participate have a very high chance of dying.
Think about the great work done by soldiers and other military professionals battling terrorism all over the world. Imagine a situation in which Soldier A has to get into enemy territory for whatever purpose and is not going to make it out alive. Such a mission would be termed a suicide mission, not because Soldier A will shoot himself in the head but because embarking on the mission despite knowing that it will result in death is suicidal.
It will suffice to point out that the purpose of a suicide mission does not make it any less what it is, a SUICIDE mission. It is important to highlight this because the popular notion is that suicide is and must be selfish. Not only is this notion wrong, it is also a classic example of goal post shifting. Suicide has a definition and if an act conforms to that definition, then it is suicide irrespective of the motive.
Intentionally doing anything that will (most likely) result in death is tantamount to committing suicide.
Apply this to different situations and see if it sticks.
Intentionally refusing to take an action that will prevent death is tantamount to committing suicide.
So, if I were to fall on a train track and I have nothing preventing me from jumping out of the way of an incoming train but I fail to do so, my death by being crushed by the train is suicide.
There are many negative connotations attached to suicide. There’s also stigmatisation of the act and people who go through with it. There’s a negative stereotype of people who are suicidal. These and more have made it extremely difficult to discuss suicide without sentiments.
This tweet caused a lot of uproar and I got a lot of backlash. The backlash was mostly from people who would rather attack an unpopular opinion at first sight instead of employing critical thinking and analysis in assessing the merit of the claim.
The backlash was also because Jesus Christ is a religious figure and because of the stigma and negative connotations of suicide, people would rather shut down the conversation than tuck in their sentiments for a bit.
So, please, put sentiments aside and try to follow my logic.
Jesus came to the earth to die for the sins of mankind.
Christians believe this. In fact, it is arguably the most important doctrine in Christianity. Without preaching Jesus as the sacrificial lamb that died to take the sin of the world away, Christianity loses its main selling point and dare I say, relevance. So, Jesus Christ laid down his life for mankind.
I have been told that laying down one’s life is different from a person taking their life. Well, that’s not true, at least not in this case. Think about it, how did he lay down his life?
It is also argued that Jesus Christ did not take his own life but was murdered by government forces. In as much as this is not false, it isn’t entirely true. Jesus Christ embarked on a suicide mission. He knew that he was going to die under those circumstances and notwithstanding, he chose to come to earth. So, coming to earth in the first instance was a suicide mission and in doing so, he committed suicide.
Some people have argued that suicide must be intentional and I agree. They have said that Jesus did not intend to die because he prayed for the cup to pass over him and also because he was doing the will of his father. Well, this argument makes a lot of sense but when closely analysed, there is no part of the Bible that asserts that God forced Jesus Christ to do what he did. It is true (according to the Bible) that God gave Jesus Christ to the world but certainly, it was Jesus’ prerogative to do the will of his father and thus, his intent is not and should not be in doubt. More over, postulating that he lacked intent will turn John 15:13 on its head. Lastly, about this point, the Bible teaches that God (including Jesus Christ) knows the definite end of any thing (even) from the beginning. So, despite praying for the cup to pass over him, Jesus Christ knew that his prayer was not gonna change the course of things.
It has also been pointed out that Jesus Christ did not commit suicide because he is still alive. They go on to say that he knew he was going to resurrect and so, although he died, he did not (really) die. Well, this could lead to an entirely different discussion and I am not willing to have that in this post. However, may I say that this argument makes light of the notion of sacrifice that Christian doctrine perpetuates. That is, seeing as Jesus knew that he was only going to be dead for three days, is his death really a sacrifice since he did not lose his life?
Well, for the sake of this post, I’ll reiterate that Jesus Christ embarked on a suicide mission to lay down his life for mankind, i.e self sacrifice, and self sacrifice is suicide.
I would love to hear your thoughts, so please share them. I would also love to hear from you, so please contact me.