Celebrating 76 Years Of Ministry
To God Be The Glory
Please join us for our Easter Service
Sunday April 20 2014 at 10:45 AM.
Pastor Mark is offering the
“Welcome to the Family” class
during Sunday School in April.
Each Sunday there is a children's program for children K through 5th grade. It is from 6 to 7 PM.
Senior's Exercise Class on Wednesdays at 10:30 AM. For men and women of all ages. Handicapped accessible.
Each Saturday - Men's Bible Study at 9:00 AM
Third Saturday of each month at 10:00 AM - The Food Pantry is open to all who are in need.
Fourth Saturday of each month at 10:00 AM - Our Clothes Closet is open to the community.
The Crucifixion of Jesus
The crucifixion of Jesus stands at the heart of the Christian faith (see 1 Cor 1.18-25; Gal 6.14). There is no Christianity without the cross. In almost every church building there is a cross. Today I want to look at the crucifixion of Jesus from a historical and theological point of view. What was crucifixion? Why was Jesus crucified? How is our salvation connected to the cross?
Crucifixion was a public, shameful, and exceedingly cruel and painful form of execution. Josephus referred to crucifixion as “a most miserable death” (Jewish Wars 7.203). Cicero called it “that most cruel and disgusting penalty” (In Verrem 2.5.165). The Romans used it mainly for slaves and dangerous criminals. Typically, Roman citizens were exempted from crucifixion and the subject was not even discussed publicly. Crucifixion by the Romans involved the following: it was preceded by flogging (a brutal form of whipping that could rip a person’s flesh right to the bone and occasionally would kill the person prior to crucifixion), you were forced to carry the crossbar to the site of execution, you were tied to the cross by ropes or nailed to it through the wrists and ankles, you faced public ridicule as you hung naked or half-naked on the cross, it was a slow, painful death that usually resulted from heart failure or shock or suffocation, and you were often denied a descent burial and so your corpse was left for wild animals or vultures to devour. Jesus, though, was given a proper burial due to the intervention of Joseph of Arimathea (see Mark 15.42-46).
Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem under Pontius Pilate on Friday morning during the Passover season in the year AD 30 (or possibly AD 33). He was crucified on the charge of treason (see Matt 27.37), though the Jewish leaders originally found him guilty of blasphemy (see Matt 26.62-66). The Sanhedrin did not have the authority to inflict capital punishment (see John 18.31), so they had the Romans do it for treason. Clearing the temple during Passover season made Jesus vulnerable to the charge of treason. The site of Jesus’ crucifixion was called “the place of the skull” (Golgotha in Aramaic and Calvary in Latin, see John 19.17). Jesus was crucified between two political rebels (see Mark 15.27, lh|sth,j). Jesus was innocent of both treason (see Luke 20.25; Matt 16.20) and blasphemy (for he was the Son of God).
From the Roman standpoint, crucifixion was so horrible that it wasn’t even mentioned in public. A Roman citizen was typically exempted from crucifixion. Crucifixion was for slaves and political criminals. Thus, Romans couldn’t imagine following a crucified Lord. From the Jewish standpoint, crucifixion meant that the executed person was cursed by God (see Deut 21.22-23). That means that no Jewish person expected a crucified Messiah. In their minds, crucifixion showed that such a person was not the Messiah. That’s why the Apostle Paul said, “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Cor 1.18). To the Jews, he said, it is a stumbling block and to the Gentiles it is foolishness (see 1 Cor 1.23). Yet, from God’s standpoint, the crucifixion of Christ is the means of our salvation. When Jesus died on the cross, he atoned for our sin and died in our place. His substitutionary death means that our sins can be forgiven and we can be reconciled to God (see 2 Cor 5.21; Gal 3.13; 1 Pet 3.18). Jesus’ death secured our salvation. Thus, the cross is something in which we should even boast (see Gal 6.14). Our only hope is in the cross of Jesus Christ.
For more devotions by Pastor Mark, visit his blog at drmarkjackson.wordpress.com.