Archive for January, 2008
The 1st century historian, Josephus, records seeing crucifixions. On one particular occasion, he recalls seeing three of his acquaintances suffer on crosses. His couldn’t handle the sight; he appealed to the Roman general to have the men taken down. Titus, the general, complied, but it was too late for two of the men. Crucifixion did its thing, taking the life of these two unnamed individuals.
The major historical facts surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus are indisputable. However, the bare bones of the historical record have no saving significance apart from their framing within the Old Testament theological context and their New Testament clarification.
What did the death of Christ actually mean?
If the Scriptures were silent on this subject, the event would still be open to interpretation, and would have no more spiritual meaning than the account of Josephus. The fact that a Jewish man died the death of the cross is meaningless to a reader unless it is viewed within a theological context that has pertinence to him.
Just as Christ on the cross is meaningless apart from its theological meaning, and just as Christ on the cross is meaningless to me apart from my place in theology as both a human and a sinner, so the living testimony of a believer is meaningless to the world apart from verbal witness to the reason of the transformed life seen in him.
That was a pen-full, so allow me to clarify: the fact that Jesus died on the cross is meaningless to us unless accompanied by the Scriptures which interpret the event, namely that he died for the sins of the world. In the same way, the believer that thinks he is obeying God’s command to make disciples by simply having a good testimony at work is sadly mistaken. A truly transformed live must be interpreted and explained; it is a result of the cross. If we never mention the work of the cross in our conversations with others, then its ongoing, transforming work in our lives has no significance to the unbeliever. It’s the gospel that explains that we are not simply different; we are being changed from one stage of glory to the next.
Try to see it clearly_