Meaning to the cross, Meaning in personal witness


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_  

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  1. #1 by Samuel Laurence Guzman on January 17, 2008 - 5:50 pm

    I believe the cross has more significance than simply physical suffering and death. Many men suffered on the cross throughout the years for relatively minor crimes (burglary, political disfavor, etc.). The simple physical reality of the cross alone, then, hardly seems like a satisfactory punishment for bearing every sin ever committed by humanity throughout all time.

    What actually caused Christ to suffer on the cross then? I believe that the suffering lay, at least in part, in that He who had never known sin– the spotless Lamb– stood before his Father as he was accused of adultery, murder, lying, theft, drunkness, and all manner of sin and filthiness, and he spoke the words “guilty.” Christ proclaimed Himself guilty of every perversion and vileness of man. These sins were actually transferred and attributed to Him and he became a “curse” for us. The shame and weight of this alone was suffering enough.

    In addition to the shame of bearing the sin of humanity, I think the true suffering of the cross was spiritual in that the pent up wrath of God was released on His Son– a Hoover dam of hatred for sin released on one soul. I believe Christ suffered all the torments of hell for our sake. The ultimate torment was bearing the suffering of serperation from access to His Father– the seperation which sin naturally brings, and which we rightly deserve. Christ became abhorrent to the Father on our behalf. This was the most intense suffering, and it is what caused Him to cry out in misery, “my God, my God, why has thou forsaken me?”

    The physical sufferings of the cross pale in comparison to these realities. The physical cross, while horrible, was not what prompet Jesus to ask that, “this cup might pass” from Him. But he drank the cup and he drank it all– for us. Thank the Lord also that He did not stay under the power of death, but that He conquered sin, death, and hell! Amen!!

  2. #2 by raquelamisto on January 17, 2008 - 9:39 pm

    … couldn’t have said it better myself…

  3. #3 by clearly on January 18, 2008 - 6:45 am

    Sam,

    That’s a post in itself! Do you think I disagree with you?

  4. #4 by Samuel Laurence Guzman on January 18, 2008 - 11:34 am

    I’m sorry, I got a little carried away there. No, I don’t think you disagree with me– I wasn’t trying to prove or disprove anything. I didn’t mean to hijack your post, it was a good one 🙂

  5. #5 by Nicole on January 18, 2008 - 6:23 pm

    wow – great posts, both of you guys!

    thank you for the *clear* reminder Dave – that we must be ready to give a testimony for the hope of our calling!

  6. #6 by Texas Ron Linebarger on January 23, 2008 - 8:14 pm

    So right, Jesus reconciled us to God the Father by the way of the Cross. The blameless took all the blame. The cross was and is the conduit to being reconciled to God the Father. He, who was blameless knew death so we can know life in the Father.

  7. #7 by gbluteman on February 27, 2008 - 2:06 pm

    Amen, Dave

  8. #8 by jesus talk on January 31, 2009 - 3:07 am

    Hi i read this with the idea that jesus was perfect and i don,t
    think people are when your faced with persecution some people sometime have the strength to take the blame on them self i don,t know if the Romans care about that throwing people to the lions was entertainment so the benefit is defiance
    for the self .

  9. #9 by jesus talk on January 31, 2009 - 3:44 am

    if the romans though that jesus was makeing followers from not speaking out that would have been incongruity with there
    objective of silencing jesus for good so from jesus,s prospective
    he was skateing of thin ice one way or another.

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