Thoughts on the Crucifixion of Jesus

The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus are at the center of human history. The Bible makes this clear. The death of Jesus for us secured our hope and opened the door of heaven.

The New Testament writers make this clear. Simon Peter described how Christ’s death became the supreme sacrifice for sin: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18). The Apostle Paul implored sinners to be reconciled to God (make peace with Him). This is possible because “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Luke described how this occurred in history (Luke 23:32-38). In only a few verses, Luke gives us the picture of what Jesus did for us. Here are some things that stand out to me about this.

First, none of the gospels dwell on the unimaginable physical suffering that Jesus endured for us. Why is this the case? While we don’t have that specific answer, there are plausible answers. All of the New Testament writers emphasized what this meant spiritually–how the righteous died for the unrighteous and how the One who had no sin became sin for us. His death became our righteousness.

In the first century AD no one had to be told about the horrors of crucifixion. This was a public spectacle as we see in Luke’s gospel.

Isn’t it interesting that we know that Jesus had his hands nailed rather than tied? The Romans used nails for crucifixion for only a short period of time–during which Jesus was crucified. We know that they nailed his hands because of Thomas’ assertion that he would not believe unless he could “put [his] finger where the nails were” (John 20:25). Jesus may have had his feet nailed as well because He called the disciples’ attention to His hands and feet in one of the resurrection appearances (Luke 24:39).

Leon Morris described the discovery of the bones of a man crucified about the same time as Jesus. This man had his legs bent and twisted and then fastened to the cross with a single nail through the heels. This “contortion of the body would have added to the agony.”

Second, though Jesus suffered greatly, His attention went to the thief, His mother, and the unbelieving nation. This illustrates again what Simon Peter stated: He died once for all for sin, the righteous for the unrighteous.

Third, think about His forgiveness. Without bitterness, He died for sin. Though suffering ridicule from one of the thieves and the rulers (but not the people), He asked the Father to forgive.

We simply have to exclaim with the Roman Centurion who witnessed it all: “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

This Jesus who died for us must be admired, marveled at, and worshiped as God in the flesh who takes away our sin once for all.

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  1. Sean Riecke
    Feb 16, 2017

    Great message this morning Pastor Bailey. . The fact that the Romans only used this method of crucifiction for a short period of time further validifies the historical truth of the Gospel. It’s amazing how so many recent archeological and other scientific discoveries support the facts presented in the Gospel. It reminds me of a quote I read from Dr. Robert Jastrow, a renowned astrophysicist and self-proclaimed agnostic : “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

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I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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[A Church Divided Over Leaders] I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. — 1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV)