Jesus, the Crucified
This article is a reflection on the word “crucified” found in the Bible.
Our greatest, enduring achievements in life will not be what we do by our strength, but by being crucified in weakness. This is one of the most important child training goals in this fallen world.
They Crucified Jesus Who is Called Christ
“So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. ... And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. ... And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left …" (Mar 15:15, 24-25, 27)
It was a crowd-pleasing Pilate who crucified the Christ.
So there you are at church. That very critical lady is talking to you! Today she seems a little more friendly than usual and she is chatting away; so often, you have felt like you just don’t measure up to her level. And then it happened - so fast that you didn’t see it coming! She starts in on your good friend Ashley. Ashamed, you hear your mocking voice call out agreement about your friend’s children, how they look and how they behave. Ashamed? Yes, because while you are speaking, you eventually notice your friend is sitting behind you within earshot; did she hear you?
Jesus said that as the world hated Him, it would also hate his followers. Group hatred feeds the impulses of a crowd-pleaser. Peter denied the Lord; indeed all of the disciples forsook Him. Visibly, Christ was shamefully crucified between two common thieves. Even his garments were trophies of disdain to soldiers, who competed for them at the foot of his cross
Teach your children to look on the unseen reality in every circumstance. For beyond the dismal visage of populist rancor, is an unseen world revealed through the lens of crucifixion! Avoid worldly popularity at all costs!
Your child comes home and wants to feel more comfortable in appearance to please his peers, or at least to minimize their displeasure. What do you do? Do you ignore him? Do you give in? Do you ground him for a month? Are these really answers? What you do and how you do it can greatly help them to look beyond what is seen.
The child that demands equality can be taught that the Bible says that we are not to look out for our own things but for the things of others. That may feel like death to a child, and it is. But such loving parental instruction is the sweet embrace of the cross!
Can your children see death working in you? They must, or they may never see how to endure it for themselves. That is how death works in us as parents, but life works in our children. It is like a parade led by Christ – A triumphant parade!
When you “die,” eternal life is more visible to your child. This is the parade. Why is this parade always triumphant? Because the aroma of Christ is irresistible! The fragrance is very distinct; some smell a fragrance of death, others smell a fragrance of life. While it is the same aroma, it is a different fragrance.
Did you ever see a vulture eating a dead smelly carcass on the side of the road? The human nose is only programmed to smell the horrid stench of death when it is near. However, the vulture has been given a special ability to smell the rotting carrion as a most delicious aroma of a life-giving dinner, fresh and ready to eat! It all is a matter of the proper perspective given by the gift of God.
What is repulsive to the natural man is very attractive to the follower of Jesus! With visionary parental leadership, the Christian can get out in front of a trial that looks and smells like death and he can smell the eternal fragrance of life. What a joy it is to see the joy of God’s eternal purpose!
Furthermore, we have Jesus as our example!
“Therefore, ...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." (Heb 12:1-3 ESV)
“Remember, Jesus was not attractive to the visible eye, and the only perfume he ever wore was in pre-anointing for His burial! "For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him." (Isa 53:2 ESV)
Jesus, Who Was Crucified Has Been Made Both Lord and Christ
“This Jesus, they delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. ... Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. …Let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead--by him this man is standing before you well.” (Act 2:23, 36; 4:10)
The sweet fragrance of the death of Christ is his resurrection. The fragrance is sweet because like the rotting carrion to the vultures, death is actually a life-giving source.
We are crucified with Christ. All of our natural life is dead to this world’s ambitions and pursuits. Sin has no chains to keep us in bondage.
Christ Crucified is The Very Center of Christian Unity and Service
“Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? ... But we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, …For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. ...None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1Co 1:13, 23; 2:2, 8)
Dear parent, how important it is that you attend carefully to your children and provide an authoritative community of fellowship which connects each and every one to Jesus Christ as crucified.
This is not easy because human ambition rejects the cross outright. It wants a super-hero: resurrection without crucifixion!
Those who are filled with worldly success simply think of the cross as the most foolish thing ever. “One must take hold of life and live it to the fullest for oneself!” This effort will save this present life and lose it in eternity.
The Cross is My Boast; For By It, The World is Crucified Unto Me
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." … O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified." … And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." …But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Gal 2:20; 5:24; 6:14)
So now you and I must take inventory. What areas are plainly full of weakness before our eyes? Weakness is our cross and the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead will also make us alive with spiritual power while we are still living in our mortal bodies!
Now you know what kind of championship trophies you must seek after to tame your passions and desires. Place every cross that God has given you into a magnificent trophy case to glory in after each and every death-forming trial. Give God thanks! Give God glory!
Never forget: At the place where the world mocked Jesus, the world will also mock His Prophets.
“And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.” (Rev 11:8)
There are those stinking dead bodies again!
Don’t think things are going to get easier as life goes forward; they won’t! Things are going to get harder.
So you say to me, “Is this the end? How about some encouragement to wrap it up with?" Well, I thought that was very encouraging! We are going to be crucified for sure; however, we have a blessed heavenly hope that can shut out the horrible stench on the one hand. On the other hand, we have such an expectation of eternal glory that we can fix our eyes on that joy set before us and smell the fragrances of heaven!
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. ~ Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (Rom 8:18; 2 Co 4:16-18 CSB)
 So death is at work in us, but life in you. ... For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2Co 4:12, 17-18 ESV)
But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? (2Co 2:14-16 ESV)