Crucifixion was probably the worst instrument of death ever used. The Romans employed this type of execution for hardened criminals to make an example of them. Beheading was more humane.
Being crucified, a person suffered for hours, maybe days, before he died. It’s a slow and agonizing death, an eternity of pain while waiting for the torment to end.
For many, crucifixion was justifiable. But in the case of our Lord Jesus, he had done nothing to deserve to die in this horrible, painful way. He was clean; he had no sin.
He did not murder. He did not lie. He had no sexual sins. He did not steal. He obeyed all of God’s law, yet he allowed himself to be the Lamb sacrificed to take away the sins of the world through death on the cross.
He did it so that you and I could be free of sin and be made right with God.
The gospel of atonement
The crucifixion and death of Jesus were historic events witnessed and verified by many. The religious leaders and rulers of the land, the soldiers who executed the process of crucifixion and the people at Calvary all saw Jesus die.
It had been prophesied that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was supposed to die (Isa. 53:10-11). This could not be averted or changed. Why?
Jesus’ death was the atonement for our sins. “... without shedding of blood there is no remission [for sin]” (Heb. 9:22, NKJV). Because Jesus lived a perfect life without sin, he was able to pay the price for our sins. It was part of God’s master plan to redeem people back to himself.
His death removes the bondage of sin. It pays the penalty of sin. We are set free through Jesus. That’s the gospel.
The resurrection of Christ
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you. ... For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born” (1 Cor. 15:1, 3-8).
The Bible gives us facts we can rely on. The accounts are not fiction or made-up stories. They tell us the names of witnesses and places where Christ appeared so that what the Bible says can be verified. The court system during that time required at least two witnesses to verify a fact.
The resurrection of Jesus was witnessed by Cephas (Peter), the other 11 disciples and 500 men and women who saw Jesus at the same time — a powerful statement because they could not all be wrong in what they saw. Even though time had passed before apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians, witnesses who could testify to the facts were still living. All the apostles were visited by Jesus to experience his resurrection and to be commissioned as his witnesses.
This is important. We have proof for what we believe. We have a living faith.
Jesus’ resurrection gives us new life
Have you been resurrected? Read what the apostle Paul says to the church at Rome: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Rom. 6:4-5).
Why follow Jesus? Because he lives.
The leaders and founders of every other religion are dead and buried. But our great and powerful leader lives. Our Lord and Savior lives!
Today you have a choice. God has made a way for you to live: Jesus, the way to real life and life eternal.
Leave your sins on the cross. Leave your problems on the cross. Leave your past on the cross.
Choose Jesus. Choose life.
Ernie Cabrera, District Executive Minister, Converge Southeast
Elected as district executive minister in December 2016, Ernie and his family moved to Orlando from Sacramento, California, where he was the lead pastor at Ignite Community Church. Previously known as “The Breakdancing Pastor,” he has been involved in three church plants and is a gifted leader with vision and passion for starting and strengthening churches. Ernie has worked in different church planting organizations for over 25 years and has served with The Timothy Initiative since 2013.