This is the eighth in a 12-part series, “Jesus and justice: An exploration of right relationship.”
One of the most well-known passages of Scripture is John 3:16, which says in part that God loved the world so much that God gave Jesus for the sake of the world. One of the ways God “gave” Jesus is through the Crucifixion.
In Christian communities across the globe, Jesus is proclaimed as the crucified and risen Savior of the world. The Resurrection is the central event of the Christian faith, but before he was resurrected he was crucified. Even though the Crucifixion causes us to tremble, it was an event that helped personify in some very real ways the love and justice of God.
Putting someone to death by crucifixion was a torturous means of capital punishment. Physiologically speaking, crucifixion usually caused its victims to asphyxiate, but there could be many other contributing factors of death. Crucifixion was used before the Roman Empire, but the empire used it widely and effectively. It was a form of death usually reserved for insurrectionists, outsiders, despised criminals and those whom the state wanted to purposely and publicly dishonor.
Many who practiced the Jewish faith had a deep level of difficulty with crucifixion. The Hebrew Scriptures say that anyone who is crucified (“hung on a tree”) is cursed by God, is an insult to God (Deuteronomy 21:23).
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers