Why the Crucifixion is a Big Deal

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About 2000-years ago, a man named Jesus was tortured and executed by being nailed to a wooden cross. Why is that a big deal? Here are five reasons why the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is massively significant for believers, those who have placed their trust in him.

It removed our guilt

The Bible is clear: not some, but all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and, having done so, all are guilty of a capital offence against God (Rom. 6:23).

And, like an unemployed teenager in crippling debt, there is nothing we can do to appease he who we’ve wronged. Our only hope is a third party with the means and generosity to bail us out.

Enter Jesus Christ. He lived the holy life we must live but can’t (Heb. 4:15) and died the death we deserve but won’t (1 Pet. 2:24).

In his death on the cross, a fantastic trade occurred—Jesus paid our otherwise unpayable debt and we were draped with his unearned but required righteousness. That’s why, upon seeing Jesus, John the Baptist announced, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

It is because of the crucifixion of Jesus that our guilt can be removed from us, that our debt can be paid.

It brought us close to God

Because of our sinfulness, we were separated from God. We were estranged. However, Christ’s death, as we’ve seen, removed this insurmountable obstacle and, thus, brought us close to God. 

We see this, for example, in Romans 5:10: “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (emphasis added).

It’s because of the crucifixion of Jesus that we can draw near to God and have the privilege of addressing him as “our Father.” That’s an intimacy that we have not earned apart from the death of Jesus.

It fulfilled prophecy

If Jesus had not suffered and died on the cross, a good number of Old Testament prophecies would have gone unfulfilled. (A sample: Pss. 22:16; 31:5; 35:11; 55:12–14; 109:24; Isa. 50:6; 53:5, 7, 12; Zech. 11:12, 13; 13:7).

If prophecies are inaccurate, then Scripture cannot be trusted. And if the Bible is not reliable, then God himself, its Author, is not dependable and cannot really be known with confidence.

BUT, Jesus did suffer and die. Scripture was authenticated. God is faithful. Jesus himself, on the doorstep of his own death, said: “But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets” (Matt. 26:56).

It proved his love for the Father

Jesus invites us to see his love for the Father firsthand. In John 14 Jesus says, “but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded me” (v. 31; cf., 15:10).

According to Jesus, love has more to do with submissive obedience than the palpitations of a heart.

And, with his followers watching for centuries thereafter, Jesus showcased his perfect love for the Father in the Garden: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39).

The crucifixion was the perfect example of submissive, sacrificial, obedient love—a love that you and I are to emulate (John 17:26).

It made possible the resurrection

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “… if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:16–17). Yikes!

The importance of the resurrection for the salvation of individual believers cannot be overstated (I’ll tackle this in a couple of days). And, guess what? It’s tough to have a resurrection without a death.

When we sing

Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave he rose again!

it must be preceded by

There in the ground his body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain.