The Curse Of Crucifixion
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19 | MARK 15:25; GALATIANS 3:11-14
Do you have a necklace or earrings in the shape of a cross? Or do you have a cross hanging somewhere in your house?
A cross, as a symbol of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, can be a beautiful thing. But the crucifixion it represents was actually the most horrible of deaths in ancient times. Some victims hung for days in the scorching sun until finally the weight of their body, nailed at the hands and feet, collapsed their lungs. Any other death was preferable. Crucifixion was so horrible that it was inappropriate to mention it in polite conversation.
No one imagined that the cross might become a religious symbol. Because of the cross, the early Christian apologist, Minucius Felix, wrote a dialogue called The Octavius in which his pagan character called Christianity a sick delusion. He said that anyone who worshiped a crucified person should himself be crucified.
The Bible also talks about the horrors of crucifixion. The cross is called an offense (Galatians 5:11), a sign of shame (Hebrews 12:2), and foolishness and a stumbling block (1 Corinthians 1:23). Deuteronomy 21:23 states that “anyone who is hung on a pole [a cross] is under God’s curse.”
Have you noticed that Mark uses segments of time (“nine in the morning,” “noon,” “three in the afternoon”) to describe Jesus’ crucifixion? He wants us to reflect on the long, agonizing struggle Jesus endured for us on the cross.
All of this adds significance to the fact that Jesus Christ was not just killed, but crucified. Yet Paul sees the transforming blessing of the cross: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.”—WRITTEN BY DEAN DEPPETODAY 2021 Lent Devotionals