Crucifixion Central to the Power of God

On 09/15/2012, in Catholic, Fact, by Tom Voiland

Don’t You Know Christ is Risen?

A majority of separated Christians, especially Evangelicals, take exception to Catholics keeping Jesus on the Cross.  I would point my Protestant friends to 1st Corinthians, chapter 1, verse 23. Paul says, “…but we preach Christ crucified…” Why does Paul preach Christ crucified? Doesn’t he know Jesus has been raised from the dead? Of course he does! But, he knows that it is through the power of the crucified Christ on the cross that the bonds of sin and death are broken. As Paul says in verse 24, Christ crucified is the “power of God”.  1 Cor 2:2, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Again, didn’t Paul know that Jesus had risen from the dead? Of course, he did.

Paul preaches Christ crucified because an empty cross has no power. The cross that bears the beaten, battered, and bloodied body of Jesus Christ, however, that cross is the power of God.  This is why, the Church keeps Jesus on the cross, because we, too, preach Christ crucified. The Crucifix reminds us not only of God’s power, but also His love for us – giving His only begotten Son up for suffering and death.

Also, here in this life we do not share so much in the glory of the Resurrection, as we do in the suffering of Jesus on the cross; after all, we must take up our cross daily if we are to follow Jesus, as it says in Lk 9:23.  And, we must die with Christ in order to live with Him as Romans 6:8 tells us. Where did Christ die? On the cross. The Crucifix serves to remind us of these things.

An Empty Cross Means Nothing

Christ’s supreme act was to die on the cross as atonement for our sins. His resurrection was proof that what he did on the cross worked — he conquered death — and it demonstrated beyond any doubt that he was who he claimed to be: God. The crucifixion was the act that changed history. The resurrection demonstrated of the efficacy of that act.

By his death on the cross, Christ conquered sin and death, redeemed the world, opened the way of salvation for all who would receive it, and reconciled his people with the Father (cf. Eph 2:13-18; Col 1:19-20). That is why the crucifix is such a potent reminder for us of what he did on our behalf that dark afternoon on Calvary.“  Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” (Mt 16:24; cf. Mt 10:38). True, resurrection and glory await all those who follow Christ faithfully, but we will only arrive there by traveling the way of the cross.

An Example of Love Beyond Any Other

In my journey as a Catholic, I have always looked to the Cross as a reminder of just how much Christ loved me.  “No greater love has man than to lay down his life for his friends”.  Whenever I question whether Christ is there for me, if he cares, if I am being a good example as a Catholic, I look to the Crucified Christ.  I know He’s risen, the Church understands this.  But unlike our separated Christian brothers and sisters, we do not subscribe to the notion that once you’re born again, all is good, let’s just celebrate!  No, we must be reminded of the ultimate sacrifice, not just by a man, but by God Himself!  Jesus the Son did not have to die to prove anything.  By dieing the most humiliating, excruciatingly painful, embarrassing death possible, Christ demonstrated not only His love for us, but that love is ultimately demonstrated by service to our fellow man, being selfless, not selfish.  Let the Crucified Christ being the supreme example of Christ’s love for us and his command to pick up our cross and follow Him.

 

1 Response » to “Crucifixion Central to the Power of God”

  1. BahaMan says:

    I can only agree that seeing Christ crucified, on a Crucifix, especially in one of our Lord’s dwelling places, i.e., Catholic Churches, is a powerful reminder of His ultimate sacrifice.

    People need reminders. An empty cross does not remind them of the ultimate sacrifice. All Catholic Churches in the middle ages were teaching tools for an illiterate populace. Biblical history was conveyed via stained glass, statues and, most importantly, the Crucifix.

    Over the last 30 years, many of the Catholic Churches built in the U.S.A. have substituted the familiar large and bloodied Crucifix behind the Altar for an empty cross or the “Risen Christ” exiting the cross. This, especially in Florida, matches the blandness of the Church itself. It is as if a particular diocese recognizes the existence of so many “cafeteria” Catholics that it designed the Church to mirror the parishoners.

    This post calls Protestants “seperated Christians”. I am not so kind. Since day one of the reformation they have been disobedient children. They will do and say anything that opposes the Church Christ founded. There is only one.

    Christ crucified should be front and center wherever He is preached.

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