The words "crucify"and "crucified" are found 51 times in the New Testament. Fourty-six times these words are used with reference to Jesus Christ. They are used 36 times in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. However, to comprehend the importance of this word, it needs to be properly defined.
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible says the word "crucified" is from the Greek word, stauroo, which means, "to impale on a cross...crucify." What does "impale" mean? Webster's New World Dictionary of American English, Third College Edition provides the answer:
1)" to put to death by nailing or binding to a cross and leaving to die of exposure." Webster also says the word "crucify" means
2) "to punish or torture by fixing to a stake".
So the word "crucified" not only signifies to all that Jesus was punished (died) by torture on a stake (cross), it epitomizes the very nature of the punishment and the death suffered by Jesus. This small amount of information shows why it was stressed that Jesus was "crucified." The frequency of the use of those words in the New Testament indicates the importance of of the crucifixion. Further study into the matter helps one understand why the apostle Paul put so much stress on the crucifixion of Christ.
First, keep in mind this was not just Paul's idea. He was inspired to write what he did. (John 16:13)
Second, if the reasons why Jesus was crucified can be determined, it might be comprehended why Paul was so compelled to preach it to the world. The scriptures supply that information.
- 1. Jesus came not to destroy but to fulfill the old law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17-18), and His death by crucifixion established the new will. "Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Hebrews 10:9". also Hebrews 8:6-13, Galatians 3:19-28, and many other passages reveal why the crucifixion was paramount in Paul's preaching.
- 2. The Gentiles, who were without Christ, are described in the Bible as being: aliens, strangers from the covenant of promise, without hope and without God. Because of Jesus' crucifixion, Paul could preach to those same people, " But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:12-13." Since the Lord sent Paul to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21),he was certainly eager to tell them that Jesus' death and the new covenant benefited them.
- 3. Jesus told the apostles at the institution of the Lord's supper, " For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matthew 26:28". Then, when Peter preached the first Gospel sermon after Christ's ascension, those who were convicted were "baptized...for the remission of sins" Acts 2:38.
Since Jesus' blood remits sins, and since those who repent and are baptized have their sins forgiven, then it is no wonder Paul was fervent in preaching "Jesus and Him crucified".
- 4. When one does what the Pentecostians did to have the remission of their sins by Jesus' blood, he is "added to the church" Acts 2:47b. The church is the body of Jesus Christ, and He is its Head (Ephesians 1:22-23). Christ died for the church in order that it might be saved (Ephesians 5:23,25). Meeting with the Ephesian elders, Paul told them "to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. Acts 20:28". That being the case, why would Paul not want to stress to the lost people the crucification of Jesus?
- 5. By His crucifixion, Jesus became the saints' Propitiation (Romans 3:25)
- 6. The crucifixion made Sanctification possible for every man (Hebrews 13:12)
- 7. Christ's blood shed in the crucifixion cleanses one from his sin (1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5)
- 8. Justification can be had because Christ was crucified (Romans 5:9)
- 9. Redemption was accomplished via the crucifixion (Ephesians 1:7)
- 10.Peace with and Reconciliation to God was brought by the crucifixion (Colossians 1:20)
- 11.Man can be made perfect in every good work to do His will since the crucifixion of Christ (Hebrews 13:21-21)
- 12. The crucifixion empowered man to overcome Satan (Revelation 12:10-11)
These and other things come to the saved by the blood shed when Jesus was crucified. The relation of Christ's blood to all these things must be understood by all. It is important. It is urgent! Let us all study to understand why.
by Kenneth W. Free
Looking Unto Jesus, 1999 p248