Chase Smith, pastor Fellowship Baptist Church, Shelbyville
SHELBYVILLE, IL. — Is it necessary to discuss the gruesome death of Christ?
I want you to try something for me. What do you think of when I say D-Day? What about when I say Civil War? These are obviously significant events in the history of this nation and have shaped how we think and act as a country. In both of these events the violence and bloodshed is not the first thing you think of, but it is close. The lives lost and the blood that was shed is remembered and described so the real sacrifices of these men do not get lost in the history books.
The main point of Christ’s death was not that it was gruesome, but that he did indeed die for our sins. To ignore the fact that it was a horrible way to die would also be wrong, because the bible does indeed explain how bad it was. In Isaiah 52, it was prophesied that Jesus would be beaten so badly that he was not even recognizable as a human. Isaiah also said that he was wounded, crushed, and given stripes for our sins.
In each Gospel, the description of the crucifixion is present, and is in fact the largest body of work of crucifixion writings in the early millennia. Crucifixion was a such a horrible way to die that the Romans would not use it on their own people, but reserved it for those who broke the law in order to set an example of a Roman presence in the country. But Jesus was not just hung on the cross, but beaten within a breath of death. The movie ‘The Passion of the Christ’ did an amazing job showing how bloody and graphic Jesus’ death really was.
To ignore the brutality of Jesus death is wrong, but we do not need to over dramatize it. We should not focus solely on how he died, but that he died for our sins and was raised again so we could worship him as God. We also need to be age appropriate with our descriptions. I am not going to tell my five-year-old how badly Jesus was beaten and then show her the scenes from the “Passion of the Christ” to really bring the point home. I am going to tell her in language that she understands, that “Jesus was beat up very, very badly for your sins because he loves you very much.”
Easter is a significant turning point in the Christian faith and those who prescribe to our faith know that. Don’t try to understate Christ and his sacrifice for our sins by not talking about the blood he shed. If you do not have a place to go to church this Easter Sunday, come visit us, we are on NW 5th and Wood and our service starts at 10am.