As a child we, as well as most of my family and friends, hung a crucifix on the wall. We were given crosses to wear at our Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation. We knew about the Resurrection of Christ, but the emphasis was on His death. It was the budded cross that led me to Orthodoxy, one that I purchased for my birthday several years, prior, 27 years ago.
On face book today, I read with interest that someone thought the focus should be on the Resurrection, as many were crucified regularly, but no one rose from the dead, except Jesus. Years ago, I would have agreed with that statement. While it is true that you cannot have one without the other, the work was accomplished on the cross. Death was destroyed by His death.
The plan of salvation, began at the beginning of time, and took many years to be fulfilled by the only One that could. This was not an ordinary crucifixion, Jesus is the only sinless One, who carried the sins of the entire world, by His own free will.
It was the most savage form of execution in which exhausted dying people, tried to lift themselves up in order to breathe. Jesus was beaten with tipped metals, wearing a crown of thorns, nail to the cross, pierced in His side, during the heat of the day, stripped of His clothing, spit upon, laughed, and mocked by by standers and those He had created with His own hands, while His mother looked on in terror, was not your ordinary crucifixion.
Everything that was done to Jesus was to fulfill what the prophets in the old testament said would happen. He was rejected, despised, and innocent. He did it for all of us. Who could love you more. Someday, we will all know when He comes again, and when every knee shall bend and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
No one else would have or could have done it. (Read in Revelation1:18) "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
Jesus destroyed Death by His Death on the cross. He was victorious in His death and won for us life, for the salvation of the world.
What followed was the Resurrection and Ascension, with many eye witnesses. See (John19:37) "They shall look upon Him whom they pierced." The centurion, who saw Him breathe His last in (Mark 15:39) said "Truly this Man was the Son of God."
It was not the Resurrection that saved mankind, but it proves that Jesus is God. Salvation was completed on the cross with the utterance of three little words, (John 19:30) "It is finished!"
Taken from the Holy Friday Afternoon, HOLY WEEK AND EASTER SERVICE BOOK:
"Today a strange and fearsome mystery is witnessed. The infinite One is held; the One Who loosed the curse of Adam is bound; the One Who tries the inward heart of men is Himself tried; He Who sealed the deeps is sealed in prison; the One before Whom the powers of heaven stand quaking stands before Pilate; the Creator is struck by the hand of the creature; the One who judges the living and the dead is judged for the Cross; the One Who despoiled Hades is shut up in a tomb."
"How could the lawless assembly condemn to death the sovereign of the universe, unabashed as He reminded them of the benefits secured for them: "My people, what have I not done for you? have I not sated Judea with wonders? have I not raised the dead with but a word? Have I not cured all manner of sickness and infirmity? Yet how do you repay Me? How can you be so unmindful of Me as to lay wounds on Me in return for healing; killing Me in return for life; hanging your benefactor on a cross like a felon, the lawgiver like one outside the law, the King of all like a man condemned?"
"When the heavenly Powers saw You falsely accused as an impostor, and the tombstone sealed by the very hands that lanced Your pure breast, they shuddered at Your indescribable forbearance. Yet rejoicing over our salvation, they cried out to You, Glory to Your condescension, loving God!"
Will you be to busy to attend services this year? Are you still to proud to wear the the symbol of faith that people have died for, including the only One that loved you enough to die for your salvation? Do you have a cross in your home? It's something to think about....but don't wait to long, it may be later than you think.
All scriptural references were taken from the Orthodox Study Bible
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