Why We Should Think Critically About The Crucifixion
As one who has learned to think critically in recent times, even if I didn’t already have an understanding (continuously evolving) of Jesus, The Christ, I would have to ask myself some questions after reading the Gospels and other wisdom texts like The Gospel of Thomas, Secrets of Esoteric Christianity, etc. And of course the post below, that inspired this blog post. An early question to my teacher many years ago was, “Why did it have to be so horrifyingly brutal?” Historical records tell us that Rome’s methods of conquering, dominating and controlling the populations of its regions in order to maintain and grow its power, were vicious, terrifying and unthinkable. There was little allowance for free will or independent study that brought Rome into question. They had ingenious ways to squelch dissent, practically before it began, and keep its populations enslaved for generations. Historical records show that “street preachers” popped up constantly, preaching God’s word and prophesying a new way. Those souls were silenced on the daily without much fanfare—it was accepted by them and by the populace.
Clearly, somehow, this guy was different. There was something about Jesus of Nazareth that raised serious red flags, for Rome AND for the High Priests of the Jewish tradition. One would almost have to surmise that Jesus was perceived as a credible and imminent danger to those power structures.
You have to ask, why? What made Him different than the other voices that were snuffed out regularly? If He was just another one of those voices, why not do away with Him like the others, with little muss or fuss? Crucify Him, let Nature take its course resulting in a long and slow suffocation, break His legs when the worst appeared to be done, take Him down and throw His body into the festering ditch filled with other corpses that had met a similar fate? Problem solved, people get the message, and we can all go home.
Maybe the situation in Rome (and with the Pharisees and the Sadducees) had been brewing and fomenting for some time. So they needed a scape goat to reinforce their oppressions. They needed an example and He showed up on their radar screen at just the right time—sucks to be Him, but, hey, anybody will do.
Clearly they saw Him as dangerous. What other reason could there be for the over-the-top demonstration of torture they carved out just for Him on that day? In retrospect, they probably realized fairly quickly they made a misstep with this One.
What made Him dangerous to the “powers that be?”
Food for thought on this Easter Sunday…
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“He received 39 stripes because 40 was known to kill a man. They wanted him alive.
They held handfuls of his beard, and hair and pulled it out by the roots. They wanted him alive.
They kicked, punched, and spit on him for hours. Until there wasn't a single spot on his body not covered in blood. They wanted him alive.
They shoved a crown of thorns down on his head so harshly it stuck in his skin. They wanted him alive.
After hours of being beaten, mocked, whipped, flogged, and tortured they made him walk with a cross. They made him carry it. A rough piece of wood with splinters digging into fresh wounds. They wanted him alive.
They wanted him to feel every ounce of pain they could bring.
He had to feel it in order to heal us.
Crucifixion was historically one of the cruelest most tortured deaths a human could face. Hours upon hours of torture. Torture most of us can not mentally think of because the cruelty isn't normal. It isn't something our minds can comprehend.
We celebrate Easter with pastel colors, happy children hunting eggs, and chocolate. Truth is there was absolutely nothing happy about the day Jesus died. It was cruel, bloody, and nasty.
He could have stopped all of it. He could have called every angel in heaven to demolish every person standing and shouting "Crucify Him!"
He didn't. He knew in order to have a "Sunday you have to have a Friday." He knew in order to have joy you have to carry your cross. He felt everything that day. He felt how your heart broke wide open when you had to watch your baby die. He felt how heavy your life was when you were staring down the barrel of a gun wondering if the man you called husband was going to shoot you. He carried the weight of the burden you have felt since your spouse died and life just doesn't seem right since. On that cross he held the sinners and the saints. He leveled every playing field and said ALL of you are worth it. He knew he had to carry the cross. He never promised the cross you carry in this life would not be heavy. His wasn't. His promise is that Sunday is coming, and it’s now here.
No matter how heavy Friday was and is financially, emotionally, mentally, or physically, His promise was simply this. He won't make you carry it alone.
What kind of king would step down from his throne for this?
Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God did. For you.
He did every bit of it for you and me.
Oh yes it is heavy. So heavy sometimes you do not think you can take one more step.
But look up, because Sunday is here!
He has risen! He is here to carry our burdens.
Happy Easter my friends. 🙏🏻❤️“