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Christ Crucified 

Blog 04-05-2022

What is the most important thing you want people to know? To phrase the question differently: If you had a magic messaging machine with which you could send a message to every single person on the earth today, what would your message be?

Here’s another question: Would you think hard and long about your message before sending it? Would you prepare to the best of your ability so as not to offend or exclude anyone? Would the gravity of a global audience influence your message at all?

I’m sure I would give it a lot of thought and still probably get it wrong.

Now, I’m not sure whether the apostle Paul ever thought that his letters would be included in the best-selling book in all of history. I’m not sure it would have mattered to him if he knew, either. In his first letter to the Corinthian church he writes:

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
1 Corinthians 2:1-2 (NIVUK)

Later on Paul reminds them of his message that is ‘of first importance.’ He writes:

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 (NIVUK)

I think these verses sum up beautifully what Paul would have wanted the world to know. I think this would have been his one global message: Christ died for our sins, and Christ was raised to new life.

And what a relevant and profound message it would have been. It is relevant, because it counts for every human being. Christ died for our sins. Not just mine. Not just yours. Not just for the sins of the people Jesus met or liked. For everyone everywhere. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the single most relevant message anyone can hear because it was done for everyone.

But that’s not all. Christ was also raised to life on the third day. Paul’s most important message is not only relevant, but also profound. Christ’s resurrection has the greatest impact on all of history, because it influences everything. It changes the way we look at the world. It changes the way we interact with the world. It changes our very being from dead because of sin, to alive in Christ. The world would never be the same after that first Easter Sunday because of the hope, joy, peace and love that was freely offered to all mankind all of a sudden. What a message that would be! What a message that still is.

We don’t have a magic messaging machine to broadcast this message of hope to everyone in the world in one go. And we don’t need one. Jesus’ messaging machine is his church, his body. The same church and body that you and I are part of. The message is clear: Christ died for our sins and was raised to life again. It’s a message of hope, a message of joy, a message of inimaginable consequence. And you and I have been entrusted with this message.

Telling the whole world might be an overwhelming thought. Telling one person might be more manageable. But living a life that reflects Christ crucified and raised to life is the best testimony. As Peter writes:

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:12

And also:

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
1 Peter 3:15

That reason is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing else.

A prayer:
Lord Jesus, you died for my sin and rose for my victory. Thank you that you do not keep this new life to yourself, but that you offer it to me as well. May my life testify to the hope and joy of a new life in Christ. Amen.
Photo by Diana Vargas on Unsplash

Nico Marais, 04/05/2022