Only One Crucifixion Can Save the Soul



Only One Crucifixion Can Save the Soul

Richard Hollerman

Probably you have heard or read of those people who seek to be crucified in our day for one purpose or another. We’ve read of this happening in the Philippines. These misguided Filipinos seek to identify themselves with Christ, the One who was crucified for our sins. These contemporary experiences of people being nailed to crosses have no bearing whatsoever on our soul—or theirs. Although they may seek to atone for their sins, there is no saving power in what they do.

Recently we were noticing that another group of crucifixions had occurred in South America. These Asuncion, Paraguay cross experiences were done by workers who felt that they had lost wages during a dispute some years earlier when a dam was being built. The newspaper says that these crucifixions are “an increasingly common form of protest in Paraguay that has been condemned by the Roman Catholic Church but has often worked” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, January 7, 2015).

The report says that a woman and four men have been nailed for some weeks. Carlos Gonzalez, the organizer, says that these people will continue to stay on the crosses for some time.

How are these crucifixions performed? They involve 3-inch nails being hammered into their hands. From the photos we have seen, they are lying on their backs and have the benefits of medical attention. If the photos are accurate, it appears that the nails didn’t pierce the most sensitive parts of the hands and the crucified ones were not hanging by the nails but lying down. (We admit that the photos I’ve seen may not be the full story.) As we know, this is different from the cruelty inflicted on the Son of God when He was crucified. Apparently the Filipino crucifixions do sometimes involve one raised on crosses.

These modern-day crucifixions—whether of the Philippine variety or the Paraguay variety—are far different from that which our Savior experienced 2,000 years ago outside the walls of Jerusalem in Judea. The Lord wasn’t seeking to win a grievance over anyone and He wasn’t seeking to achieve salvation for Himself (remember that He was sinless). His intentions were very different. 

We do notice that His physical experience was different. Our Lord was scourged mercilessly and beaten with both fists and rods. He had a crown of thorns placed on his head. And nails were not just placed in his hands (or wrists) but also his feet. And all of this was after the Lord was scourged (a whipping that was utterly cruel and could kill a person easily). Under these circumstances, He died within six hours.

But spiritually, what did Christ’s crucifixion accomplish? Jesus offered His body and blood on the cross to reconcile man to God (Colossians 1:20-22; Romans 5:10). Christ died to redeem us (1 Peter 1:18-19) and to cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:7). Jesus died for us (Romans 5:8) and for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3).  By this means, Jesus showed His love for us (Galatians 2:20) and satisfied the justice of God (Romans 3:24-26).

Although we may turn from contemporary crucifixions with disgust, hating any public displays to demonstrate a presumed piety or to coerce others to give us financial rewards, we must never minimize the offering of the body and blood of our Lord on the cross of Golgotha.  Christ’s cross event was the greatest one in all history and our present relationship with God utterly depends on what Christ did two millennia ago. Our eternal welfare in God’s presence depends on that cross experience!  With Paul, let us “boast” in the cross of Christ by which the world has been crucified to us and we to the world (Galatians 6:14).



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