A Work of Capital Punishment


In this message, James Merritt discusses the two main differences between crucifixion and the more common forms of capital punishment today.

Living in America, we are very familiar here with capital punishment.  Here we use everything from the electric chair, to the gas chamber, to lethal injection and a few states still use the firing squad and the hangman's noose. Without question, crucifixion is probably the most painful and torturous death ever devised in history. The two ways crucifixion differs from the way people are put to death today are as followed:

First of all, at least here in America, for the most part, executions are private events. Cameras are not allowed to see any execution and usually only friends, family members and someone related to the victim are allowed to be a witness at all. In contrast, crucifixion was not only a public event, the Roman Empire actually wanted people to see a crucifixion so they would always remember what it was like to cross the authorities.

Furthermore, today's executions are very, very swift and as much as possible humane. Death is generally brought on as quickly and quietly as possible. On the other hand, crucifixion was designed purposefully to be a painful, humiliating, and lingering death that could take place over a period as long as nine days.

Here is what is interesting.  Even though very little detail is actually given concerning the death of Christ, the overwhelming emphasis of the New Testament concerning Jesus Christ is not on His birth, nor His life, but on His death. The Apostle Paul wrote half of the New Testament and yet if you go and read any of the books that he wrote, virtually the entire ministry of Jesus Christ is ignored. He never mentions His teachings. He never mentions His miracles. He never mentions the parables that He told. The emphasis is almost solely and singularly upon His suffering and death and resurrection.

There is a reason for that. The death of Jesus Christ is emphasized, because the death of Jesus Christ, along with His resurrection, was the singular act and event of His entire life.  Every other person, other than Jesus Christ, was born for the specific purpose of living. Jesus was born for the specific purpose of dying. He said in Mark 10:45, "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."  

You see, death did not end the work of Christ. Death was the work of Christ. 

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