I believe that as Christians we like to talk about the cross a lot. We like to talk about Jesus heading to Calvary, that he died for our sins, and we even walk around with crosses on our clothes and jewelry. I am not the first to say this, but the cross is only significant because of the resurrection.
Plenty of people died of crucifixion. I am sure that other would be messiahs died in similar fates. What makes the Christian claim about this messiah significant is the resurrection. The resurrection shapes and adds meaning to Jesus’ death on the cross.
If crucifixion is the shameful, oppressive, death tool that it is, then being resurrected adds meaning to Jesus’ death. There was no shame that is why we call this moment full of glory. The oppressive tool of death takes a swing a Jesus and Jesus walks away on the other side. Remember death is an enemy in the Bible. Death is an entity that has overstepped is boundaries and is used as a corrupted, destructive, and violent force against God’s good creation. Jesus breaks death’s hold on the world by allowing it to do its worst.
Jesus also was wrongly condemned for being not the true king and a blasphemer against God. His resurrection shows that his trial, judgment, and execution were injustice. He is vindicated by his resurrection.
The fact that Jesus willingly goes and brings about the situation of his crucifixion followed by his resurrection tells us that this is also somehow part of God’s plan. There was no accidental death by crucifixion on Jesus’ part. He came into Jerusalem making angry all the right people. He knew that’s what he was doing. The apostles in the Gospel According to John say that they were hiding and trying to stay low because to go public would mean certain death. This included going to Jerusalem.
I believe for far too long the resurrection in mainline Christian culture has been pushed to the side and the cross has stood tall in the limelight. Again the cross is significant. However, it is part of the story that makes a whole picture. What gives the cross so much of its character and shape is thanks to the resurrection.
I leave you with this we do not believe in the crucified Jesus.
We believe in the crucified, resurrected, and ascended Jesus Christ.