We preach Christ crucified

This is how St Paul described the core message of the Christian faith when he wrote the book of 1 Corinthians. He knew when he said it, that this is was an idea that many people would dismiss as nonsense. To understand why, we first have to recognise that the term 'Christ' is not just an alternative name given to Jesus, but has a very specific meaning.

At about the same time in history that Jesus was living under Roman rule in Palestine, the Ancient Britons were fighting them on our own shores. Queen Boudicca is celebrated as the warrior hero (though unsuccessful) who led the Britons in revolt. The Jewish people looked for a similar figure to lead them to victory in reclaiming their land, and believed that God had promised them one in 'the Christ'. By assigning this name to Jesus, his followers were declaring their belief that Jesus was this promised Messiah.

Crucifixion was the brutal way in which the Romans executed their defeated enemies. So to speak of 'Christ crucified' was indeed a contradiction. Those from Jesus' own people could not stomach the idea of a true Messiah being executed; Greek Philosophers dismissed anything that did not conform to the strict rules of logic. 'Christ' and 'crucified' could be described as opposites. In Jesus, Christians believe that the man of the cross was no other than the God himself - the God we encounter in this song by Chris Tomlin.

We will all face our troubles and struggles; many of life's experiences leave us with deep questions about why our world can sometimes be such a hard and cruel place. When we begin to recognise the significance and breadth of the phrase Christ Crucified we realise that our faith has much to say that can help us make sense of these contradictions. Click here for a reflection on Christ crucified.

You can click here for some other FaithSpace reflections on the cross

Click here for our reflections on words
Click here for our reflections on memories
Click here for our reflections for Advent
Click here for 'What's on your plate?'

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