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From the Confessions: The Apostles Creed
Pulling It Together
All of Jesus' ministry looks toward the crucifixion. He tells his disciples over and over that this is why he came to earth. Sometimes it is a veiled announcement (John 2:19); other times it is straightforward (Matt 20:18-19). His life pointed toward crucifixion, an event that Jesus declared would redeem the world (Mark 10:45).
A hanging produces immediate death. Compared to crucifixion, hanging is merciful. Crucifixion is meant to make a person suffer. It is a gruesome, slow, painful, and public death. The victim was tied or nailed to a wooden crossbeam and left hanging upon it to slowly die from suffocation. If a person was crucified on a simple cross (a pole or crux simplex) with hands tied over the head, the suffering was over within an hour or so. Being crucified with outstretched arms meant a much slower death—and someone who wanted the suffering to linger. It was literally excruciating (from the Latin word excruciatus meaning “from the cross”).
Jesus suffered for our sin to the point of enduring the most painful and humiliating death known to the people of his time. We confess that Christ suffered in our place, redeeming us from the curse of the law (Gal 3:13) by dying the cursed death of crucifixion (Deut 21:23).
Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for dying for me. Amen.
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Reading and Discussion of Luther's Catechisms is a more challenging study series based on assigned readings from the Book of Concord and related Scripture texts. Each study is comprised of eight sessions, plus an optional introductory session, each presented in a question and discussion format.