Volume 33 Number 6

The Scandal of the Cross

Crucifixion was often referred to as the “most wretched of deaths.” It was so offensive, that many Romans did not like to even mention it.

There were many variations of the methods of crucifixion depending on who the executioner was. As a general rule, here is what usually took place.

After flogging, the accused would carry the cross beam to the site of the execution. The vertical beams were usually mounted permanently at the site. The execution site was typically in a visible place, such as a crossroad, outside the city. The accused would usually be stripped and nailed to the cross beam through a place in the hands that would not break a bone or cut an artery. The accused would be fixed to the vertical beam, which had a peg on it for him to sit. His feet would together be turned sideways and nailed to the vertical beam. His crime was usually written on a plague and fixed to the cross for all to see. This was to serve as a deterrent.

The executioners became experts at their job. Their job was to cause the most amount of pain and humiliation while keeping the accused alive as long as possible. Sometimes it took six days for someone to die. In the meantime, birds of prey might come and feed on them while they were still alive.

Death was not caused by the nailing, but by other things such as exposure, dehydration, hemorrhaging, and shock. If they executioner needed to hasten the death of the victim, he would smash his legs, causing hemorrhaging and shock.  This form of death was repugnant and only reserved for the lowest classes, slaves, and political criminals. If someone in the family were a convicted criminal and were executed in this way, it would have been a source of shame and embarrassment.

Of all the deaths to die, why was this the way Jesus died? If Jesus died on the battlefield in a blaze of glory, would that not have been a better story to tell? Outsiders often scorned Christians for the scandal of serving one who had been executed on a cross. Yet neither the New Testament writers nor the early church tried to tone down the cross. They could have just said that Jesus died without telling how he died.

What does the fact that Jesus died the lowest, the most wretched of deaths say about him? Jesus poured himself out as a bondservant both in life and in death. He also redefined glory. Glory is found not in heroic tales of marvelous feats, but in the simple and faithful service rendered to others in the name of God. Whether it is washing feet, a cup of cold water, kindness to the outcast, glory is found with the least of these. To be crucified with Christ, to take up your cross, dying with him daily, means identifying with the “least of these” even in the face of severe persecution. It means becoming nobody so that you will be somebody before God. The Kingdom of God is so different than the kingdom of this world. The greatest are the least and the least are the greatest.

News & Notes

CHILI COOKOFF:  February 7th at our pm potluck will be the day!  We are also going to have a cookie bake off so please get your favorite recipe ready!

TEEN FELLOWSHIP:  Sunday evening  Feb 21 after evening services Amy Penick will be hosting a teen gathering to decorate and bake cookies at the building.  Pizza will be served.  Teens bring beverages.

BIBLE BOWL: Bible bowl practice is at 4:30 today.

LECTURESHIP:  The 2010 Grandview Lectureship will be held April 23-25 beginning Friday night at 7:00 and ending after the 6:00 Sunday evening service. Be watching for more details.

LADIES DAY:  Just a reminder to save the date for May 1st for the Hickman Road Ladies Day.  There will be flyers and more information following.

ADULT BIBLE CLASS: We are continuing in our study of the book of John. Thus far we have made it through 15:11. This week we will be discussing our homework from two weeks ago: “How did Jesus love his disciples ?” All students are encouraged to continue reading through the 16th chapter this week and answer the question: “What was the specific work the Holy Spirit was going to do through disciples and through what methods would this be accomplished?”

RICHARDSON’S MISSION UPDATE: February 14th after PM worship please join us in listening to the Richardson’s update on the mission work with Grandview. Mike and Diane will give a short 30 minute presentation on last year’s projects and tell about the plans for Mission work in 2010.

Bible Reading is FUNdamental (BRIF): Members at Grandview read the Bible on a regular basis and we track the number of chapters read each week.  Below are the number of chapters reported during the period January 3, 2010 through January 30, 2010.  It is interesting to note that there are 1,189 chapters in the Bible comprised of 31,175 verses.  That makes the average length of a Bible chapter 26 verses long.

Jan 9 — 538
Jan 16 — 732
Jan 23 — 693.5
Jan 30 — 537.5

SONBEAMS will meet Tuesday Feb. 9, at 9:30 here at the building. We will have coffee, snacks, conversation and games. Snacks will be potluck.

Prayer Requests

Martha Winkelman (a friend of Phyllis Mort) died on Wednesday from her cancer.

Caleb Guillo had a major lung collapse last evening and has undergone surgery. Caleb also has a genetic connective tissue disorder that inhibits healing, please keep him in your prayers along with his parents, Bob and Caron Guillo.

Sandy Longfellow has uterine cancer and will be undergoing a hysterectomy on February 11.

Mike Dorrell’s father, Dick Dorrell, is in Methodist hospital suffering from pneumonia and is not doing well.

Jake Ferrell’s mom, Vicki Bennett, is in Lutheran hospital.

Sunny Folding’s sister-in-law, Amanda Free, just had her third miscarriage.

Dora Bailey’s mother, Carol Crocker has a herniated disc.

Mitch Mort is attempting to avoid pneumonia.

Gene McClaren requested prayers as she is having some home-sickness for Iowa.

Mike Mazak will become a civilian on March 21st. He has requested prayers as he makes the transition from the military and begins seeking other employment.

Brody Decker whom we have been praying for concerning leukemia has been hospitalized for the flu.

Lyndsay Gordon has a prayer request for her friend from high school Katie Ford had a stroke.  She is only 31 years old.  She has had a second stroke since that time.

Please remember all those looking for employment– this is a very stressful time for them!  David and Frank Colton, Floyd West (Susie Easter’s brother), Deborah Wallis,  Tom Collier, Marla Housby.  Anne Ogle’s mother Arlene is in danger of losing her job.  Michelle Parker has gotten a job.

Anne Ogle’s grandfather, Earnest Kughl had his leg removed and is not responding well to treatments.  Ann’s dad has been having difficulty dealing with his father’s current condition.

Joanne Miller has been diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension.

Shane Siegle’s sister, Cherrie Hubbard has now learned her cancer has spread to her bones.

Please pray for Deb Kuper and the children as well as Chad.

Brian Hiskey’s friend, Jeff Ward has received word that his tumor has spread to his brain.

Ronnie Harrison’s sister, Sharon, is doing better but still struggling with her appetite.

Nick Lacina who his leukemia and worships at the Center Street Church of Christ in Marshalltown.  Nick was part of Grant-a-Wish and travelled with Kurt Warner’s family to Disney World.

Clint Mongan is now recovering at home.

Pray for our nation and all the challenges facing it.

Expectant mothers:  Sarah Mongan, Dawn White, Dora Bailey, Anne Ogle, Melissa Ludwig

Marnie Walker and the girls in Des Moines with the house for sale while Philip is in Alabama.

Josh White (son-in-law of a member of the church in Council Bluffs) had a stroke. Additionally, his family has requested prayers that both he and his wife Kaylla come to the decision to be restored in their relationship with God. They are living in Ankeny.

Missions:  Richardsons; Emilee Flaherty – medical missions in Zambia; Bob and Marla Housby—Italy

Calendar of Events

  • Jan 31    Jess Mort Shower—2-4 pm
  • Feb 7     PM Potluck—CHILI (and Cookie) COOKOFF!
  • Feb 13    Bible Bowl—Hickman Road  – 9 am
  • Feb 16    Ladies  Fellowship—Caribou Coffee
  • Feb 20 – Jess Mort and Jerod Flaherty wedding
  • Feb 27 – Blood Drive
  • Apr 23-25    Grandview Lectureship
  • May 1 – Hickman Ladies Day
  • May 21-23 – Davis City ‘Creation’ Seminar

End of this issue.