Five Reasons Digging Deeper Into the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion will Bring You More Joy

In 1941, my grandparents acquired 160 acres of lake property in Northern Wisconsin so that their grandchildren would be able to learn more about God’s creation by experiencing it. To this day, my immediate family loves to be in the North Woods surrounded by the beauty of raw forests, idyllic lakes, and magnificent flora and fauna.

To walk through the woods and smell the fresh air is delightful and enriching all by itself. But understanding the intricate connection between environment and human beings requires some expertise.

Occasionally, one of my cousins, a world-renowned botanist, will take family members on walks through the mossy bogs and soft pine straw to explain what happens in the ecosystem. My cousin brings greater appreciation and joy through understanding the beauty and experience of being in that special place.

Knowledge and Joy

I’m thankful for trips with my cousin because his depth of knowledge increases my knowledge, and brings deeper joy to my outdoor experiences. The same is true for knowledge of Christ.

The story of Jesus’ crucifixion is not just central to the Christian story—many would argue is central to understanding Western history altogether. While there is value in knowing the facts of the Crucifixion or even the theological basics, there is great joy to be found in deeper knowledge.

Five Reasons to Start Digging

Prof. N.T. Wright’s newest book, The Day the Revolution Began, and the course that goes along with it will increase your knowledge, and your joy, for at least five reasons.

God is Faithful

When we understand our personal experience of redemption in light of the narrative of Israel’s story, it brings us a deeper appreciation of how God has been faithful to his people in the past, and will be continue to be faithful to us.

Forgiveness is Complicated

As Christians, we have the beautiful gift of knowing and experiencing God’s forgiveness for our sins. Just knowing this is a wonderful, freeing experience. But understanding the intricacies of what sin is, the process of forgiveness and the variety of it implications is awe-inspiring.

Understanding the intricacies of what sin & forgiveness and the variety of its implications… Click To Tweet

Disarming False Notions

Some who teach about the Cross, as well as many who criticize the Church, make it sound like the crucifixion is the story of God “punishing his own son.” As we come to a deeper knowledge of the story, we realize that the Cross is about love, not punishment.

Atonement is Redefined

Central to conflict among different Christian groups is a varying understanding of what “atonement” means. In a deeper study of the Crucifixion, the Cross is understood as it relates to the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. God’s work of atonement is more vast and beautiful than we often teach.

God work of atonement is more vast and beautiful than we often teach. Click To Tweet

Listening to the Authors

In our desire for a simple, linear understanding of scripture, it’s easy to lose the voice and intentions of its different authors. The gospel writers bring their own layers of interpretation to the story of Good Friday. We might not hear all of the nuances in a sermon or Sunday School. By studying the voice of the authors, we multiply our sense of joy from understanding them.

Renewing the Mind

Well, here is an extra reason to look deeper into the meaning of Jesus’s crucifixion: your worship of God will be deeper through understanding and bringing such transformation is part of the ‘renewal of the mind’ the Apostle Paul wrote about.

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David P. Seemuth

David Seemuth is the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Center for Christian Study and coordinates seminars and classes. He and Prof. N.T. Wright collaborate in online course development. David has been an Adjunct Professor at Trinity International University for over 25 years and teaches in the area of Biblical Studies, specializing in the New Testament. He also served as an Associate Pastor at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, WI for 33 years.

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