Footnote 13 – Martin Hengel, Crucifixion in the Ancient World and the Folly of the Message of the Cross

Footnote 13 – Martin Hengel, Crucifixion in the Ancient World and the Folly of the Message of the Cross (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1977),  pp. 83, 87, 89-90.

        “When Paul spoke…about the ‘crucified Christ,’ every hearer in the Greek-speaking East…knew that this ‘Christ’ …had suffered a particularly cruel and shameful death, which as a rule   was reserved for hardened criminals, rebellious slaves, and rebels against  the Roman state.”    

      “That this crucified Jew, Jesus Christ, could truly be a divine being sent on earth, God’s son, the Lord of all and the coming judge of the world, must inevitably have been thought of by any educated man to be utter ‘madness’ and presumptuousness.”

     “By the public display of a naked victim in a prominent place – at a crossroads,  in the theater, on high ground, at the place of his crime – crucifixion also represented his utmost humiliation…  With Deuteronomy 21:23 in the background, the Jew in particular was very aware of this.”                       

     “When Paul talks of the ‘folly’ of the message of the crucified Jesus, he   is therefore not speaking in riddles   or using an abstract cipher…he deliberately wants to provoke his opponents, who are attempting to water down the offence caused by  the cross.”                       

      “Thus in a way the ‘word of the cross’ is the spearhead of his message…it  is impossible to dissociate talk of the atoning death of Jesus or the blood  of Jesus from this ‘word of the cross.’  The spearhead cannot be broken off the spear.”                            

Hebrews 12:2 – Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.     NASB

 Hebrews 13:13 – Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.  NIV

Acts 5:41– So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.   NASB

1 Peter 2:6– Because it is contained in scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: And he that believeth on him shall not be put to shame.   ASV        


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