Christians often speak as if we worship the only God who has been crucified, but that’s not true.
Every god, every idol, every thing that is worshipped has been and will be crucified. The only question is: What happens next?
The message of the Gospel is not only that Christ was crucified for our sins. That is an essential part.
Hebrews 9 lays out how Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament law and sacrificial ritual. Those things were shadows that pointed to how Christ would come and initiate the new covenant through His sacrifice.
We even see that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).
But other gods frequently find themselves on a cross. They die all the time.
The god of money is crucified when bills come and there’s no way to pay them. Or when you actually reach the financial status where you think it’ll bring you satisfaction, but it still leaves you empty.
Sex and relationships are gods repeatedly crucified in our culture. People find themselves empty after pursuing another sexual hookup. You’ve entered into a new relationship or gotten married and then you find you still aren’t whole.
We see it with politics in our culture constantly. If we can just elect the right person, pass the right bill, appoint the right judge, then true lasting change will come. But politicians are people and they disappoint.
Insert anything in that spot which you place in the center of your life’s orbit—popularity, success, job, kids, politics, entertainment—they all eventually meet the cross of life and die.
Because they all die, what happens next is what separates false gods from the God.
You can take money, sex, success and all the rest down off the cross and pretend as if their lifeless corpse is still a god worthy of your worship.
But you’ll know and everyone around you will know. It’s obvious because they’ll disappoint you again and find themselves on the cross again.
Maybe this time, their sacrifice will be worth it. Surely, things will change now. Except they don’t. Every time.
We don’t just need a crucified god. Those are a dime a dozen. We need a resurrected God who won’t find Himself back up on the cross.
In Hebrews 9:23-28, the writer explains that Christ only needed to offer Himself once to pay for our sins. You will never find Jesus back on the cross because He only needed to be “offered once to bear the sins of many.”
Having sacrificed Himself once for our sins, He didn’t stay on the cross or stay dead—as every other god does. He resurrected.
When Paul explains the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15, he says Christ died for our sins and was buried, but “He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”
We need a resurrected, living God who not only dies for our sins, but conquered death with His life.
Every god will die, but only One died for our sins and rose again in victory. That’s what makes Jesus different. That’s what makes Him alone worthy of your worship, obedience and life.