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When Christ was Crucified—Paul Says Christ Crucified Me too! Galatians 2:20. Do you realize that this weekend is far more than just a holiday?
Each of us in Christ this evening has a stake in this week’s events that exceeds anyone else’s in the world (those who are apart from Christ). What exactly am I talking about? This is the week we can most reflect upon the reality that we actually died with Christ two thousand years ago.
For the rest of our lives, we are to be seeking to know more completely and more deeply all that God did in that six-hour period of time when Christ was crucified, and we were with Him by the grace of God.
No verse more clearly summarizes what Jesus has done than Paul’s testimony in Galatians 2:20. No verse more clearly frames what each of us should declare at this sacred moment than Paul’s words that we can affirm for ourselves tonight.
Now using a short lesson in the grammar of the Bible, on this night we have gathered to remember the cross of Christ we need to remember it not merely as a distant historical fact—no, we must see it as an event that we were a part of, personally and directly and powerfully.
“I have been crucified with” is actually one word in the original text of the New Testament, and it is the verb around which this verse is built. This verb is known by Greek scholars as word # 4957, and is sustauroo a verb found five times in the New Testament; and which literally means ‘to crucify alone with’. To better understand this verb we must notice its three inspired grammatical parts. When you classify a Greek verb you state the tense, the voice, and the mood. Sustauroo translated “I have been crucified with” is a perfect tense, passive voice, indicative mood verb.
• The perfect tense in Greek describes an action that is viewed as having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated. We all know one very famous usage of the perfect tense. Christ’s last cry from the cross, TETELESTAI (“It is finished!”) is a good example of the perfect tense used in this sense, namely “It [the atonement] has been accomplished, completely, once and for all time.” So here in Galatians 2:20, Paul uses the perfect tense to first say, “I have been crucified alone with Christ”.
• The passive voice represents the subject as being the recipient of the action. That adds to the meaning as Paul using the passive voice says “someone else crucified me, I didn’t do it myself”.
• The indicative mood is a simple statement of fact. If an action really occurs or has occurred or will occur, it will be rendered in the indicative mood. Finally, Paul’s use of the indicative mood adds the meaning that “this really happened to me, it is not a hypothetical or fanciful thing—it is a fact”.
So if we use all the truth of the grammar taken together, Paul says, “What I am telling you is a fact (indicative mood), I have actually already been crucified by God with Jesus Christ (perfect tense); God crucified me and I didn’t do it myself; it happened and was completed in the past, once and for all, and never needs repeating…(passive voice)”
So, when Paul says Christ was crucified, he says that Christ crucified him also. And if you understand the doctrine of our union with Christ from God’s Word that means that every single one of us tonight was also crucified that day with Jesus Christ.
In an incredible way that only God can accomplish and explain—each of us here tonight who are believers—died at the same time as Jesus almost 2,000 years ago. We have already died once in a real, spiritually powerful way in Christ on His Cross we celebrate tonight.
Though all of us may look quite alive, the truth is that on this day, 20 centuries ago, we were hanging on the Cross with Jesus Christ. When He died, we died.
And after His death when two loving men took down His body and buried it in a borrowed Tomb, we were also buried with Christ. When He died—we died; when He was buried—we were buried.
And when He walked out of that Tomb early Sunday morning—each of us also walked out with Him! When He died—we died; when He was buried—we were buried, and when He rose—we rose.
That truth should course through the heart and mind of every believer in Christ. That is why this week is the most special week in the entire world for all of us in Christ. That is why we are to spend this week pondering Christ and His Cross, remembering His death for us, His burial for us, and His Resurrection for us. He is our life, our hope, and our salvation.
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