Thursday, December 23, 2010

the crux of the cross

Crux, from the latin, means "a cross". But not any crossing. It is when two thing intersect, causing difficulty. The crux of a problem is when two competing ideas come together and require resolution prior to continuing. Were it a simple crossing, where one thing simply lays over another, the term crux would not apply. It is not simple, but arduous. To demonstrate this, we should examine some derivitive words.
  • Crucial means "of the cross". Francis Bacon coined the term instantia crucis, or a crucial instance, where a decision must be made which will change forever a course. This does not indicate a simple choice, but one of difficulty, weight, and merit.
  • Crucify means "to make or become a cross". When the Romans used crucifixion to execute someone, they did so with specific intent. If they wished only to display the corpse of someone they executed, there are much more expedient methods. If crucifixion were meant to simiply kill, there are more efficient ways. To crucify someone was to kill a person, in public display, by a method which also tortured the victim. The cross was meant to be cruel and vicious.
  • Excruciating means "causing intense suffering; torturing". A translation from the Latin means "Deriving from the cross". Our concept for torturous pain comes directly from crucifixion. To be crucified was, litterally, excruciating.
This Christmas, remember what Jesus willingly did for all of us. The world had reached a crux. A crucial decision had to be made. Jesus decided to be crucified for all of us; replacing our suffering with his.
When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. - Matthew 27:12-14

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