Lesson 4 - The Crucifixion of Christ

Lesson Four: The Crucifixion of Christ

(Colossians 2:11-23)

Jesus Christ came into the world to die for the sins of all mankind.  He is the Son of God, who was sent by the Father to shed His precious blood upon the cross for our redemption, and the forgiveness of sins.  The crucifixion of Christ is the most important historical event of all time.  The hymn writer expressed this truth as follows:


"In the cross of Christ I glory,
Tow'ring o'er the wrecks of time.

All the light of sacred story
Gathers 'round its head sublime."


The apostle Paul put it this way: "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."  1 Corinthians 2:2.  This lesson focuses upon the crucifixion of Christ.



A common heresy promoted by legalistic preachers was the teaching that circumcision was necessary for salvation.  Their message was a perversion of the gospel of the grace of God.  In Acts 15 the apostles and elders in Jerusalem dealt with this false teaching, declaring it to be erroneous.

Jesus Himself had been circumcised.  It's mentioned in Luke 1:21, where we read, "And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb."

In Colossians 2:11 reference is made to "the circumcision of Christ."  Here Paul is writing about His crucifixion, not His circumcision as a child.  Isaiah prophesied of Jesus, saying, "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation?  For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken."  Isaiah 53:7, 8.     



"In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ."  Jesus' circumcision was also our circumcision.  In Galatians 2:20 the apostle Paul expresses this truth, "I have been crucified with Christ...."  When He died, those of us who believe in Him also died. 

Circumcision to the Jews was a religious rite.  To the Christian it is not a rite, but a reality.  The Israelites looked upon circumcision as something physical.  Believers see it as something spiritual, made without hands.  The false teachers understood it as the cutting off of an unclean piece of flesh, but Paul saw our circumcision as the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh.  This is something that God did for us on the inside, not the outside.    



Our circumcision with Christ speaks of our dying together with Him.  We have been united together with Him in the likeness of His death.  Paul explains it this way: "Our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away (or rendered inoperative)."  Romans 6:6.  Paul wrote to Timothy, "This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him."  2 Timothy 2:11.  It's worth repeating...when He died, we died.  

Believers are not only identified with Christ in His death.  We are also identified with Him in His burial.  We have been buried with Him in baptism. 

There are two different interpretations held among Bible teachers, regarding this baptism.  Those who believe in baptism by immersion quote this verse to support their mode of baptism.  Others believe that this baptism is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, whereby the believer is baptized into the body of Christ.  See 1 Corinthians 12:12, 13.  It is the baptism by the Spirit that makes our identification with His body a spiritual reality.

In our baptism we are also identified with Him in His resurrection.  "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses."  In another place Paul writes, "For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection."  Romans 6:5.       



What did Jesus Christ accomplish by giving His life for us?  Those who watch His crucifixion believed that He was a loser.  But we know that He rose again from the dead, the Lord of life.  What does Paul have to say in the few verses recorded here in Colossians 2.



"The handwriting of requirements" in Colossians 2:14 is a reference to the law.  The commandments were a certification of debt, the instrument of condemnation.  The handwriting "was against us," and "was contrary to us."  By the works of the law no one can have a right relationship with God.  The whole world is found guilty before Him. 

But what did Jesus do?  "And He has taken it (the law) out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."  When Jesus died, He fulfilled the righteous requirements of the law, dying the just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous.  Believers are free from the law of sin and death.  "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."  Romans 10:4.  On the cross Jesus "abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is the law of commandments contained in ordinances."  Ephesians 2:15. 

The handwriting has been wiped out, blotted out, erased...once for all!  "For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified (or set apart)."  Hebrews 10:14. 



"Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it (that is, in the cross)."  Colossians 2:15.  Who are these principalities and powers?  They are Satan and those fallen angels, who followed him in his rebellion against the Lord.  They are also known as evil spirits and demons.  Jesus disarmed (or spoiled) them, made a public spectacle of them, and triumphed over them.  He did all this while nailed to a cross. 

Earlier in this chapter we read that Jesus "is the head of all principality and power."  Colossians 2:10.  This Jesus not only rose again from the dead.  He also ascended to heaven, where He sits at the right hand of the Father, "far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come."  Ephesians 1:21.  He is the mighty Victor!



False teachers had entered the church at Colosse.  In our previous lesson we briefly considered Gnosticism, a common heresy of the time.  A knowledge of what Jesus accomplished at Calvary helps us to understand doctrine contrary to our basic Christian beliefs. In Colossians 2:16-23 Paul addresses other erroneous teaching.



We have already made reference to "the handwriting of requirements," and man's inability to meet the law's demands.  Some false teachers at Colosse were legalistic in that they focused on diets and days, calendars and commandments, ritual and regulations.  Food had to be kosher.  The Sabbath was to be strictly observed, as well as some Old Testament feasts.  Paul wrote, "So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths."

Religious ceremonies in the Old Testament were "a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ."  According to the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, these things were "the copy and shadow of the heavenly things," and largely "symbolic for the present time."  See Hebrews 8:5; 9:9.

Consider the Old Testament sacrifices.  They were offered year after year, but the blood of bulls and goats could not take away sins.  They were simply a shadow of the sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God.  This is clear in Hebrews 10:1-10. 

Legalism is an erroneous approach to God that leads nowhere.  The apostle Paul put it this way: "I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."  Galatians 2:21. 



The false teachers at Colosse took delight "in false humility and the worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen."  They lived in a world of religious make-believe.  Today some would have us pray to saints or the virgin Mary.  Others would have us use crystals in our approach to God.  This is hocus-pocus religion with no basis in truth.

There is only one Mediator between God and man.  It is the man Christ Jesus.  1 Timothy 2:5.  We had direct access to the Father through the Son, who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me."  John 14:6.



Asceticism was characterized by "an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body."  At Colosse the people were taught, "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle."  Self-denial was promoted as a way of victory over the sins of the flesh and a way to a holy God.  In an extreme situation it results in a retreat from the world to a monastery or temple, where all worldly pleasures are taboo.  The apostle Paul would have us know that these things are of "no value against the indulgence of the flesh."

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ struck a death blow to legalism, mysticism, and asceticism.  His victory on the cross is also our victory, as we are identified with Him in his death, burial, and resurrection. 

"But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."  Galatians 6:14.



All About God

Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
Copyright ©
1979, 1980, 1982
by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by Permission.
All rights reserved.

Navigation Tips

Since visitors use different browsers and monitors, and have different preferences in how they navigate through a website, we've provided multiple ways to progress through the studies on KnowingJesusChrist.com.

1) For those who find drop-down, slide-out menus convenient, just hover over the category (menu link on the top bar) and sub-category (menu link in the drop down list).  If there is an arrow to the right of the item, the articles in that category will slide out.  (If there is no arrow, just click on the item.)  Click on any article to read it.  If you have a "wheel mouse," you should be able to roll it toward you to see more of the drop-down menu.

2) If you are unable to see all the drop-down or slide-out items (or just prefer a different way of navigating), click on the category (menu link on the top bar), then on any sub-category in the list that appears.  You will see a list of articles to choose from OR use our Site Map.

3) Most studies are part of a series (category or sub-category).  Each article within the category has a link to the next article so you can progress easily to the next study.

4) At the top of the page, you will also notice "Breadcrumbs" that show which category and sub-category you are in.  You may click on those links to return to the "parent" category or sub-category list.

5) ANSWERS to Review Questions and Quizzes are found in links at the end of the Review Questions or Quiz.  They may also be accessed by clicking on the category (which will show a list of all articles in the category).  The link at the end of the article will cause a pop up window to appear so you may easily refer to other pages on the site; the link in the Category list will open a normal page.

If you're looking for a particular topic, word, or phrase, try the Search feature in the right column.

Close this box by clicking on the top (dark brown) part again.