An Easter without a Crucifixion?

Joe Willmann Teaching the Faith at Home Leave a Comment

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What a joy Holy Week was as we broke the fast from alleluias. The resurrection was proclaimed in churches all across the world: He is risen! He is risen indeed, alleluia!

As we traveled from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday to Good Friday to the Great Vigil and finally to the great feast, The Resurrection of Our Lord, we were drawn to the cross. But we weren’t drawn to an empty cross. We were drawn to a cross with a body on it. A bloodied, bruised, and beaten body with a crown of thorns, stakes driven through His hands and feet, and a pierced side where water and blood flowed out. We were drawn to a cross with our Savior on it. A cross with the One who took on the sin of the whole world and who willingly died—for you and for me.

Obviously, if there was no empty tomb there would be no Easter. There would be no Christianity. The same can be said for the cross. With no Savior nailed to it, there is no salvation to be found.

The brutal and honest truth is that the cross was a death tool. Christ’s death is hard to comprehend. It was gory. It was brutal. Any person who watched The Passion of the Christ can tell you just how crushing it is to come to the realities of what Christ did for us.

As a parent of young children, how do you present the truth of Scripture to your children when the reality is so shocking? Obviously, there aren’t many parents who would show their kids The Passion of the Christ. But is it possible to teach Christianity without the crucifix? Is it possible without Christ nailed to a cross?

Is it possible to teach Christ crucified without the crucifix?

Sadly, some commentators claim that you can—and maybe even should—teach kids about Christianity without the cross. But the brutal and honest reality is that you cannot.

Yes, dear friend and parent, I’m telling you that you must teach your two-year-old about Christ crucified for sinners. You must tell your inquisitive three-year-old that Christ died for our salvation when he or she asks what Jesus is doing on the cross. You must talk to your four-year-old about sin, death, and the devil and how Jesus came to conquer them all. And when you teach this, you then talk to your children about their Baptism and how what God accomplished on the cross, the salvation that He won, has been delivered to them.

Am I saying that you have to describe in graphic detail the entire ongoings of Good Friday? No. I’m not telling you to give your child a play-by-play, blow-by-blow account of the crucifixion. I’m just telling you that you cannot shy away from it. You teach them what is true, and what is true is that we have an amazing God, who proclaims to us today as he did to the Israelites:

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Exodus 20:2 ESV

He brought us out of slavery to sin, death, and the devil by what He did on the cross. So teach your little ones that truth. Keep them grounded in the faith once for all, delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3 ESV)

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. May not copy or download more than 500 consecutive verses of the ESV Bible or more than one half of any book of the ESV Bible.


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About the Author

Joe Willmann


Joe Willmann is the Senior Instructional Designer for Concordia Publishing House in St. Louis, MO. A former teacher and administrator, Joe has a passion for education and learning theory. He earned his Bachelor's Degree from Ball State University and his Master's Degree from Concordia University - Ann Arbor. He lives with his wife, Nicole, his daughter Ava, and his son Carter. You can read his latest posts here.

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