What do we mean when we say something is “crucial”? The best way for me to understand this word is to think of it in terms of the “most important thing.” In other words, a crucial event is one which is central to everything which has happened before, and carries much implication on what will happen after.
The word crucial actually comes to our language from the Latin root ‘crux’ (pronounced crooks), and which essentially means “cross.” How appropriate a word: for what event in all of human history is more crucial than the cross, and what person in all of human history is more important than the Christ of that cross?
All of human history, yea, every person’s very eternity is directly linked to the way they relate to the person and work of Jesus Christ. Not only, though, is Christ and Him crucified crucial in understanding secular history, but also Biblical- redemptive history. In fact, it’s really difficult to divorce the two. The Jesus of the Bible, who died, arose and ascended into Heaven, is the Jesus who lived in real space and time historically! Jesus is therefore the “crucial” person in history, because He is the “crucial” person in the Bible.
But have we missed the boat at this point? Most sermons you will encounter on the radio and television seemingly lie at two poles: on the one end of the spectrum, some sermons are not any different from something you could hear on Oprah or Dr. Phil during the week. It’s a self esteem class cloaked in the vernacular of Scripture. Lying at the other extreme is the kind of preaching that is all law and no gospel. Put another way, the person in the pew hears a sermon on how he or she should be behaving and living without ever hearing of the Christ who obeyed in their place because they never could. Please don’t tell me what Jesus would do without telling me what Jesus has done! Preaching against sin and for holiness is good. We all need to be confronted and rebuked. If, however, there is no gospel of Jesus’ obedience for us, then we miss the primary message of the text of Scripture.
The Bible is not an unrelated book of unconnected events, sporadically moving from scene to scene without any unifying theme. It is not a self help book given to boost our self confidence, thereby enabling us to succeed and live our best life now. It is not merely a rule book to govern our behavior, and from which we can only draw out life principals. The Bible is one continuing, unfolding drama of how God Himself came to us as a man in order to rescue us from condemnation. Christ is “crucial” to understanding and interpreting scripture: that is to say that He is the focal point of everything before Revelation and after Genesis. EVERY TEXT WHISPERS HIS NAME! For the preacher to preach anything other than “Christ and Him crucified” (I Cor. 2:2), is to do a great disservice to the hearers. When Jesus preached the Old Testament, He preached about HIMSELF!!