However, it is also easy to intellectualise the process of death and the crucifixion as merely historical events. This is a great barrier in our comfortable societies to truly comprehending the Gospel.
I believe that it is only often when we are confronted with death directly in our lives we can truly understand Christianity.
It is in these moments we can comprehend the fears of Christ, and the profound loss of and sacrifice of God in leaving his own son.
The crucifixion was more that a historical event, it was a relational act between Jesus, God and the Church. Jesus experienced the fear and anguish of death and suffering as real as any person.
God experienced the profound loss of a child, much like any loving father. The death of Jesus was a relational act for us. In the same way I would be willing to sacrifice my life for my loved ones, Jesus was willing to make that sacrifice for us: His loved ones.
These actions and experiences were more than theological prerequisites for salvation. They were events that had real impact on those involved, and should have on us as recipients of sacrificial love.
The nature of the world is that we will always be surrounded by death. There will always be sickness, suffering and war.
I believe as Christians we should pray that the suffering that we all have in our lives more profoundly reveals the love, sacrifice and grace that is given to us.
The magnitude of the sacrifice Christ made should wipe away our fears with the knowledge that we are profoundly and eternally loved by a dedicated and relational God.
Nathanael Yates from Perth, Western Australia, is an award winning young scientist completing a PhD in the neurobiology of schizophrenia
Nathanael Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/nathanael-yates.html