In Grand Rapids, Michigan, there is a fastening company that specializes in every conceivable kind of fastener. They have bolts, and screws, and buttons, and zippers, and clips, and hooks – you name it, they’ve got it. It’s amazing how many ways there are to fasten things together.
In Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, he began by declaring how the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man worked together in the death of Christ on the cross. In Acts 2:23 he said, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”
God determined in ages past that Jesus would die on the cross. But man was responsible for his own wickedness in the act of crucifixion – “…you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”
The word “crucified” is not the normal word for crucify. It is a special word used only here in the Greek New Testament. The word actually means “to fasten.” It’s the word “to fix” with the attached preposition “near to, or beside.” So it’s the idea of fixing something beside something else (to fasten them together).
What Peter is saying, therefore, is that they “fastened” Jesus to a cross, and by that means they killed Him. Peter is emphasizing the cruel procedure of nailing a victim to a cross. They fastened Jesus to that cross with nails. The New American Standard version says “…you nailed to a cross…and put Him to death.” Peter was reminding the people that they didn’t just kill Jesus. They killed Him by the most inhumane manner possible. They fastened Him with nails to a tree. Now all of that happened so that Jesus could die for our sins. He was fastened to a cross for you… and me!
Now you know the real meaning of the word.
Hey — Next time you fasten things together – think of Jesus fastened to a cross for you.
For further study, read: Hung on a Tree