Holy Week 2012: When We See the Cross

Read:  John 18:1-19 and 19:16

The one who made the hands of his betrayers and executioners is now in their hands.  The one who has known no sin will soon become sin.  It is an amazing day, an awful day, and a day full of mystery.

But it is also a day when a number of questions are answered once and for all.  When we see the cross….

(1) We know that sin is real.  Atonement is only necessary if something prior to it exists.  Jesus did not die for “nothing.”  He died to save us from sin.  The old hymn asks, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?”  The only possible theological answer is, “Yes…we were all there.”

(2) We know that love is paramount.  Far from being “divine child abuse” (as some radical theologians assert), this is the Father giving His very best on our behalf.  We don’t scandalize a fire chief who sends a firefighter into harm’s way to save a child from a burning building.  We call the effort one of heroic love.  In the same way, and to an even greater extent,  God’s sending of Christ into a “burning world” to save us is nothing but an act of amazing love.

(3) We know that salvation is possible.  The Cross has opened a way for us to move from death to life—darkness to light.  Sin does not have the last word.  God has it, and it comes to us through the mouth of the One hanging on the Cross:  “It is finished!”  Mission accomplished.

So much of Christ’s passion is not good (in the pleasant sense of the word), but today is “good” in the sense that the original creation was called “good”—it achieved the purpose for which it was intended.  When we see the Cross, we see an invitation to live.

About jstevenharper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 31 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church
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