Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Cross

Brian Zahnd says that before looking at the cross to work out what God has done; we must look at the cross to see who God is.

Where do we find God during the suffering of Christ? Do we find God in the high priest Caiaphas demanding a sacrificial scapegoat? Do we find God in Pontius Pilate requiring a punitive death to satisfy imperial justice? No! On Good Friday we find God in Christ absorbing the sin of the world and responding with forgiveness.

The cross is where God receives the most vicious blow of human sin, and turns the other cheek, and forgives. The apostle Paul tells us that “in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself.” This should not be misunderstood as God reconciling himself to the world. It wasn’t God who was alienated towards the world; it was the world that was alienated towards God. Jesus didn't die on the cross to change God’s minds about us; Jesus dies on the cross to change our minds about God. It was not God who required the death of Jesus, it was humanity that cried, Crucify him! Crucify him! When the world says, “Crucify him”, God says, “forgive them”.

The sacrifice of Jesus was not necessary to convince God to forgive. To forgive sinners is the nature of God. When Jesus prayed on the cross for the forgiveness of his executioners, he was not acting contrary to the nature of God; he was revealing the nature of God as forgiving love. The Cross is not what God does. The cross is who God is.

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