Monday, April 5, 2010

If Not for the Cross (and His Suffering)

“I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross.”

~John R. W. Stott, The Cross of Christ.

It’s a theological reality that God suffers with his creation—and the cross of Jesus Christ is the most poignant example of that.

And this, finally, is what has captivated the world of Christ-believers. If not for his compassion toward the maimed, blind, mutes, beggars and broken; if not for his truth-etched teaching; if not for all the miracles; if not for his rejection of legalistic religion... these would be enough in their own right for many to believe.

But it is the cross of Jesus Christ that everyone—given the acuity of reflection—can acutely identify with; the God that died there, after coming into the world, having lived like we do, after learning and practicing a trade, after finding much resistance in his ministry; who was rejected many times, unfairly tried, scourged and beaten to a pulp, laughed at, spat on and then finally... crucified. Is this God distant to our suffering?

God knows our suffering more acutely than we often realise.

The moment we lose all comprehension of God’s part in suffering we begin to flail in a sinkhole syndrome all our very own making.

Jesus was not, and is not, detached from the reality of the world—he threw himself into this reality and his Spirit still does, entreating and interceding even as we grope for the faintest sense of light over our sorrowful souls.

If not for the cross...

The cross is the resounding message from a God so much in love with his creation he died for it. If not for the cross, we’d be still estranged from the heart of God, transactionally, beyond transformation to this brilliant new life of truth and spiritual abundance.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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