The Cross of Christ
Jesus did not die a gentle death like Socrates with his cup of hemlock, much less passing on old and full of years like the patriarchs of the Old Testament. Rather, He died like a slave or a common criminal, in torment, on a tree of shame.
Jesus did not die just any death; He was given up for us all, on the cross in a cruel and contemptible way. Reflection on the harsh reality of crucifixion in antiquity may help us overcome the acute loss of reality which is to be found so often in present theology and preaching.
Jesus did not just die a martyrs death for some worthy cause, nor did He die as some sort of quiet lamb going to the slaughter so that those that stood for what He stood for would be galvanized to gain a hearing by the public. He did not even die so that someone else might live. When He went to the cross, He went to provide a way so that the very ones who crucified Him, you and I, might have a way provided for our forgiveness, and that we might be rescued from the entanglements of the hell we have created in this world.
In Christ we find the reality of forgiveness. No matter what your life; what your past; whatever it is that you or I try to cover up with the masks we wear in public; we know One Who knows exactly who we are. And He is willing to say to you and to me, you are forgiven.
Of all the great founders of religions, Christ is the only One Who will come along side us, claiming to be our Creator incarnate, come to deal with the problem of the guilt of our sin by means of His sacrifice on the cross so that we can receive forgiveness and peace with God.
To ask why must we think that Christ is the only way to God is to miss the point completely. For Christ does not, in that sense, compete with anyone, for the simple reason that no one else claims to deal with this fundamental problem. He’s the only One in the running.
How can it be narrow-minded or arrogant to accept from Christ what no one else offers?
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
2 Corinthians 9:15
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
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