Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Cross of Christ @ Easter (Part 1)

A book which has had a profound impact on my theological view, and intimate relationship with Jesus is John Stott's The Cross of Christ. I thought in the days leading up to Easter I would post some excerpts from the book to help us all focus on this most important part of our Christian faith.

The Importance Jesus saw in His Death:

Firstly I think it's good to look at how Jesus viewed his impending death on the cross.  What was his motives, or even his reason for his life, and how did his death affect that?

"...So he set his face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem. Nothing would deter or deflect him. Hence the reiterated 'must' when he spoke of his death. The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected. Everything that was written about him must be fulfilled. He refused to appeal for angels to rescue him, because then the Scriptures would not be fulfilled which said that it must happen this way. Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer before entering his glory? He felt under constraint, even under compulsion; 'I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am (RSV 'constrained', literally 'hemmed-in') until it is completed' (Luke 12:50) 
So then, although he knew he must die, it was not because he was the helpless victim either of evil forces arrayed against him, or of any inflexible fate decreed for him, but because he freely embraced the purpose of his Father for the salvation of sinners, as it had been revealed in Scripture. 
This was the perspective of Jesus on his death. Despite the great importance of his teaching, his example, and his works of compassion and power, none of these was central to his mission. What dominated his mind was not the living but the giving of his life.  This final self-sacrifice was his 'hour', for which he had come into the world..."
John Stott; The Cross of Christ, p30
Jesus was resolute toward his death, understanding that in dying he would fulfill the purpose for which he had come to earth... the purpose for which he had given up the ultimate power and glory of heaven and restricted himself to a human body.

If Jesus put so much importance on his death, how much more should we?

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