Centered on the Cross

~ thoughts from The Cross of Christ, Chapter 3, “Looking Below the Surface

Last_Supper_by_Del_ParsonJesus’s death was necessary. Voluntary. Altruistic.
And beneficial—to get rid of the obstacle of sin that prevented us from getting close to God.

John Stott takes a closer look in chapter 3 at the importance of the cross in three main scenes within Jesus’s last 24 hours prior to his death.

1. The Upper Room

Jesus visibly symbolized his death with the bread and the wine (Matthew 26:27-28)—explaining it to the apostles, who subsequently explained it to us.

It was a memorial of his death. It is the cross that he doesn’t want us to forget.

2. The Garden of Gethsemane

What was in the cup that Jesus didn’t want to drink (Matthew 26:39)? Physical suffering? Surely not just that. Martyrs ever since have shown great courage in the face of brutal sufferings. Surely Jesus would show no less courage than they.

The dread was alienation from his Father. He knew that on the cross, he would be covered in darkness, in our sins.

3. On Golgotha

Why this cry from the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)?

Some say from anger or despair. Others say it was a cry of loneliness. Or perhaps a cry of victory.

But perhaps we should take his words at face value: he cried out because he was God-forsaken. Could there be anything worse?

Truths from the Cross

Stott concludes chapter 3 with three truths we learn from the cross:

1. Our sin must be really bad.

It is impossible for us to face Christ’s cross with integrity and not to feel ashamed of ourselves. Apathy, selfishness and complacency blossom everywhere in the world except at the cross.

2. God’s love is exceptionally incredible.

God pursued us even to the desolate anguish of the cross. …Its proper name is “grace,” which is love to the undeserving.

3. Christ’s gift of salvation is free to us.

So what is there left for us to pay? Nothing! Since he claimed that all was now “finished,” there is nothing for us to contribute.

* * *

More from Chapter 3 at Challies

Previous chapter summaries

1 comment:

Barbara H. said...

Love those quotes, especially the first one.


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