The resurrection effectively reversed the charges against Jesus and confirmed his mission. We thus see that if he had saved his life at the cost of his proclaiming the divine lordship, he would have actually made himself independent of God and put himself in equality with him. ‘Whoever would save his life will lose it’ (Mark 8:35 par.). This was true of Jesus himself. He could not be the Son of God by an unlimited duration of his finite existence. No finite being can be one with God in infinite reality. Only as he let his creaturely existence be consumed in service to his mission could Jesus as a creature be one with God. As he did not cling to his life but chose to accept the ambivalence that his mission meant for his person, with all its consequences, he showed himself, from the standpoint of he Easter event, to be obedient to his mission (Rom. 5:19, Heb. 5:8). This obedience led him into the situation of extreme separation from God and His immortality, into the dereliction of the cross. The remoteness from God on the cross was the climax of his self-distinction from the Father. Rightly then, we may say that the crucifixion was integral to his earthly existence.
— Wolfhart Pannenberg, Systematic Theology, Volume 2. (1991) pp. 374, 375.
The Ministerial Association had one program which was very successful and that was the Annual Community Good Friday Service. Because the local Roman Catholic Church had the largest sanctuary of all the churches in town, it was always the location of the service. Years before I came to town, one of the Roman Catholic priests who had been there had written a liturgy for this service. It involved recruiting young people to carry in certain symbols associated with the crucifixion. There was a large wooden cross standing at the end of the center aisle, for all the people to see. The young people would carry the symbols of the crucifixion story up the center aisle, past the cross and place them in the chancel area. Then, there was a reading of the passion story, in which several of us pastors took part. There was a message (the newest pastor in town always got that). Then, there was something called The Veneration of the Cross. (more…)
1. O Love divine, what has thou done!
The immortal God hath died for me!
The Father’s co-eternal Son
bore all my sins upon the tree.
Th’ immortal God for me hath died:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified!
2. Is crucified for me and you,
to bring us rebels back to God.
Believe, believe the record true,
ye all are bought with Jesus’ blood.
Pardon for all flows from his side:
My Lord, my Love, is crucified! (more…)
Here is a nice quote from Scot McKnight’s book A Community Called Atonement. This appears on page 69, at the end of Chapter 9 on the Crucifixion theme in the New Testament account of atonement. I changed the formatting so that the first part appears as a list.
I suggest that we see the achievement of the cross in three expressions:
- Jesus dies “with us” — entering into our evil and our sin and our suffering to subvert it and create a new way;
- Jesus dies “instead of us” — he enters into our sin, our wrath, our death; and
- Jesus dies “for us” — his death forgives our sin, “declares us right,” absorbs the wrath of God against us, and creates a new life where there once was only death.
Not only is this death saving, this same death becomes the paradigm for an entirely new existence that is shaped, as Luther said of theology and life, by the cross. A life shaped by the cross is a life bent on dying daily to self in order to love God, self, others, and the world. And a life shaped by the cross sees in the cross God becoming the victim, identifying with the victim, suffering injustice, and shaping a cruciform pattern of life for all who follow Jesus. The cross reshapes all of life.
“Bear the Cross cheerfully and it will bear you.”
— Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, pt. 2, ch. 12.
“Love feels no burden, regards not labors, strives toward more than it attains, argues not of impossibility, since it believes that it may and can do all things. Therefore it avails for all things, and fulfills and accomplishes much where one not a lover falls and lies helpless.”
— Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, pt. 3, ch. 6.
“It is much safer to obey, than to govern.”
— Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, pt. 1, ch. 9.
“An humble knowledge of thyself is a surer way to God than a deep search after learning.”
— Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, pt. 1, ch. 3.
Guest blog by Morgan Guyton. Morgan is the associate pastor of Burke United Methodist Church and lead pastor for their Lifesign contemporary service. He blogs regularly at Mercy Not Sacrifice. His writings have also been known to appear at Red Letter Christians, and HuffPo and elsewhere on the web.
Morgan says about himself: “I’m a broken person whose brokenness is what qualifies me to love and serve other broken people. I’m learning to be less ideological and subordinate everything else that I believe to trusting in God’s love. I’m very passionate which can turn into arrogance when I don’t have enough loving friends around to call me out. Above all, I seek to be saved from the prison of self-justification that Christ died to help me overcome. The more that Christ liberates me from the need to be right all the time, the more that I grow capable of love.”
Morgan is also the author of a book entitled: How Jesus Saves the World from Us: 12 Antidotes to Toxic Christianity.