I am reading "The Crown and the Fire: Meditations on the Cross and the Life of the Spirit" by N.T. Wright for this year's Lent period. Will try to post few sentences which impressed me the most from each chapter.
Chapter 7: "Truly, This Man was the Son of God"
On the cross, was Jesus a failed Messiah or a successful Messiah? The
crowds mocked Him, "If you are the Messiah, come down from the cross,
and we will believe in you." But - precisely because He is the Messiah,
He must stay on the cross. He is doing what only He can do. He is the
sole, unique innocent one, bearing the pain, the shame, the guilt of the
world. And if He were to come down from the cross now - if He were at
this last moment to be disobedient to His unique vocation - the game
would be over. Satan would have won after all. It is because He is the
Son of God that He must die on the cross, doing that which only the Son
of God can do. Only so can the world be redeemed.
happens normally in the world. When we are cursed, we curse back. When
we are hated, we pass the hate on; we keep it in circulation. But the
divine way is different. Jesus takes temptation, hatred, curses - the
bitterness of a bitter world - and He absorbs it into himself on the
cross. And this pattern, acted out uniquely on the cross, by the Spirit
of Jesus working within us, becomes the pattern we are commanded to live
out. This is the vocation of the church: to take the sadness of the
world and give back no anger; the sorrow of the world and give back no
bitterness; the pain of the world and not sink into self-pity; but to
return forgiveness and love, blessing and joy.
In His death on the cross we see a love which can only be identified as God's love.
Almighty God, you have revealed yourself to be a God of infinite and
tender love, in the cross of Jesus Christ. Open our eyes afresh, that we
may find that the way of the cross is indeed for us too the way of
truth and peace and life.