“Christmas and Easter can be subjects for poetry, but Good Friday, like Auschwitz, cannot. The reality is so horrible it is not surprising that people should have found it a stumbling block to faith.” ― W.H. Auden
The death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion has a profound impact on the social world. It divides. Actually, it polarizes. It is such a terrible idea on so many levels that people are either repulsed by it and its implications for them, or they are drawn to it for the same reasons. It is not the stuff of poetic words or moving prose. It is too terrible a death for that, its meaning too severe.
The death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion has a profound impact on me, as it does on you and on every person. Certainly, the crucifixion is proof to the world that our God loves the people He created, and that He leads with love in all His interactions with those people. How could we not find a God who would make such a sacrifice on behalf of those who rejected Him to be a winsome and engaging person? Why would we not be extremely interested in who this God is, and why He would be so sacrificing in His love for us?
The death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion has profound implications for me as well. If this God loves me this much, and desires my company even at this cost, how can I not at least explore His overtures toward me? Why would I turn away in disinterest in the face of such profound statements of interest, love, and concern for me?
At another level, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has additional implications for how I live each day. As mentioned in previous posts, the crucifixion illuminates the great love and mercy of our God for us. A perfect love and a deep mercy that tempered and balanced the perfect justice of God. How can I live a life devoid of that kind of love and mercy, when I have benefited so much from it myself?
Sadly, on my own, in my own strength I am unable to live a life of such love and mercy. Because of the rebellion in all of us, the nature we all carry as members of the human race, such love and mercy are not within our grasp. Try as we might, we fall into selfishness which is the opposite of love. We resort to judgment and negative prejudice which are the opposite of mercy. We seem unable to respond in kind to the love of our God, or even the love of others toward us. I am not immune. I fail in this no matter how hard I try in my own strength.
I am moved by the example of My God’s love. I long to love and be merciful, but it escapes me. My behaviors give that away.
The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is a key to overcoming this incapability. When Jesus died on that cross, his death eliminated the absolute power of the rebellion over me. It made it possible for new power from my God to replace the domination of rebellion and sin, and supplant the weakness in me, the inherent inability to do anything good.
That new power is the result of what followed the death of Jesus on the cross: the resurrection.