Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The either / or message of the cross

TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 8:12-30

TO CHEW ON: "Then Jesus said to them, 'When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself, but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.'" John 8:28

Here Jesus, in a reference to His death on the cross at the hands of the very people He is conversing with (" 'When you lift up the Son of Man' "), makes an interesting claim. He says " '...then you will know that I am He' " (the embodiment of all the other claims He has been making about Himself  - John 8:16, 19, 21, 22, 23, 26).

This is a bold prediction. How was it so?

Supernatural events at the time of Jesus' crucifixion:
If the hearts of the Pharisees were at all open to the possibility that what He said here was true, then the unnatural happenings at the time of the crucifixion (the day's premature darkness, the earthquake, the ripping of the temple curtain, the dead raised) would have been powerful witnesses.

Jesus' death on the cross was / is also a personal sifting:
I believe this knowledge was and is more personal—a sorting event that revealed to the Pharisees in Jesus' time and continues to reveal, down to us today, our very hearts.

"They may be confused now, but they will know then. Whether this knowledge will result in salvation or judgment is not said. The idea is probably that they will at that point see the revelation shining at its brightest and have their hearts revealed as, in the light of that revelation, they either embrace or reject Christ and the God He reveals" - IVP Commentary on John 8, accessed through - emphasis added.

Still today the message of the cross sifts us (the message that entails our innate sinfulness, our need of a Saviour, and God's mercy, love and grace in sending Jesus to die in the place of each one of us). Some believe and accept it, some don't. It's either / or. 

Paul expresses it so well in 1 Corinthians:
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. …For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God" - 1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-24.

Dear Jesus, thank You for obeying the Father in dying on the cross for us. Please continue to open the eyes and hearts of people all over the world to how this is the power and wisdom of God. Amen.

MORE: Holy Cross Day

Today the church celebrates HOLY CROSS DAY    .

The liturgy of the day begins with this prayer:

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world to himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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