The Cross as “Speechless failure”

The most therapeutic exercise for the Christian who is enduring suffering, of whatever sort that might be, is to contemplate the crucifixion of Jesus.

If ever mortal men found a real hero on this earth, those men were disciples. They, indeed, were hero-worshippers. Then think of the horrid shock and shame which overwhelmed them at the Cross. It was no splendid martyrdom for a great cause, no glorious conquest won at the cost of life; no epic to be sung or celebrated. No, the Cross was simply an utter overthrow, a speechless failure. It was all sordid, cruel, criminal, a gross injustice, an intolerable defeat of good by evil, of God by devils…. He their hero, their chosen leader, he was numbered with the transgressors. He was cast out with a curse upon him. Think how loyalty would burn to right this wrong, to clear his memory, to save his reputation, to prove that gross outrage had been done to him, to magnify the life so that the death might be forgotten…. But nothing of the kind seems to have occurred to the Evangelists. They literally glory in the Cross…. They are clear, with an absolute conviction, that the best and most wonderful thing he ever did was… to die a felon’s death, between two robbers. It was their hero’s greatest heroism that he was executed as a common criminal.

–Philip Rhinelander, The Faith of the Cross, cited by Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion

Whatever the Christian may endure, the folly of the cross proves itself ever and again as the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Published in: on February 16, 2017 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment