Friday, July 11, 2008

The Crucified One Was a Conqueror

"Of course any contemporary observer, who saw Christ die, would have listened with astonished incredulity to the [apostles'] claim that the Crucified was a Conqueror.

"Had he not been rejected by his own nation, betrayed, denied and deserted by his own disciples, and executed by authority from the Roman procurator? Look at him there, spread-eagled and skewered on his cross, robbed of all freedom of movement, stung up with nails or ropes or both, pinned there and powerless. It appears to be total defeat. If there is victory, it is the victory of pride, prejudice, jealousy, hatred, cowardice and brutality.

"The the Christian claim is that the reality is the opposite of the appearance. What looks like (and indeed was) the defeat of goodness by evil is also, and more certainly, the defeat of evil by goodness. Overcome there, he was himself overcoming. Crushed by the ruthless power of Rome, he was himself crushing the serpent's head (Gen.3:15).

"The victim was the victor, and the cross is still the throne from which he rules the world.

Fulfilled is now what David told
In true prophetic song of old,
How God the heathen's king should be,
For God is reigning from the tree."
-- John Stott, "The Cross of Christ" pp.227-228 (InterVarsity Press 1986)

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