Jesus replied, "Did I not tell you that if you believe, you would see the glory of God?"
- John 11:40
The cross is the crux of all that Christians believe.
The cross is the seemingly grotesque hinge point of our entire faith, the symbol of the death of our God. So, why celebrate it －why put crosses on our cars, tattoo them on our skin, wear them around our necks? It really seems a rather morbid behavior if you think of it. But, the glory of God often appears upside-down at first glance. It doesn’t make sense. It seems foolish and downright absurd. But, on deeper consideration, what seemed like foolishness is wisdom, the absurd is amazing, and the grotesque becomes glorious, as we will see.
Again and again, Jesus talks about his coming death on the cross in terms not of sorrow, but of glory, telling his friends that his glory is about to be revealed. Of course, they don’t understand him. How could he be talking about death as glorious? Yet, his death is the very thing that Jesus insists must take place. He must be glorified in this way. He must give up his life. He must take death on in order to get to that glory. So, he does. And, for three long days all of the dreams of his followers die with him. But, on that fateful third morning when some women go to the tomb to weep, they find it empty.
Jesus flips death on its head, declaring it null and void. He displays his glory through the crucifixion, a death that was ugly, torturous, and unjust. And, the cross itself is transformed from a symbol of execution and death to a symbol of victory and life. Jesus declares that his victory over death, and life itself, is available to all who would believe. He says, “Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet he shall live (Jn 11:26).” His death bought life for all who would trust in the wonder and the glory of it. His foolishness is our wisdom, his absurd, our amazing, his grotesque is our glory. This is the upside-down way of God, available to all who would believe and see it.
What about God seems foolish or upside-down to you?
Where do you want to understand more of the wisdom and the glory of God in your life?
The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:25a)