Gleanings of Wheat: A Blog dedicated to cooking, kids, and Christ

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Christ Our Mediator Chapter 1 Questions

As I mentioned before, my church recently started reading this book and the Pastor emails us all questions to help us think more about it. I thought it might help me reflect a little more deeply and hopefully give you something to mull over as well if I share it. If you have thoughts in response to these questions I'd love to hear read them in the comments. Oh, and happy Resurrection Day!

Why are images of the cross in and of themselves insufficient? Why are the reasons behind the cross so significant? **

I remember when The Passion of Christ hit theaters, how people talked about how this could be used as a great witnessing tool, how vivid the images were, how distressing it was to see Jesus suffer like that, etc. I remember, after seeing it, even thinking some of those things. But honestly? It didn't have any lasting impact on me, or on those around me who also saw it. It conjured up feelings of pity for Jesus, that the Pharisees would be so vicious, that the Romans would kill a man such as He, that His friends would abandon them - but often as I discussed the movie with others that is as far as it went.

I think, generally, that is as far as images of the Cross are able to go. They cannot fully explain what happened on the Cross and if left to themselves viewers will walk away simply feeling bad for what happened to Jesus - not sorry for what they personally have done to cause the Cross to be necessary. Images cannot convey the depth of our hearts' depravity, or the fact that it is my sin that was placed upon His shoulders that day, or the fact that His suffering was not primarily physical; images cannot convey the victory that happened on Calvary that day, the slaves set free, the grip of sin and death broken. How could they? Images can't display the glory of God in the same way Scripture does, and that is exactly why God gave us Words and not pictures.

How are people who have been believers for a long period of time tempted to think about the cross? Why is this dangerous?

Often times we view the Cross as that one time thing. Christ died to save us from our sins, and we think we have to move on from that. That the Cross was good (great even!) and now we have to get on with our new lives in Him. But often when we lose sight of the Cross we can become prideful and arrogant, we may begin to think that we walk in our strength and when we fail it can cause us to question everything - including our salvation if we've been taught that you can lose it.

What are some of the effects of thinking carefully and consistently about the death of Christ on the cross?

I've found in my own life that if I will purposefully reflect upon the Cross I tend to be more humble, more patient, and more loving. If you keep the Cross in mind you are forced to also keep the reason the Cross was necessary in mind as well. It is my sin, my wretched, traitorous heart that was in rebellion against God that made Christ's death so vital. If I remember that, if I remember what He died to save me from it helps me to treasure His grace and mercy more. It drives me to desire conformity to Him so that I might show others His great goodness. If I won't treasure the Cross how can I show the lost the majestic value of it?

What is necessary in order to come to a more thorough understanding of the cross? How should this impact your study of this topic?

I imagine a more thorough understanding of our own sinfulness would help our understanding of the Cross. A better understanding of God's holiness and our position as enemies would help as well. Ultimately, I think it comes down to humbling ourselves before the King, being willing to admit we don't know everything anything other than what He has shown us...that if we know anything it is simply a gift of God, and it is a gift He loves to give. Knowing this, it should drive us to our knees and cry out for wisdom, understanding, and even more grace. Knowing this should cause us to want to draw e'er nearer to the Cross of Calvary.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Rom. 6:4)

**David has a great post touching this subject.