I think that this (described below) is a provocative and powerful way to consider why the Passion of Christ exists at all, why it must for any of Christianity‘s tenets to be true. Most people who call themselves Christians do not, in my opinion, very well reflect the actual teachings of the Bible. I suspect that this can also be said of me many times throughout the day. But, I also think that if anyone is going to try to understand why Christianity is so powerful (and I’m not referring here to a Crusade-like conversion at sword point manner, but in an individual, meditative and personal way), it is the very notion that there is a God who loves us *this* much, who wants this particular kind of relationship, and who has experienced and mourns over the extraordinary amount of pain in this world. Christ was either the Son of God, or he was a completely insane and dangerous vagrant. There is no middle ground, no “wise teacher” stuff. It’s a powerful challenge to anyone’s sense of knowledge in this world. If we only murdered a poor sick leader of a cult, it wouldn’t be so much news. We do it all the time, even now. But if we murdered God, and then He came back to us again anyway… Well, it’s rather magnificent that we’re still here to talk about it, isn’t it?
HEN JESUS SUFFERED and died on the cross, God bore the sin and suffering of the world. By giving his life to the bitter end, Jesus shared the fate of all innocent victims of inhumanity. He took the suffering of the world upon himself. He absorbed the agony of broken hearts and twisted lives. …
Second Corinthians 4:5-6 was the favorite text of my theological mentor, Robert Cushman, and I can hear his often repeated words in my mind to this day: “The only authentic Christian life is a cruciform life.” In an “if-it-feels-good-it’s right” world, the glory of the cross makes little sense. But to the hurt, the abused, the wounded, and the lonely, the Savior who identifies with our pain is the light of life. As followers of Christ we are called to translate, through God’s grace, the cognitive dissonance caused by our questions about the brokenness and suffering of the world into resolute action rooted in God’s love. …
God in Christ “suffers with” the world. This is the actual meaning of the word compassion. I believe nothing expresses the central truth of God’s essence more fully than compassion, the outworking of God’s self-giving love. We see compassion on the cross.
– Paul Chilcote
Changed from Glory into Glory
From pages 103, 104, and 105 of Changed from Glory into Glory: Wesleyan Prayer for Transformation by Paul Wesley Chilcote. Copyright © 2005 by Paul Wesley Chilcote. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.