The death of Jesus is something that demands a response. The event itself was surrounded by all sorts of machinations, political wranglings and power struggles. People on the day responded very differently, even amongst the Jewish leaders. The majority screamed for Jesus’ blood. “Crucify him!” was their shrill cry, over and over again. They manipulated the spineless Pilate to bring it about, in spite of his instinct that it was unjust. But there were a few who thought otherwise. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, both leaders of the Jews, were prepared to go public in their support of Jesus. They made sure that he had a proper burial.
The apostle Paul, reflecting on it when writing to the Christians in Corinth, reminds them that the core of our proclamation is Christ crucified (1 Cor 1:23). To the Jews it was a stumbling block. Something they tripped over. They couldn’t conceive of a Rescuer/Messiah who would end up dying as a criminal. For the Greeks, it just didn’t make sense – it was foolishness. That is the response of many in our godless age. Why should someone innocent be punished for the sins of the guilty? A good question indeed!
Paul continues in the next verse: but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24). Through the death of Jesus the power of God is displayed in dealing with sin and Satan – overthrowing their hold on those who believe. Also the infinite wisdom of God – it is at the cross that the justice of God is totally satisfied, his holiness supremely displayed as sin is completely paid for. And in equal measure, his infinite love, compassion and grace is perfectly expressed as Jesus dies, the innocent for the guilty, the worthy for the unworthy. How wonderful to be a recipient of that kind of love and mercy.
I trust we all have a week overflowing with thankfulness as we continue to ponder on the sacrifice of our great Saviour, and live out our trust in him.