(April 12, 2019) Dr Jim McClure, straight shooting theologian, reflects on Easter – the church’s most important celebration …
The death of Jesus is set in the context of the unique relationship between Jesus and his Father and that relationship formed the background theme of John’s gospel.
At the heart of the Christian faith lies a very unusual fact – the One who repeatedly offered eternal life to people suffered at the hands of evil men and was put to death on a cross!
If we are going to remain faithful to the Christian message, we cannot soften this fact or ‘candy coat’ it in any way. The account of Jesus’ death by crucifixion is scandalous – but it is true! The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:23, ‘We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.’ The Greek word for ‘stumbling block’ is skandalon.
Certainly the Jews were looking forward to a powerful and victorious Messiah before whom his enemies would quake – not one who would be disgracefully executed!
Was Jesus’ death a tragic mistake?
Were things supposed to end differently? In his gospel John explained that everything happened to Jesus exactly as it was supposed to.
- Jesus’ death on the cross was, in fact, the outworking of the divine design that God had planned before he created the world.
- In Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost he referred to this breathtaking truth: ‘This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men’ (Acts 2:23).
- Jesus’ sacrifice was wholly voluntary and it was the means by which evil forces were conquered and mankind could be restored to intimacy with him.
John made a number of points such as the fact that Jesus’ death on the cross was foreknown and was a fulfilment of God’s purpose. (more…)