Search This Blog

Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Cross of Christ - Chapter 1

I'm rereading John Stott's classic book, The Cross of Christ, the current Challies' choice for his "Reading Classics Together" series.  Stott went home to be with the Lord on July 27th, ending a lifetime of faithful service. He persevered to the end, not an easy task for prominent Christians in our time! Christianity Today honored him as "an architect of 20th-century evangelicalism [who] shaped the faith of a generation." Serving as a cleric in the Anglican church until his retirement at the age of 86, he was also a prolific author, penning more than 50 books, plus numerous essays and articles. He is perhaps best known for this work. As I read through the book, I thought I would share highlights from each chapter with you and include a link to Challies' full review. May you be inspired to join us.
"The Centrality of the Cross" (Chapter 1)

The Perspective of Jesus
...the centrality of the cross originated in the mind of Jesus himself... Jesus designates himself 'Son of Man' (the heavenly figure whom Daniel saw in his vision, coming in the clouds of heaven, being given authority, glory and sovereign power, and receiving the worship of the nations) and yet paradoxically states that as Son of Man he will suffer and die, thus with daring originality combining to two Old Testament Messianic figures, the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53 and the reigning Son of Man of Daniel 7.

The Apostles' Emphasis
... although the apostles attributed the death of Jesus to human wickedness, they declared that it was also due to a divine purpose. (Acts 2:23, 3:18, 4:27-28) ... they repeatedly emphasized that the death and resurrection of Jesus happened 'according to the Scriptures'. Paul's own later summary of the gospel also stressed this. (1Cor.15:3-4; Acts 17:2-3) 

... they called the cross on which he died a 'tree'. (Deut.21:22-23) It was our curse he was bearing. Paul in Galatians wrote, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree." (Gal.3:13) And Peter wrote, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree." (1Pet.2:24)

In John's vision (Revelation), the Lamb is more than the Savior of a countless multitude; he is depicted also as the lord of all history....his the key to history and the redemptive process it inaugurated. It is not surprising to learn that the author of salvation and the lord of history is also the object of heaven's worship.
You are worthy to take the scroll and to open the seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation..."  [Rev.5:9]
Emil Brunner, the Swiss theologian, whose book The Mediator was first published in German in 1927, subtitled, 'A study of the central doctrine of the Christian faith', defended his conviction with these words:
In Christianity faith in the Mediator is not something optional, not something about which, in the last resort, it is possible to hold different opinions, if we are only united on the 'main point'. For faith in the Mediator - in the event which took place once for all, a revealed atonement - is the Christian religion itself; it is the 'main point'; it is not something alongside the center; it is the substance and kernel, not the husk ... And there is no other possibility of being a Christian than through faith in that which took place once for all, revelation and atonement through the Mediator.

[Tim Challies' review of Chapter 1]
[Selections: Chapter 2]

No comments: