The God of the Crucifixion

The Crucifixion is arguably one of two or three monumental historical moments for the Christian church. In addition to the incarnation and resurrection, no other event has as much latent mystery or power surrounding it. It was through this action of cosmic redemption that Christ made permanent satisfaction for sin and Divine righteousness available for broken humanity. Upon further reflection, however, it seems that this pivotal, historical event not only accomplishes something for human salvation, but also unveils to us the eternal heart of a loving, humble, giving God.

When we look at the cross, we see pain, suffering, and death; the Son of God brutally murdered for dubious reasons at best. But when we look for a vision of the Godhead within these horribly unjust circumstances, we find a giant, Divine-sized love bursting forth! The simplest story of the gospel wrapped up in John 3 tells us that it was for love’s sake that the Father sent us his Son. This Divine love was so motivating that God gave something (someone) to us. Did you catch that? God gave. I think this is the most striking feature of the Crucifixion event. The eternal, self-sustaining, perfect God gave himself to his creation. He didn’t send a representative or liaison. He wanted to be directly involved in the work of redemption and so he offered himself. Unfortunately, giving himself to us also required that he be vulnerable. Vulnerable to rejection and shame. Vulnerable to suffering and pain. But that didn’t stop God. Why? Because God is a humble God. This doesn’t mean that God is weak. Weakness is not the opposite of humility. God is humble in that he is willing to accomplish cosmic redemption in an inconspicuous sort of way – a simple birth, a misunderstood ministry, and an insignificant death. What a cover for such a magnificent mission!

I would encourage you to take some time this week to praise God for his character. We truly serve an amazing God! Also, why not ask God to show you how you can emulate his character traits of love, humility, and sacrifice to those around you? You might be surprised at how much life is found in these actions.

– Dave Strobolakos

Epiphany Readings: Sunday, February 2

Readings:  Psalm 15 and Matthew 5:1-12

Reflection Questions:

  1. Some of what we hear in the Beatitudes (Mt.5:1-12) is a description of the kinds people who God invites into relationship with him in his kingdom.  No one is exempt from his blessing. Can you identify with any of these human conditions of body, soul and social self? If so, how have you or do you experience God’s blessing in poverty of spirit, grief over losses in life, trouble and trouble making situations, challenges of faith, rejection from others?
  2. What ways do you need God’s intervention, comfort or support in your life today? Spend some time in prayer asking God’s Spirit to shelter with love, sustain in weakness or bolster faith in your present condition.
  3. As you talk with God about what’s going on in your life, how might you see your present condition as an open door for God to come, work, transform or bless you with his goodness?

Epiphany Readings: Sunday, January 26

Readings: Psalm 27:1, 4-9 and Matthew 4:12-23

Reflection Questions:

  1. Sit quietly turning your attention toward God; his warmth and assuring presence with you now and always.As you read and reflect on Psalm 27 notice the important questions the psalmist asks himself in v.1. In the safety of God’s presence, ask yourself: What do I fear? Fear can be inhibiting and lead to a spiritual paralysis that prevents healthy, forward movement in faith. Explore any shadowy sides of your life; any fearful illusions harbored in your heart. Bring them into the light of God’s presence as you talk to him openly about them.
  2. Jesus’ good news is the arrival of the Kingdom of heaven: it’s here, now. What perceptions or misconceptions do you have about the God’s kingdom? How might the prophetic description of the kingdom of God (Matt.4:15-16) and the demonstration of its power (v.23) shape your understanding of God’s kingdom?
  3. As he did with his first followers, Jesus still meets people where they live and work. Jesus invites us both to enter into the dynamic of God’s kingdom life and to partner with him in his kingdom mission. What invitations might God be giving to you to enter more deeply into his kingdom life or partner with him in his kingdom work? What are the things you’ll need to let go of or turn from in order to follow Jesus today?

– Elizabeth Khorey

Living In Continuity

He delights in being present to your life.