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The Glorious Cross


The cross was an ugly thing. A brutal, bloody tool of torture and death, it was not merely a symbol of horror, but an actual horror. Yet God, as he so often does, turned that reality on its head in the crucifixion of Christ.

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The cross was the greatest display of the glory of God’s grace. On the very brink of his entry into Jerusalem, starting the final countdown to his crucifixion, Jesus said to his disciples, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23). Jesus was not talking about the hosannahs that would greet his entry. The people were looking for him to be glorified by an ascent to military and political power. William Barclay writes, “By glorified they meant that the subjected kingdoms of the earth would grovel at the conqueror’s feet; by glorified he meant crucified.

To the world, the cross was the most shameful of all things. It involved physical torture, personal humiliation, and a cursed death. This was Giod’s way of showing us the shame of our sin. But because the perfect son of God died in this way for us, the cross displays the grace of God to the highest glory of his name. And it is by seeing the glory of God’s grace in the cross that we are saved. Is the cross your glory? Is it your hope? Is it the place where your sins were put away and God’s glory shines into your heart? Paul speaks for every Christian heart when he exclaims, “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 6:4).

—Richard D. Phillips, The Incarnation in the Gospels (P&R Publishing, 2008), 186.



Posted 2014·01·06 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Christmas · Richard Phillips · The Cross · The Incarnation in the Gospels

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