Sunday 14 September 2014

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

There were raised eyebrows when Jesus tells Nicodemus in John's Gospel that the Son of Man is destined to suffer, and to die on the cross. What he was saying didn't make sense to the disciples and to Nicodemus. They all felt that the promised Messiah should fit into their category - that of saviour who would be powerful and influential in the eyes of the world. God's ways are not our ways. 

The language Jesus speaks is at variance with the language the world speaks. Pilate couldn't understand why Jesus seems to be indifferent to whether he could save him or condemn him. "Don't you know that I have the power to set you free or to crucify you?" "You would have now power over me if it had not been given you from above." This attitude of Jesus rattles Pilate. Jesus is on a mission and is unconcerned about himself. He wants only what the Father wants. He is interested in God's will and nothing more. 

The shadow of the cross is something that many people live with today. Parents of sick children, people coping with the loss of a loved one. Those who are living with a new reality following a health scare, and families making a decision to leave home to find work elsewhere. The homeless and those who are marginalised. Innocent people living in the crossfire of warring factions in places crippled by war and injustice. The cross of Jesus Christ is there to show all who struggle that their sufferings are not ignored and that God sees this clearly. And he sends generous people to help make a difference. At fist glance the cross of Jesus is a symbol of pain and shame. But look deeper and the cross is the theatre of redemption. 

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