The glory of the cross

by | Mar 20, 2024 | March 2024 | 0 comments

…‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.’
John 12:23

Death is in the air. The hour has come for the Son of Man to die on a cruel Roman cross, and yet incredibly Jesus says this is the hour he will be glorified. Being glorified by death on a cross is like being celebrated by sitting in an electric chair or exalted by the hangman’s noose. How strange then that Jesus would say the cross is the place where his glory would be shown.

To glory in the cross of Jesus Christ sounds grotesque, and yet the apostle Paul uses these words of Jesus as his foundation when he writes, ‘…God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…’ (Galatians 6:14 KJV). 

Jesus and Paul want us to find glory in the cross of Christ because of an agricultural metaphor. Jesus’s body will die, will be sown like a single grain into the earth, will send its roots down and its stalk up until it bursts from the ground with the power to feed all the hungry people of the earth. Through the death of Jesus, the ‘bread of life’ will spiritually feed the whole world (John 12:24).

This is the proclamation of the gospel message: ‘…God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.’ (John 3:16-17 NIVUK). 

If Jesus hadn’t died, he would have remained but a single grain of wheat. The trouble is there is no future there. No glory there. No miracle of multiplication. To get bread, you have to thresh some kernels. To get wine, you have to crush some grapes. To get a new community of redeemed people, Jesus had to die: “…unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24).

At the place of crucifixion, we see sin, Satan, and death defeated (v.31), and that it is a magnet drawing all people to Jesus (v.32). This is the glory of the cross and why Paul says he will boast in nothing else (Galatians 6:14 NIVUK). May this be our boast too.

Prayer
Lord Jesus, may our understanding of the cross grow more and more, and may our boasting in it grow louder and louder. For your glory, we pray, Amen.

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