A man with a bloodied face being dragged off a plane against his will. Bombs exploding outside Egyptian churches on Palm Sunday. The targeted release of toxic gas on innocent civilians in Syria. The US retaliating by launching an airstrike consisting of nearly 60 missiles … The past few weeks have shown various displays of power.
To a world that seeks to show power through explosives, military might, and physical force, Good Friday makes little sense.
A man, hanging on a cross. A man, who claimed to be the Son of God, nailed to a tree. Naked, and ashamed. Broken, and dying. Forsaken. Passers-by mock him: ‘Save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’ (Matthew 27:40). But with no word of complaint, no attempt to fight back, an innocent man accepts a death penalty.
Is this power? The world says no. Power is loud, it is ferocious, and it visibly wins. It is often selfish, and seeks advantage over those who are weak and helpless. That is what we have seen these past few weeks, as governments and corporations seek to show their power at the expense of other people.
Is there really power to be found in the broken and bleeding body of a dying man? The world says no.
But Good Friday tells a different story. This broken and bleeding body of a dying man turns any earthly ideas of power upside down and inside out, as salvation and redemption are found in the most unlikely of places. Power is found in sacrifice, humility, and death. Power is found in a man, hanging on a cross. Naked, and ashamed. Broken, and dying. Forsaken. Power is found here, at Calvary.
Today, we preach Christ crucified, ‘a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles’ (1 Corinthians 1:23). The power of the cross can certainly make little sense to us and our world, so set in our ways. The cross comes in direct contradiction to everything we hear and see about power on a daily basis. It speaks not of explosives, military might, and physical force, but of love, forgiveness, and the laying down of one’s life. A stumbling block and foolishness perhaps, but also a better way to live.
May we seek to show something of Christ’s subversive power in our words, lives, and actions, this Good Friday and beyond.
This article first appeared as part of LICC's weekly Connecting with Culture series and we are grateful for permission to reproduce it here on Fulcrum.