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Weekly Reflections

Palatable doesn’t save 28 Mar 10

Palatable doesn’t save

Some of us have spent the six weeks of Lent reading, pondering and talking about the death of Jesus Christ. We have looked at it from many angles, mostly just scratching the surface of this amazing event, sometimes digging deeper and understanding more than we did before.

It is like a diamond, turn it this way and that and you see more beauty and wonder. And yet, like a diamond, it is a simple thing. Christ died for us. Christ died for our sins. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement. This is how God loved us: he gave his one and only Son for us.

And yet it is not just an event in history, although it is at least that. It is a personal act between our Creator and us. It is part of a relationship God has established with us humans. It is an act that is meant to secure that relationship. It expresses the profound and gracious love God has for us.

We have looked at the death of Jesus through the eyes of some of his disciples, and perhaps have been surprised how matter of fact and practical is their perception of his death. Each of them had strong views about how the death of Jesus applied to church life and daily life. There was no sentimentalising. They did not turn it into a religious event either. They saw it as the driver of dedicated living, the model of suffering service, the example of mutual love.

They recognised it had freed them from every necessity to make up for their own sins, from using any external aids or techniques to live a holy life, and from any need to impress God (or other people). They discovered they were free to serve God for God’s sake. Free to serve others for the sake of the others.

They understood also that the death and resurrection of Jesus was the heart of their message. Everything in the Old Testament came together and made sense in its light. So they proclaimed it. They announced that Christ crucified was the message that set people free and rescued them from death. They announced the crucifixion in the face of direct opposition to and dislike of the message. They did this because it undermined and destroyed the confused desires for a more palatable message.

Palatable doesn’t save. Only Christ crucified saves. So the message goes, and so we believe.


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