To the Romans and the people of Jesus’ day, the cross was a symbol of dominance, suppression and death. To the Christian, the cross is a symbol of love, giving of self and the ultimate sacrifice. St. Paul says, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1Cor. 1:17) God’s power and wisdom are made visible in love, sacrifice and the subordination of our will to his.
Out of love for the Father and us, Jesus subordinated his will to the Father and sacrificed his life on the cross. As a result, God overrode the physical laws of nature and raised him to life, an exercise of power that the world had never seen before nor has it ever been able to replicate. When the world exercises power, the consequences are experienced and then fade, becoming just a chapter in history. Throughout history we have seen worldly powers come and go, but the power of God remains. God’s power in a kind word, an act of love or sacrifice and their consequences last forever. Not so with the power of the world.
We lament our sins and those of others, and we lament the policies and power of governments that detract from life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but the cross of Jesus and all that it is and all that it represents in the wisdom and power of God is the antidote to our lament. It may seem as foolishness to the world, but to us, both individually and collectively, it provides the inspiration, instruction and saving power of God. No matter what has happened in our lives, it provides the opportunity for forgiveness, redemption and renewal here and now, as well as for eternity.
Hardly foolishness! Rather, a message to be embraced.