Thinking of the Cross
As I was going through my study of Matthew 27 (Jesus’ crucifixion), I came upon this quote. As we start this letter, I invite you to slow down, read this slowly, and do as it asks of you:
Feel it if you will. Let it happen to you if you dare.
Take the most precious friend of your life. The person with whom you’ve known joy and fun and sorrow. With whom you share the deep bonds of caring. Place him upon the cross and watch him writhe in pain.
The nails driven into those beloved hands are driven into our hands. The muscles excruciatingly stretched are our muscles. The terrible burning of his tongue and mouth is in our tongue and mouth. We feel it all as if we were there ourselves because the most precious person in all the world is there on our behalf.
Feel it. Experience it if you will.
– Lloyd John Ogilvie, The Cup of Wonder: Communion Meditations (Wheaton: Tyndale, 1976), 75
I have not yet gotten this from my mind. It has impacted my emotions profoundly when I think of the cross. It can be difficult to think of the sufferings of a man who I have never met physically. But when I mentally place that suffering upon one I love, capture that emotion, and place it upon what my precious savior has done for me, I feel his death in a new way.
Church History Corner ⛪️
On April 18, 1521, 500 years ago this week, Martin Luther stood facing ex-communication at the Diet of Worms. Robert Kolb walks us through a brief sketch of the events and what it means for us to look at Luther today as a role model of Christian conviction in a world that is hostile to us.
Our situation a half a millennium later is quite different from that which confronted Luther in 1521. Nonetheless, Christians increasingly encounter opposition to our faith. Believers often have one of two reactions. Some of us, when thinking about the possibility of threats of one kind or another when we confess our Lord, assert boldly (in the relative safety of the current moment) that we will always be ready to sacrifice whatever it takes to make clear that Jesus is the center and master of our existence.
If you are a Protestant, these events are crucial to understanding the faith we hold today. If you’d like to read more, Michael Haykin, Herman Selderhuis, and Carl Trueman share their reflections on Luther’s famous trial.