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Monday, April 8, 2013

Jesus' Death - Still Challenges Thinkers Today

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Jesus' Death - Still Challenges Thinkers Today -  Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D.


A whole lot of different ideas are floating around today in relation to Jesus' death. Many people are dismissive. Others are prepared to consider the issues. Does Jesus' death really have a simple, direct meaning that benefits me in some way, or is it all just mystical history? In a short article here are a few pointers, because Jesus' death continues to challenge thinkers today.
We live in a deeply troubled world. Many are telling us there are no answers at all to the mystery and meaning of life and death. Everything is whirling molecules and as to any final truth, or purpose in it all, there is no such thing as a meaningful universe.
  • HUMAN WISDOM NO BRIDGE TO GOD
One of the astonishing things about Jesus' death is that it was the central message that thrust its way into the massive stronghold of Greek thinking in the first century and began to demolish it. Here, in the Graeco-Roman world, the towering intellectual edifices of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and dozens more, represented man's groping for the infinite, for meaning and fulfilment in the ideal human society with its web of complex relationships. But somehow the reach for the stars always collapsed in guilt, meaninglessness and failure.
Many of the Greek schools taught rhetoric and the skills of reasoned debate. Greek culture and learning was the pinnacle of human achievement. Into this proud scene of elegant logic and sophistry came a Jewish man, a little man by some accounts, but with a great mind and large heart. When Paul came to Corinth, a significant centre of Greek learning and religion, he caused quite a stir. He told them Christ hadn't sent him to impress them 'with words of eloquent wisdom, less the cross of Christ be emptied of its power' (1Corinthians 1:17). But what does he mean by 'the cross of Christ'? This is Paul's shorthand for the central truths about Jesus' death, but he's not talking about the wooden cross, instrument of Roman crucifixion. And then, what's this about 'power' - how could Jesus' death remotely display power, when it was just about the greatest spectacle of degraded weakness possible?
  • PERISHING OR SAVED?
Paul continues, 'For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God' (1 Corinthians 1:18). He is quite sure that here in this scandal that offended the proud intellectuals of Corinth; the personal living God - not just an impersonal ultimate - had entered our humanity to endure the penalty of our moral guilt in order to rescue people by a great salvation.
Here was something completely new that brought reconciliation with God. Now, instead of groping for the infinite, they learnt that he, not the impersonal abstract or one of the many gods of the Greek pantheon, but one Creator, Saviour God had come in human flesh (the Greeks had low regard for physical humanity) and in boundless love, had endured the awful judgement deserved by others.
Thus Jesus had died on the cross. No accident, but the fulfilment of the age-long purpose to deal with that shocking rebel, sin that had invaded our humanity, almost from the start. Now Paul can say to the citizens of Corinth, without the 'word of the cross' revealed by God himself, you are doomed and trapped inside the circle of your futility!
  • POWER DISPLAYED IN WEAKNESS
But to the many there who saw the folly of their proud 'wisdom' and the amazing love and deep wisdom of God revealed in such terrible human weakness at the cross, and who had personally trusted in the Saviour who had died and rose again, Paul can say '[God] is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord" ' (1 Corinthians 1:30-31). How those Greek hearts had ached and yearned for a Saviour! But now he had come to rescue them and people out of all nations.
Do you still think about some of the same things the Greeks did of long ago? Very likely; that's why Jesus' death has lost none of its power; that's why it still challenges thinkers today. That's why it is still demolishing proud secular thought. That's why we proclaim a crucified but risen Saviour, because there is no other Saviour but Jesus Christ the Lord, who spans the infinite God and our lost humanity, who has died for our sins so that through personal faith in him we may be reconciled to God. Now that is more than a powerful thought - it reveals the power of God that rescues people from sin and despair and gives eternal life, here in the present!
Michael J. S. Austin, Ph.D.:- JESUS' DEATH STILL A HUGE CHALLENGE! Hello, my big goal is to show that biblical Christianity appeals to careful thinking, and is powerfully relevant today. So, I aim to share the good news of Christ crucified, risen and ascended - a Saviour who is worthy of your full confidence. And I write to help you find faith or to strengthen your faith, so that you may be SURE. I share Evangelical and Reformed convictions and have a Ph.D. from Reformation International Theological Seminary. Use this link to my very latest Amazon Kindle e-book: 'FOR SURE! - Assurance and Evangelicalism' http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AG0WK84 Or take a look at this challenging title - 'I saw Him die - Viewing Jesus' death TODAY' http://www.amazon.com/saw-Him-die-Viewing-ebook/dp/B007TX696U/ref=pd_rhf_dp_p_t_2 Read and enjoy, and please recommend to others - Thank you! Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_J._S._Austin,_Ph.D.  Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7477179 

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