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Summary: Perhaps we don’t understand that ancient mentality of hostility towards the preaching of the cross but the Apostle Paul did. And though he KNEW that people regarded the idea of God on a cross as vile and shameful, not only did he preach it, but he glor

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GLORY IN THE SHAME!

Galatians 6:14

Today, at least in Western society, the cross is a perfectly acceptable symbol, a rather

harmless token of the Christian faith. Most people, except perhaps some of the trouble-making

sort, take no offense at all to the sight of a cross. In fact, many people who do not actively

follow Jesus Christ, still wear His symbol around their necks.

But did you know that originally, the cross was one of the most degraded and debased

symbols imaginable? In the earliest days of the Church, the cross was not only perceived by

society as an instrument of torture and death, but as a symbol of utter shame.

We need to understand that in the ancient mind, crucifixtion, and the cross as its symbol,

was regarded as vile and vulgar, and was used quite literally as a “curse word”. Crucifixtion was

clearly understood to be the crudest and most dishonourable form of death. So the concept of

a perfect God dying such a death (ON A CROSS) was absolutely ludicrous. Listen to what some

early historians had to say about the Christian message of the cross.

* The offense of the Christian cross was frequently described by the Greek word “mania”

which means “madness”. It was common for people to consider Christians mad for

believing that God would actually be nailed to a cross!

* The ancient historian, Plinius Secundus called the preaching of the cross “a perverse and

extravagant superstition” and said that Christian suffered from amentia (which is a

mental disorder).

* The orator Caecilius (a contemporary of Marcus Aurelius) said that Christians suffered

from “sick delusions” and a “senselessand crazy superstition” and adds, “Not least among

the monstrosities of their faith is the fact that they worship one who has been crucified.”

Martin Hengel, in his book, “Crucifixtion” states “A crucified messiah, son of God, or God

must have seemed a contradiction in terms to anyone, Jew, Greek, Roman or barbarian, asked to

believe such a claim, and it will certainly have been thought offensive and foolish.”

Perhaps we don’t understand that ancient mentality of hostility towards the preaching of the

cross but the Apostle Paul did. And though he KNEW that people regarded the idea of God on a

cross as vile and shameful, not only did he preach it, but he gloried in it! The educated,

sophistocated, former Jewish Rabbi and Sanhedrin ruler said that the only thing he found

worth bragging about was “the cross of Jesus Christ!” Paul said, “If I will do any bragging at all,

it will be in the cross of Jesus Christ!”

I find it utterly amazing that God could take the vilest of symbols, the cross, and turn it

into a glorious token of victory! That God Himself would not only visit us, but would allow

Himself to be viciously nailed to that “emblem of suffering and shame”, fills my heart and soul

with utter amazement! Only God could do such a thing! Only God could bring glory from the

shame!

And do not be mistaken! The crucifixtion of Jesus was truly a shameful event! It was at the

cross where our sins were dumped upon Jesus. It was at the cross where He became sin for us.


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