As we think about the crucifixion of Jesus during these last days of the Lenten season, perhaps the words of the late W. E. Sangster in his book, They Met at Calvary, could be helpful.
“The central and most glorious truth of the Christian gospel is that God, in the person of Jesus Christ, bent to the human dilemma and did for humanity what humanity could not do for itself. It was, indeed, a problem for God alone. Horace, in his Ars Poetica, laying down the rules for young dramatists, warned them against the too ready use of a device employed by playwrights in that period. When their characters were entangled in difficult situations, a god would be introduced to extricate the hero or elucidate the plot. The young playwrights overdid it. Horace laid it down that, in tragedy, a god should never be introduced save to untie a knot which baffled all human skill.”
Sangster believed that described the human situation completely. “It was a knot which baffled all human skill. But Christ bent to our need. He was born among us, lived our life, was tempted in all points, just as we are, suffered at the hands of sinners, and offered, as Man, a perfect repentance for our race. He exposed sin, accepted God’s righteousness judgment which makes punishment its consequence, sacrificed himself in willing acceptance of the price, in some mysterious way bore the entail on our behalf. And it was God who did it. Love, not vindictiveness, is at its heart.”
Sangster also believed that the cross shows “……that God does not deal lightly with sin in his readiness to forgive us. He bears it himself. The debt was met in Jesus. What no man could do, this Man did. He fought sin and defeated it. He found a way. Yielding ourselves to him, we also may find the way.”
Perhaps Sangster’s view of the cross may help inform our own view of the cross.
– Doug Fairbanks
Published on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 @ 8:50 AM EDT