Humility before the cross

Last week I wrote about the importance of applying our understanding that every human being is created in the image of God very broadly and not apply it only to selected issues. This week as I reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus I have been thinking about another way that we can think wrongly about what it means to be made in the image of God. We most often refer to this concept when we see situations in which someone is not valuing a human being highly enough, but we as human beings can sometimes value ourselves too highly. The understanding that we have been made in the image of God means that each of us has high value. However, there is a tendency among human beings that dates back to the first 3 chapters of Genesis to think of ourselves as being like God in the sense that we see ourselves as being equal to God. That is not what being made in the image of God means.

The crucifixion of Jesus is one of the things that we focus on at this time of year. The death of Jesus is one of the things about our faith that is offensive. We have a bloody violent death at the center of what we believe and many do not like that. It offends people’s sense of what is dignified. Even more than that it tells us that we are not gods. We believe that Jesus had to die because we have rebelled against God and that only his death could allow God to have a relationship with the sinful people that we are. No one likes to think of himself as being so bad that Jesus had to die to redeem him, but we all are. The offense of the cross is not just that it was bloody and violent. It is an offense because it makes us see ourselves in our sinfulness and our total inability to save ourselves from the condemnation that we deserve. We were made to reflect the glory of God, but we are incapable to do that without the divine intervention of the violent death of Jesus who is the perfect image of God and his resurrection which proclaimed his victory over sin and death.

May our remembrance of the cross of Jesus this week help us to bow humbly before the one who took our sin upon himself and with whom we are raised to be ones who can reflect the glory of God.

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