Why the Cross

Q-8From Donald Senior’s Why the Cross?: “While for his opponents, the condemnation of Jesus of Nazareth to crucifixion represented the ultimate rejection of Jesus and his mission, for Christians Jesus’ suffering death on the cross gives new meaning to the experience of human suffering. Thus the cross, from the perspective of Christian faith, symbolizes a variety of powerful realities. Jesus dies on the cross and therefore his genuine humanity is unconditionally affirmed. Because Jesus, God’s own Son, also faced abject suffering, the Christian is able to find meaning even in the midst of suffering and loss. Yet, at the same time, the fierce commitment of Jesus to heal and overcome the evils that afflict humanity guides the followers of Jesus to first oppose and alleviate human suffering in all its forms; death, as Paul declared, is the “last enemy” (1 Cor 15:26). The death of Jesus on the cross also makes it a symbol of opposition to all unjust suffering and oppression afflicted on the vulnerable, an evil that the Gospels ultimately judge as demonic. Like the Crucified Jesus, the Christian is to confront and alleviate all human suffering. And finally, the Gospels, drawing on the rich heritage of Judaism, make room for the paradox of human suffering and the searing questions it poses, allowing the faithful followers of Jesus to lament the reality of suffering and to search for God and the meaning of suffering in their moments of darkness.”



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