This Sunday I am going to begin a 3 week series on the cross. Take it back to its original setting, and the cross is a scandal. It would be like taking on the symbol of a hangman's noose. That scandal was a stumbling block to Jews that prevented many of them from accepting Jesus as Messiah. It was equally as revolting to the Romans.
The cross has lost its scandal. It has become for us an almost sentimental symbol. We think of Jesus there -- and we cry. Or, in today's religious climate -- many talk around it. "Sacrifice? Blood? That seems barbaric. Let's just talk about the love of God." But you can't talk about the love of God without going to the cross.
We need to return to the crisis of the cross. The cross is not something we simply acknowledge. It is something we take up. We are to share in Jesus' suffering. it is a symbol of denial. It is a symbol of surrender. Yes, it is even a symbol of death.
It is scandalous! Yet the irony is: It is our only hope.