“I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the cross. The only God is the One Nietzsche ridiculed as ‘God on the cross.’ In the real world of pain, how could one worship a God who was immune to it?
I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statue of Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I have had to turn away. And in my imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged into Godforsaken darkness. That is the God for me!
He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in the light of his. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross that symbolizes divine suffering.” (John R.W. Stott)
… he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
… so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
(Philippians 2:6-8, Ephesians 2:7)
With a heavy heart for those who bow to detached idols; and with sadness for those who ridicule ‘God on the cross,’ I agree with Stott. I say of Jesus:
That is the God for me!