I am a Cross Christian. I believe Jesus died on the cross, for me. Not just for me of course, he died for you too (yes he did, wow! eh?). But he did die for me. That fact is staggering. Jesus Christ died for you and me.
It is more than that though. Jesus didn’t just die for us; he let us kill him on a cross. This is an important distinction to make because it implies a very explicit act of will. Forgive the irreverence, but Jesus did not have a bit of an accident with a cross.
Nor did Jesus have no choice in the matter.
Jesus was the Son of God and he was God incarnate. He had repeatedly demonstrated his sovereignty over creation, life, death and Satan and he was the most powerful being ever to exist. In the heavenly host, he commanded armies of universal supremacy and power. He could unleash the wrath of the creator at will. He could end the universe in the blink of an eye.
One does not crucify such a person without his explicit permission.
Jesus chose, deliberately and intentionally, to let us kill him and, I believe, he continued to choose to do so incessantly and resolutely until the point of his death and beyond.
When I think of the crucifixion, one of the pictures that come to mind is Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross.
This is a striking image and, although a little kitsch, it appeals both to my surrealist sensibilities and to my sense of drama and perspective. The painting shows Christ on the cross, but without nails or ties, looking down, from high above, on a fishing scene. I can easily imagine, in the darkness above and behind the crucified Lord, the most powerful army ever to be arrayed: Michael, Gabriel and the host of heaven baying for blood, desperate to intercede, with Christ’s outstretched arms the only things preventing a devastating execution of justice upon mankind.
The crucifixion is one long, terrible and unparalleled demonstration of loving restraint.
Thank you, my Lord. Thank you.