April 14, 2014

He is Weak, But He is Strong

My two-year-old son has been learning "Jesus loves me, this I know," and because it's one of the only songs he knows, he sings it all the time. I noticed the other day that he keeps getting one of the lyrics wrong. The original goes, "Little ones to him belong; they are weak, but he is strong." In Gabriel's version, it gets changed to "He be weak, but he is strong."

I don't have the heart to correct him, because the version he sings is also true. When we think about Christ this Lenten season, it is not in the context of some lamentable tragedy. Jesus was not the helpless victim, but the willing sacrifice. When we see Jesus being nailed, beaten and bloody, to a cross, it is easy to see his weakness. It is hard to see his strength. It is hard to see the God whose "strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor 12:9).

"Crucifixion of Jesus" by TangDa

The very idea of an omnipotent God going willingly to this kind of death is absurd in the extreme. It's incomprehensible. It's foolishness. Christians must recognize this, especially since the Apostle Paul even calls it such. "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor 1:18).

You've probably seen this meme floating around the internet. It shows a muscle-bound Jesus defiantly snapping the arms off the cross. It reads like a deleted scene from "The Last Temptation of Christ," in which Jesus decides your sins are not worth it and uses his power to do exactly what his tormentors demand. It's meant to satirize the absurdity of the central article of Christian faith.

The atheist thinks he is telling us something new. Like if we really thought about it hard, we'd come to the conclusion that the Atonement is too ridiculous a concept for it to actually be true. For the Christian, it is pointless to deny the absurdity. We embrace it, and point them to 1 Cor 1:18. We thank God for his reckless love, that though he was
"in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." — Philippians 1:6-11

1 comment:

  1. Wow, this hit me. I am not even sure why, but it did.