3.4.9.9 The cross

The core of the gospel is Jesus Christ who, through His death on the cross and His resurrection, created eternal salvation. Thus the cross of Christ became the epitome of God's reconciliatory actions toward sinful mankind. The words of Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1: 18 demonstrate a conflicting understanding of Christ's death on the cross: "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." Death on the cross was generally considered a defeat, the ignominious end of a despised person who had been cast out of human society. But here, according to the wisdom of God, the apparent defeat is really a victory which laid the foundation for an immeasurably great work of redemption.

Through the resurrection, God acknowledged the Crucified One as the Christ (Acts 2: 36). In Him alone eternal salvation is given.

SUMMARY

The last days before Jesus' sacrificial death are described in detail in the gospels: in the circle of the Apostles, Jesus Christ institutes Holy Communion. At His capture Jesus is betrayed by Judas Iscariot. Jesus is then accused of blasphemy before the high council. (3.4.9; 3.4.9.1; 3.4.9.2; 3.4.9.3)

On account of the complicity of the Roman governor Pilate, the sentencing and execution of Jesus are not solely Israel's doing–Gentiles likewise share in these events. As such, mankind as a whole is guilty of the death of the Lord. (3.4.9.4)

Like His death, His suffering occurred on behalf of mankind and thus had salvific effect. As the suffering and dying Lord, Jesus Christ, the Mediator, reconciled mankind with God and created redemption from sin and death. His sacrificial death on the cross opened the way for mankind to God. (3.4.9.5)

The sacrificial death of Jesus confirmed the references from the Old Testament. Jesus Himself had announced His death and His resurrection. The letters of the Apostles describe the significance of Jesus' sacrificial death. (3.4.9.6; 3.4.9.7; 3.4.9.8)

The cross of Christ becomes the epitome of God's reconciling actions upon sinful mankind. (3.4.9.9)

See also