Sunday Citation

Special Reformation Sunday Citation Edition:

“What Luther found at the cross of Jesus utterly confounded him: disdain and derision, insecurity unto death, desertion by friends, the collapse of hope for the future, a death with hated malefactors, the wrath of the whole world – and God…

“…the cross reveals the Creator, the majestic, all-powerful God suffering – and suffering for us. Luther could even say that the cross shows us the dreadful mystery of God tasting death for us. Where could we find a clearer expose of the depths of human sinfulness than to know that we could be made right only through the death of God Incarnate. Believers, therefore, can embrace the cross, but only if they despair of themselves, only if they forsake a theology of glory…

“Thus, as Luther constantly repeated, the cross must always remain utterly scandalous. It was a scandal for Jews, and all who sought God through moral exertion; it was a scandal for Greeks, and all who sought God through the exercise of the mind. The cross, for Luther, revealed the judgment of God that no amount of human work could make humanity successful; no amount of diligent study could make humanity truly wise; no amount of human exertion could provide enduring joy. The cross, in sum, was God’s everlasting ‘no’ to the most fundamental human idolatry of regarding the self as a god. It was God’s final word of condemnation for all efforts to enshrine humanity at the center of existence.”

-Mark A. Noll in Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity (1997), pp. 170-171



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