For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. – 1st Corinthians 1.18
God has spoken to us many times and in many ways through the prophets. “In these last days,” He has spoken to us through the Son. And it was a powerful speech, spoken both with his words and his deeds.
But the cross is without comparison his most powerful sermon.
The cross on Golgotha is history’s and the world’s turning point.
It is the most dreadful and the most lovely place on our earth.
There, on the cross, God reveals the two most powerful and secret realities in existence: sin and grace.
No person knows sin before they stand at the feet of Jesus’ cross. And because the majority of people will not stand at the foot of the cross, they look thoughtlessly and heedlessly upon their sin.
What does the cross say about people’s sin?
It says that people are enemies of God. It says that people are not only evil; they are so evil at they can’t endure good. So evil that they killed the one good person. And they didn’t kill him by accident. They killed him deliberately with an expertly prepared execution. And it was our world’s most religious people who did it.
Further, Christ’s cross proclaims that sin is so awful that the almighty and all-loving God cannot forgive it without atonement.
But he cannot demand the atonement of anyone else. Instead, God himself becomes human in order to suffer and die for his enemies.
Dearly beloved children of God, let us behold sin’s horrible seriousness. Let Jesus’ lament from the cross pierce us to the bone, so that Jesus’ suffering can give us the fear and trembling that preserves us from despising his grace.
From Hallesby, Ole. Daglig Fornyelse: Andaktsbok for Hjemmet. Translated by Kristofer Coffman. Oslo: Lutherstiftelsens Forlag, 1951, 82.