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1 Corinthians

2

 

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

 

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"- these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (ESV)

 

 

The Lord of Glory Crucified

Wednesday of Pentecost 26

20 November 2013

The Apostle Paul says that the rulers of this age crucified the Lord of glory when they crucified Jesus on the cross of Calvary (1Co 2:8). The title "Lord of glory" is nothing other than a divine title. In the Old Testament God's glory is equivalent to His person. In Exodus the glory of the Lord appeared to Moses and the people (Ex 16) in the pillar of fire and cloud. When the Apostle Paul calls the Crucified One the Lord of glory, he is identifying Jesus as the God of God who was crucified for us men and for our salvation. Only God's glory set in the balance against the sins of the world could be adequate to outweigh those sins.

 

Yet, the crucifixion of the Lord of glory is the great cause of offense in the Christian religion: that God my mortal flesh should take and clothed in humanity be crucified for me! It is no wonder that we Christians pray that the image of the crucified Christ should be written upon our hearts. Here is the length to which God was willing to go for my sake; to have the impossible worked upon Him in Christ; that He, who could not die, should become susceptible to my death through the incarnation of Mary. Thus the man who was crucified is the God who was born in the flesh of the Virgin.

 

Even those who consider themselves loyal sons of the church have struggled to teach and believe that the Lord of glory was crucified for them. Some even try to dilute the teaching that the divine and human natures in Christ have been united through the incarnation so that Jesus is indivisibly and eternally one Person, God and man. Nestorius (386-451) attempted to save God from the messiness of the cross by driving a wedge between the two natures in Christ, so that they did not function together for our salvation. For Nestorius Christ had two natures but they were only tangentially related to each other like two board that have been glued together, easily separated in function. The goal of this kind of thinking was to keep God from having to suffer and die, even though it is the clear testimony of God's Word that He did precisely that in Christ to save the world. What a monstrous spiritual pride that tells God that we do not need Him to die for us, but that we need to save Him from the horror of crucifixion.

 

God does not need saving from His grace. We need saving from our sin through His grace. And that is what the incarnation and the holy cross are about. John Cassian (360-435) wrote a book against the errors of Nestorius, in which he pointed out that a denial of the divinity of Christ on the cross is equivalent to agreeing with those who crucified Christ. The rulers of this age would surely not have put to death God in Christ, if they had been aware that this Galilean rabbi was none other than the glorious Lord of the Exodus. For who would have crucified God if he had known? Let us not crucify Him again by denying the unity of the person of Christ. We confess this because God has revealed it to us through the Apostle.

 

John Cassian

 

"The mention of the Lord's cross offends you, Nestorius. It always offended the Jews as well. You shudder at hearing that God suffered. The Gentiles in their error mocked at this also. I ask you then, in what point do you differ from them, since you both agree in this offense? But for my part I not only do not water down this preaching of the holy cross, this preaching of the Lord's passion, but as far as my wishes and powers go I emphasize it. For I will declare that He who was crucified is not only the power and wisdom of God, than which there is nothing greater, but actually Lord of absolute divinity and glory.

 

"And all the more because this assertion of mine is the doctrine of God, as the Apostle says: 'Among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"' (1Co 2:6-9). You see what great matters the Apostle's discourse comprises in how small a space. He says that he speaks wisdom, but a wisdom which only those that are mature can know, and which the prudent of this world cannot know. For he says that this is the wisdom of God, which is hidden in a divine mystery, and predestined before all worlds for the glory of the saints. Therefore it is only known to those who savor of God; while the princes of this world are utterly ignorant of it. But he adds the reason, to establish both points that he had mentioned, saying: 'For if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him."' You see then how the wisdom of God, hidden in a mystery, and predestined before all worlds, was unknown to those who crucified the Lord of glory, and known by those who received it.

 

"And well does the Apostle say that the wisdom of God was hidden in a mystery, for never yet could the eye of any man see, or the ear hear, or the heart imagine this; viz., that the Lord of glory should be born of a virgin and come in the flesh, and suffer all kinds of punishment, and shameful passion. But with regard to these gifts of God, as there is no one who--since they were hidden in a mystery--could ever of himself understand them, so blessed is he who has grasped them when they are revealed. Thus all who have failed to grasp them must be reckoned among the princes of this world, and those who have grasped them among God's wise ones. He then does not grasp it who denies God born in the flesh. But do what you will, deny as impiously as you like, we the rather believe the Apostle. But why should I say the Apostle? We believe God. For through the Apostle we believe Him, whom we know to have spoken by the Apostle.

 

"The divine word says that the Lord of glory was crucified by the princes of the world. You, Nestorius, deny it. They also who crucified Him denied that it was God whom they were crucifying. They then who confess Him have their portion with the Apostle who confessed Him. You are sure to have your lot with His persecutors. How can you reply to this? The Apostle says that the Lord of glory was crucified. Alter this if you can. Separate now, if you please, Jesus from God. At least you cannot deny that Christ was crucified. But it was the Lord of glory who was crucified. Therefore you must either deny that Christ was nailed to the cross, or you must admit that God was nailed to it."

 

John Cassian, Seven Books on the Incarnation of the Lord, 3.10
 
Prayer
On my heart imprint Your image, blessed Jesus, King of grace. That life's riches, cares and pleasures never may Your work erase. Let the clear inscription be: "Jesus crucified for me!" is my life, my hope's foundation and my glory and salvation. Amen.

 

For Pastor Sagar Pilli, as he begins his work reaching out to Indian people living in Houston, that the Lord Jesus, who sends workers, would prosper his work

 

For Mary Hunt, that the Lord would be her ever present help in trouble as she undergoes therapy for cancer

 

For the ministry of Memorial Lutheran Church and School that its people would abound in the work of the Lord
Art: Eyck, Jan van  The Adoration of the Lamb (1425-1429) 

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