2 CORINTHIANS 2:14-4:6, PSALM 70
Martin Luther noted that many Christians preferred a theology of glory to a theology of the cross. That is, they prefered to focus on the victory, resolution, and hope of the Christian life while neglecting the suffering, rejection, and injustice. I can relate, and I am sure Luther would find our days of lower mortality rates and growing prosperity to be characterized by increasing disdain for a theology of the cross. Christians tend towards wanting the resurrection’s benefits now, without accepting the cross’ call on our lives to “endure hardships” (2 Timothy 2:3) until we receive our resurrection bodies. Hundreds of years before Luther, the apostle Paul declared that the two most defining moments of Jesus’ ministry must be regularly represented in our lives for the sake of the world. For he states, “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Corinthians 4:10) Paul constantly makes the connection of union with Jesus with being crucified and risen with Christ (Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:1-4). In the aforementioned verse, Paul focuses on how we reflect Jesus’ suffering through a willing embrace of God the Father’s will for our lives, especially when suffering for following our Lord. If we freely embrace the sufferings that come from following Jesus, then the life that Jesus supernaturally offers believers will also be revealed in and through us. As those that invite others to feast on Jesus’ love, we recognize Christ is revealed to our friends and family when we suffer well, for we cannot do this by living according to our sinful flesh. When our lives demonstrate hidden strength, we have great opportunity to declare the life and death of Jesus. This opportunity only comes when God provides Christ-like strength. May we receive this gift today and live as reflections of our crucified and risen savior. Let us embrace a theology of the cross.