How does God teach us about God’s love for us and plan for our salvation? Paul argues that Christ’s crucifixion is “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” Twenty-first-century people frequently wear the cross as a piece of jewelry, and we can easily forget how scandalous Christ’s crucifixion was for the first century. The Roman government practiced crucifixion as a form of deterrence of crime and rebellion. It intentionally tortured and humiliated the accused. Thus, the cross symbolized rejection, shame, and weakness.
Conventional wisdom of any age would find human redemption through crucifixion incomprehensible. Yet, for Christians, Jesus’ crucifixion is transformative and salvific. When Jesus prepares his disciples for his crucifixion, he says, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Of course, this is exactly what Jesus does in the crucifixion. Jesus lays down his life for us by being raised up on the cross. By accepting torture, humiliation, shame, and the ultimate death of the crucifixion, Jesus demonstrated the awesome and incomprehensible nature of God’s love for us. In God’s profound wisdom, we see the depth of God’s love for us through the crucifixion.
Paul links this wisdom with God’s power. By submitting to crucifixion, Jesus voluntarily relinquished divine power and prerogative in order to fully experience the human suffering of crucifixion. Jesus willingly became weak so that humans could know God’s deep love and experience God’s redemptive power. This power of God’s love can only be accessed through Christ’s self-emptying. Thus, Paul concludes, “God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.”

Most loving God, we give you thanks for the knowledge and power of your awesome love. Amen.

Pray the Scriptures Using Audio Lectio
Read John 2:13-22

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Lectionary Week
February 26 – March 4, 2018
Scripture Overview

As we continue in the season of Lent, we remember another important chapter in salvation history. Just as God established covenants with Noah and Abraham and their descendants, so did God renew the relationship with the Israelites by giving them the law. Obedience to the law was not the means of earning God’s love, but a response of love by the people to the love God had already shown them. The psalmist understands that God’s law creates a cause for rejoicing, for it is more valuable than gold. Both Paul and John address situations in which some had distorted the worship of God. Either they considered themselves too good for the gospel (1 Corinthians), or they had violated the covenant by altering proper worship for the sake of profit (John).

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Exodus 20:1-17. How do you keep God central in your life? When do you relegate God to the margins?
• Read Psalm 19. What do the heavens tell you? How often do you spend time in nature? In what ways does that activity renew your spirit?
• Read 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. In what ways is the cross a stum-
bling block to you?
• Read John 2:13-22. What signs do you ask of God? In what ways might they be life-giving, a renewal of relationship with the Creator?

Respond by posting a prayer.

This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”

Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.