The meaning of the cross

March 30, 2012

The following comes from Thomas Oden’s systematic theology, Classic Christianity[†].

A flood of impressions and images collide and meld in the portrayal of the rugged power and meaning of the cross. In a burst of ecstasy, many of these are amassed in a single passage by John of Damascus. In Jesus’ death,

death has been brought low, the sin of our first parent destroyed, hell plundered, resurrection bestowed, the power given us to scorn the things of this world and even death itself, the road back to the former blessedness made smooth, the gates of paradise opened, our nature seated at the right hand of God, and we made children and heirs of God. By the cross all things have been set aright…. It is a raising up for those who lie fallen, a support for those who stand, a staff for the infirm, a crook for the shepherded, a guide for the wandering, a perfecting of the advanced, salvation for the soul and body, an averter of all evils, a cause of all good things, a destruction of sin, a plant of the resurrection, and a tree of eternal life (John of Damascus, OF 4.11).

And the people of God said…

[†] Thomas Oden, Classic Christianity: A Systematic Theology (New York: HarperOne, 1992), 402.

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