I’m loving Brian Zahnd’s book ‘Beauty Will Save the World‘ (the title is, I believe, a quote from Dostoevsky). The beauty he’s talking about is the beauty of the Cross of Jesus, where Jesus took the worst of the hatred and cruelty the world could throw at him, and responded with love and forgiveness.
Here are some awesome quotes I read this morning:
‘Jesus…says that his crucifixion in some way judges and condemns the world (see John 12:31-32), intimating that the trial of Jesus in the court of Pilate was actually the trial of the world in the court of Christ…’
‘…Jesus and Pilate represent two different truths, two different gospels, two different axes, two different ways of organizing the world. From one perspective Christ is being tried in Pilate’s imperial court. From another perspective (the Christian perspective) Pilate and the whole world are being tried in the court of Christ…There is a deep irony in the way Pilate (and the empire he represented) viewed the cross. Pilate could easily have said, “The cross is truth”. By which he would have meant, power is ultimate reality and ultimate power is the power to kill. Violence is reality. Violence is truth. The cross is truth. To which Jesus could have replied (and the Christian gospel does reply!), yes, the cross is truth. But the cross is not truth in the power to kill, but in the choice to love. Ultimate truth is not power enforced through violence, but love expressed through forgiveness‘.
‘In making the ultimate claim – the claim to be truth itself – Jesus was announcing that he was about to re-centre the world. The world would no longer be centred around the truth of violence; it would now be centred around the truth of forgiving love – a truth to which he would bear witness all the way to the cross. Jesus was going to re-centre the world around an axis of love!’
‘During that final momentous week in Jerusalem, rival claims to ultimate truth were meeting face-to-face. The stage was set for a decisive confrontation. Christ was on trial in the court of Pilate. The world was on trial in the court of Christ. The principalities and powers were condemning Christ. Christ was condemning the principalities and powers. Pilate bore witness to the truth of power. Christ bore witness to the truth of love. It was an epic contest of truth claims. It was a collision of kingdoms – one from this world, one from heaven…’
These are all from chapter 3. I continue to be inspired and challenged by this wonderful book!