“…the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, ESV).
One of the most controversial claims of all human history is that God in the person of Jesus willingly submitted to living in a body of flesh (Matthew 1:21; John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 8:9). This is revealed in the Bible.
The Bible also claims that not only was God brought to being as a mortal, but also he willingly suffered the fate of mortals at the hands of Jews and Gentiles on a Roman cross some 2,000 years ago. For lack of better terminology, God, in the person of Jesus, was murdered by his own creation (1 Peter 2:21-24; 1 Peter 3:18).
And the signature claim of the Bible is that this God/man who submitted to all these things, did so to atone for the sins of all mankind, and God then declared it to all, by raising him from the dead (Romans 1:5).
On this point, Christians are at odds with those other religions of the world who claim Abraham as their father: Jews and Muslims. It is, to Jews and Muslims, a detestable thing that God would lower himself in such a way. It was detestable to the mighty Hebrew, Saul, who thought the heresy worthy of death (Acts 8:1-2; Acts 26:9-12). It is still considered outrageous to many Jews today. Likewise, unless one will recant, it is considered blasphemy against the Muslim god (Allah), and worthy (according to some) of death.
On this point, Christians are at odds with unbelievers, who either consider the whole thing nonsensical or irrational. It may not be worthy of death, but it’s otherwise a waste of time.
Yet, the message of the cross – the message of God’s supreme love toward mankind through the incarnation and death of Jesus – continues like a trumpet blast above the voices of men.
The cross demands a fair hearing. It just won’t go away. The suffering Savior cannot be ignored. He is too compelling. Anyone who looks upon the cross cannot look away quickly enough, or else be drawn by its power (John 12:32).
God prepared a body for Jesus so he could become the atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world (Hebrews 10:3-9). This sacrifice was offered in the most holy place, in the very presence of God (Hebrews 9:22-26). Jesus acted as both high priest, and sacrificial lamb, and the Temple in which he made his offering was the body God gave him (John 2:19).
Jesus is unavoidable; his influence over the world is irrevocable.
If you haven’t before, give the most influential person of history a very serious look.
He is worthy of at least a few moments of serious inquiry.