Preaching The Cross Shows How Much God Loves Us

Preaching the Cross Shows How Much God Loves Us

In the last post we considered that preaching the cross reminds me that I am a sinner.  In this post we’ll see the next, logical aspect of keeping the Cross a central part of your preaching.  Preaching the cross shows how much God loves the kinds of people we’ve been describing in this passage from 1 Corinthians.

Preaching The Cross From Paul’s Perspective

26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus,who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness,holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[a]

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.[b] For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

Preaching The Cross and God’s Love

I mentioned in the last post how much the cross points to God’s love.  Here I want to expand on that subject

Recently, I read a book by John Ortberg called, God Is Closer Than You Think.  In one touching section he does a critique of one of the most famous paintings in the world, Michelangelo’s The Creation of Man.  Check out the picture.  This painting is part of a powerful Biblical images that line the walls and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.  The picture that I’ve copied for you here doesn’t do justice to the breadth and power of the overall effect of Michelangelo’s work.  Several years ago now, my wife and I had the privilege of touring the Sistine Chapel, and came away overwhelmed.

God Is Pictured Loving Man

But back to the painting of The Creation of Man.  Ortberg points out that this painting is very different from most creation of man paintings.  In those paintings God is pictured standing on the ground and forming Adam out of the dirt at his feet.  In contrast, Michelangelo pictures God on a cloud rushing toward Adam.  It is, as art critics have pointed out, almost as if God is rushing to close the gap between himself and Adam.  However, he doesn’t come all the way.  He leaves a slight gap so that Adam can make the choice of connecting with God.  So God waits for man to take the step.

Man is Pictured Leaning Away from God

Now consider the how the artist painted Adam.  His body is reclining in a lazy pose, leaning backward as if he has little interest in connecting with God.  God is right there.  All the potential of a miracle happening, the power and life of God flowing through him is there.  But Adam seems almost disinterested.  And yet God persists.

The Opportunity to Preach God’s Love Through The Cross

This is the God pictured in the Bible for us.  He keeps after us, seeking us.  Preaching the cross shows how much God loves us.  He pursues us, and does whatever is necessary for us to connect with him.

I know this God.  At one point in my life I had blown it.  Public sin.  Disciplined by my church.  It was the greatest failure of my life.  During that time, I came to God and said, “Oh God, I’ve always tried to come to you to offer something.”  I would point to my work and say, “I’m your faithful servant.  Look a how I am working to build your kingdom.  And today, all I have is nothing.  I come to you with nothing.  And I heard the voice of God speak clearly to my heart.  He said, “But Bruce, that’s the only way you can come.”

Preaching the cross shows how much God loves us!  Let the people know.