Founders of many major religions were often very successful by the time of their deaths. When Moses died, millions of Israelites were about to enter the promised land. When Buddha died, he had achieved “enlightenment” with numerous disciples. When Mohammed died, he had converted most in the Arabian peninsular to Islam.
But Christ died on the cross, in an absolutely repugnant way. On the cross, He was abandoned practically by everyone. Yet the cross is the symbol of Christianity. Why?
Right before His death, Christ had a special Passover dinner with His disciples (John 13-14).
Passover dinners commemorated God liberating the Israelites from Egypt. The festival referred to a particular night when many firstborns were killed, but families with the blood of a lamb on doors were spared. So, the Passover dinner ate a lamb to remember the event.
But Christ’s Passover dinner had no lamb because Christ was the lamb. Through the blood of Christ on the cross, we are saved, liberated from sin and death.
If someone has harmed us, typically we either seek revenge on the wrongdoer, or we accept it, leading to inner struggle and pain. We have harmed God. How did He react? He accepted our mistakes and went through the pain of the cross.
Through the cross, a Christian community has been built. Israelites typically celebrated Passover with their families, but the disciples celebrated it with Christ. They were not bonded by family relationship, but by the common experience of the cross.
In many communities, the powerful support many and expect their loyalty in return. Many serve the rich for special treatment.
The community of the cross is different. This community was not based on mutual benefits. On the contrary, those in power serve, but not for any payoffs from those they serve. As Christ have loved them, so they must love one another (John 13:34).
Leaders in this community are far from perfect. Peter was shown as a selfish coward with no integrity. Yet, after repentance, he became the leader.
Meditate on the cross.
The cross shows God’s earnest desire for us. Through the cross, we are liberated and accepted by God. Though weak, we can still serve and love one another, because God loves us first. That may be why the Cross is the symbol of Christianity.
Summarized from a Tim Keller’s sermon.
但基督不同。祂以令人绝对反感的方式死在十字架上。 当时, 祂实际上被所有的人抛弃。然而，十字架却是基督教的象征。这是为什么呢？
逾越节的晚餐是为了纪念上帝从埃及解救了以色列人。它追忆以色列人历史上那个特别的晚上，埃及地有许多长子被击杀。 但所有将羔羊的血涂抹在门上的家庭, 就免去了这场灾难。为了记念这件事，逾越节晚餐的菜单中有一只羔羊。
如果有人伤害了我们，通常我们会报仇，使那人遭受痛苦； 或者我们接受这伤害，带来内心的挣扎和苦痛。但我们伤害了上帝, 祂是如何反应的呢? 祂接受了我们的过犯，自己经历了十字架的痛苦。