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Thoughts on Good Friday

Graffiti image of the crucixion with a caption 'Strawman'

As has been my wont in recent years, I am posting another piece of graffiti on Good Friday. Thankfully those renegade creative types around the world continue to find the crucifixion a story for inspiration and criticism on our streets.

It’s with the latter in mind, that I post this image from Matthew Gidley on Flickr. It isn’t clear where it is from and who it is by.

This year I have been thinking a great deal about Paul’s words in both 1 Corinthians 1 and 1 Corinthians 15.

In regard to the later chapter, Paul says that if Christ was not raised from the dead, the Christian faith is utterly pointless.

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15.14-19, NIV)

It is central and absolutely crucial to the entire enterprise. Without the death and resurrection of the incarnate God, I am utterly wasting my time.

Earlier this week, I participated in a school assembly on 1 April, April Fool’s Day. There was part of me that half-expected someone to shout at the end of the story as Jesus was raised – April Fool. When you look at it with fresh eyes, it’s barely credible to many people that this might be the way in which God chose to save the world.

And yet that is precisely what God did and so we are left with a paradox and graffiti like this piece that level the accusations of a ‘strawman’ alongside all those who accused and mocked Jesus as he hung from the tree two thousand years ago. In that sense, the crucifying, the mocking, the accusing hasn’t ceased from that day to this.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. (1 Corinthians 1.18-24, NIV)

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