Two Perspectives on the Cross
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Jesus, on his journey towards the cross, taught his disciples time and time again about the despicable and shameful death he was about to die. It was not just another tragic death in a world full of tragedies. Instead, God was going to use his death in an incredible way to respond to the sin and suffering of a broken world. His death was to be the means of putting the world to right. It was to be an act of divine love, which in conjunction with the resurrection would eventually result in the healing of the nations and the renewal of creation at the consummation of the kingdom in the new heaven and new earth.
In Mark’s account of Jesus dead, he portrays the darkness, loneliness and desolation of it all. Jesus is completely abandoned. Jesus is thrust into total darkness, and from the depths of darkness he calls out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In response to his cry of abandonment, the crowd suggests, that he saved others, but himself he could not save. Thus, on the cross, he gives himself up utterly to share in the darkness of a sinful and suffering humanity.
In contrast to Mark’s account, John shares the story of the same event from a different perspective. He tells it from the standpoint of ‘glory’. John demonstrates that this terrible death was and is Christ’s glory, the glory of divine self-giving love. John shows how what appears to be a complete and utter disaster is transformed through Christ’s sacrifice into an act of glory.