The question on the meaning of Jesus’ death has echoed up and down the centuries. Very recently of course was Mel Gibson’s movie, it’s on the minds of a lot of people. Why did Jesús have to go through this terrible ordeal? Whats the meaning of his death? Let me get at it this way: Jesus comes as a warrior. C.S. Lewis said He came the way he did A little baby, born in a distant outpost of the Roman Empire because he was being snuck clandestinely behind enemy lines. Jesus came as God’s own self but entering into a disfuctional world, a sinful world, and, therefore, as he emerged preaching and teaching and preforming miracles and radiating the divine presence he awakened opposition. And we hear that up and down the gospels, don’t we? At the very beginning he is opposed. Herod tries to stamp him out. And he has to go into exile. From the minute he appears on the public scene, some cheer; others are opposed to him. It comes to its climax, of course, in the Passion. When you read these great Passion narratives in the Gospel, It is as though all forms of human sin and disfunction come to meet him. We hear, for example, of the explicit betrayal of Juda’s. That you would turn your back on your friend and your mentor. But you also see the more subtle forms of resistance and denial. So when Peter denies that he even knows him. When the other disciples fall asleep during his moment of Truth. That sloth in the presence of Good. You also see the great disorder and injustice of the Sanhedrin. You see Pontius Pilate who knows the truth but won’t follow through on it. You see the incredible brutality of the temple guards and the Roman guards as they torture Him and lead Him out to Crucifixion You see something I find maybe even most terrible. Those who would mock Him even as he hangs dying on this instrument of torture. It is as though all of human darkness, all of human sin comes out. It is as though He draws it out by his own goodness and his own perfection and the radiates of his life. And He is overwhelmed by it. Jesus dies, He really dies. Not just apparently. Not just as a play acting. He dies. Crushed by the Evil of the world. Then in the Resurrection God’s love conquers that Evil. He took it on, but then, in the Resurrection, what we see when Jesus says “Shalom!” to those who had abandoned Him; He says “Peace!” to those who had run from Him, those who had fallen asleep in His hour of need. When he says “Shalom!”, it signals that God’s love and forgiveness can swallow up all the sin of the world. What you see in the Cross of Jesus is the sin of the world! The author of Life came, Saint Peter said, and you killed Him! That means that all is not well with us! It means, you can see, in the very wounds of Jesus, the disfunction of the world. But now all that sin, all that disfunction has been swallowed up, has been conquered by ever greater forgiveness of God. And that’s why in Romans Paul can say: “I am certain that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor height nor depth any other power can separate us from the love of God!” Paul knows it because we killed God. We threw all the disfunction of the world at God and God still loves us. God can swallow that up in his forgiveness. That is Christianity! And that is why the Cross of Jesus was necessary! That is why the Cross of Jesus saves us! That is why we hold it up on Good Friday and we say: “There is the Cross on which hung the Salvation of the world!” We know that we are saved, we are saved precisely through that terrible Cross.