The Cross: The Power of Love
The Jews hated the Romans. It is natural to hate terrorists who derive their legitimacy from their sword but are not elected by a free people because of their wisdom and record of public service. It takes supernatural strength to love those who are nailing you to the cross. People do not naturally pray, “Father, forgive them (who are murdering me), for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
Caesar was a beast, but called himself ‘Lord.’ That spirit is active in our world. The cross was Caesar’s weapon to terrorize those who refused his Lordship. That spirit of hatred is now terrorizing those it deems to be the enemies of beastly governments. That spirit is destroying the Middle East.
The Lord Jesus was a radically different revolutionary. He inverted the meaning of the cross. He transformed the cross into the symbol of God’s self-sacrificing love for His rebellious children turned enemies. (Romans 5:10) The Lord Jesus adopted the cross as his emblem because “God so loved the world [of sinners] that he gave his one and only Son [on the cross], that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
The cross and the resurrection empowered Christ’s followers to cease fearing death, to turn the tyrant’s cross into their weapon of love. The cross became evidence that God’s Spirit of self-sacrificing love is stronger than the diabolical spirit of hate.
The Secular West responded to the terrorists’ bombs with superior bombs. Just war is justified, but Regan, Carter, Bush Sr and Jr, Obama, and now President Trump, missed the opportunity to break the vicious cycle of violence. Most of them did not hate Muslims. Yet, they lacked spiritual sensitivity to see that a supernatural force, Satan, was leading them to do what the terrorists want — fuel hatred between Muslims and non-Muslims. St. Paul was different. He carried to a cruel Rome the symbol of God’s love — the cross.
If a terrorist is shooting shoppers in a mall, security officers may need to shoot him to stop the massacre. That is a realistic acceptance of the fallen insanity of our broken world. Nevertheless, contemporary history would have been radically different had President Carter and his National Security Advisor Brzezinski teamed up with Osama bin Laden to equip Afghan refugees to return to their faltering socialist regime as cross-bearers — nation-builders, prepared to be martyred for love.
Prof Vishal Mangalwadi directs the Centre for Human Resource Development in a Unversity in North India. He has authored 20 books and lectured in 40 countries. His exposition of Indian philosophy and Western thought and culture In books such as “The World of Gurus”, and “The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization” are studied at university level.