The Jewish chief priests, teachers of the law, and, of course, the Roman rulers should have been standing up for justice but instead conspired to commit an act of injustice by condemning Jesus to death. The cross reveals the systems of the world to be corrupt, serving power and oppression instead of justice and truth. In condemning Jesus, the world was condemning itself. Jesus’s death demonstrates not only the bankruptcy of the world but it also reveals the character of God and of his kingdom. Jesus’s death was not a failure. By submitting to death as penalty, he broke its hold on him and on us.
When Jesus went to the cross and died for our sins, he won through losing; he achieved our forgiveness on the cross by turning the values of the world on their head. He did not ‘fight fire with fire.’ He didn’t come and raise an army in order to put down the latest corrupt regime. He didn’t take power; he gave it up – and yet he triumphed. On the cross, then, the world’s misuse and glorification of power was exposed for what it is and defeated. The spell of the world’s systems was broken.
The corrupt powers of this world have many tools to make people afraid, the worst one being death. When you know that a civil power or some other power can kill you, you’re scared, and they can use your fear to control you. But since Jesus died and rose again from the dead, if you can find a way to approach Jesus and cling to him, you know that death, the worst thing that can possibly happen to you, is now the best thing. Honey, get up. Death will put you in God’s arms and make you all you hoped to be. And when death loses its sting, when death no longer has power over you because of what Jesus did on the cross, then you will be living a life of love and not a life of fear.
– Tim Keller