The word from the cross is the gospel of Paul – the message he announced to Jews and pagans. It is a plain witness, without a trace of grandiloquence, without any effort to convince on the grounds of reason. It derives its entire force from that which it proclaims. And that is the cross of Christ, that is, the death of Christ on the cross, and the crucified Christ himself.
Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom not only as one sent by God, as God’s Son who is himself God, but as the Crucified One. For the death on the cross is the salvific solution invented by God’s unfathomable wisdom. In order to show that human power and human wisdom are incapable of achieving salvation, he gives salvific power to what appears to human estimation to be weak and foolish, to him who wishes to be nothing on his own, but allows the power of God alone to work in him, who has “emptied himself” and “become obedient to death on the cross.”
The saving power: this is the power that awakens to life those in whom divine life had died through sin. This saving power had entered the Word from the cross and through this word passes over into all who receive it, who open themselves to it, without demanding miraculous signs or human wisdom’s reasons. In them it becomes the life-giving and life-forming power that we have named the science of the cross.
Paul brought it to fulfillment in himself: “Through the law, I died to the law, that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
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