“Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1 Cor. 2:8)
To the religious leaders in Jerusalem in the first century the messiah was merely a cheap “means to an end”…a useful deliverer to set the nation of Israel free from Roman political and military occupation. These leaders could not see any value in a relationship with God through faith in Jesus the Christ…leading to an adventurous and liberating journey of faith after the pattern of Abraham, Moses, David, and the other great men and women of faith in the Hebrew Bible (the Christian Old Testament).
These religious leaders were users of other people…users of the worldliness. They were adept at bending people to their will. In this mindset, they were incapable of an open, teachable, give-and-take personal relationship with God…exercising their free-will choice in combination with a biblical-quality journey of faith. They did not want to follow God to dig deeper…through real-life experience…into the meaning of Proverbs 3:5-6 or Jeremiah 31:31-34. Pride-filled resistance to personal reformation, repentance, spiritual character growth, and the universally dreaded word—change—sadly blocked this out of their consciousness.
The new covenant Christian life is the diametric opposite of this worldly mindset. We are not a “means to an end” for God. God is not “using” us as a disposable asset or an expendable entity in our journeys of faith. God-composed journey of faith life-scripts are designed to establish and solidify a personal relationship with God…so valuable to God that Jesus went to the cross to purchase this relationship with His own blood. Jesus said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Jesus Christ offers deliverance in the deepest and fullest sense imaginable. Christianity and God-composed journeys of faith are all about radical change of the heart in the highest and best possible way.
Roman crucifixion is what the Pharisees, Sadducees, lawyers, and scribes in first-century Jerusalem thought of this concept of a biblical-quality walk of faith following Jesus Christ into personal and national deliverance.
The rejection of Jesus the Son of God…based partly upon worldly perceptions and calculations…is factored into the equation of the cross (Isa. 53). God brilliantly makes this rejection of a personal relationship with Him…condensed, focused, and exaggerated out of all sensible proportion…at the cross of Calvary…the portal through which salvation and eternal life comes to people of faith through Christ.
But the rejection of a personal relationship with God through a journey of faith…culminating in the cross…is not just one small factor. It is the main component in the social, political, and religious reality that sends Jesus of Nazareth to a brutal and ignominious death on the cross.
Jesus encourages the disciples in John 16:33 by saying: “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” This forever emphatically places worldly conventional normalcy and thinking in the subordinate position it merits in relation to a God-composed adventure of faith.
An old saying aptly applies here: “If we aim for nothing, we are sure to hit it.” Our new covenant Christian life is not a cheaply purchased, cheaply gained means to an end. The value to God of a joint-venture journey of faith with us is seen in the high purchase price of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Son of God.