“Jesus of Nazareth took the total risk of speaking and acting as if the answer to the question were this: when the true God comes back to deal with evil, he will look like a young Jewish prophet journeying to Jerusalem at passover-time, celebrating the kingdom, confronting the corrupt authorities, feasting with his friends, succumbing in prayer and agony to a cruel and unjust fate, taking upon himself the weight of Israel’s sin, the world’s sin, Evil with a capital E.
When we look at Jesus in this way we discover that the cross has become for us the new Temple, the place where we go to meet the true God and know him as saviour and redeemer. The cross becomes the place of pilgrimage where we stand and gaze at what was done for each one of us. The cross becomes the sign that pagan empire, symbolized in the might and power of sheer brutal force, has been decisively challenged by a different power, the power of love – and that this decisive challenge shall win the day.
The question is then posed to us in the strongest and clearest possible way. Dare we stand in front of the cross and admit that all that was done for us? Dare we take all the meanings of the word ‘God’ and allow them to be recentred upon, redefined by, this man, this moment, this death? Dare we address the consequences of what Jesus himself said, that the rulers of the world behave in one way, but that we must not do it like that? (...)
Only so, I believe, can we even begin the task, to which the subsequent lectures will return, of working in our own day with mature, Christian and sober intelligence to address the problem of evil which still haunts the world which God loved so much.”
Source : “Evil and the Justice of God”
a series of lectures for 2003 by the Canon Theologian, Dr N. T. Wright
Lecture 3: Evil and the Crucified God
March 17 2003
(written up in retrospect from notes, December 2004)