From “How to become a Christian”: Chapter 10 – Jesus’s death on the cross
To proud, selfish and worldly people who do not believe in Jesus, what happened on the cross seems foolish. God has deliberately made it that way so that Christianity can only make any sense to humble and lowly people. Proud or worldly people who are “wise in their own eyes” will never be able to understand what Jesus did on the cross and why it was essential. Yet a child can understand it easily:
18For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (NIV)
No single word can adequately sum up all that Jesus achieved on the cross. But ‘atonement‘ is the word which probably comes closest to being able to do so The suffering and death of Jesus involved a complicated series of transfers and transactions, during which many things were happening. We shall now begin to examine this process of the atonement in closer detail and break it down into its component parts. Then we will see more clearly what was happening and the many different ways in which Jesus’ death benefited us.