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Today's Expositor's Quote is from John Stott's The Cross of Christ." Referring to Galatians 3:1-3 he writes:

There is much to learn from this text about the preaching of the gospel.

First, gospel-preaching is proclaiming the cross. True, the resurrection must be added (1:1; 2:19-20). So must Jesus' birth of a woman, and under the law (4:4). But the gospel is in essence the good news of Christ crucified.

Secondly, gospel-preaching is proclaiming the cross visually. Paul uses a remarkable verb, >prographo<. . . . >Grapho< can sometimes mean to draw or paint, rather than to write, and >pro< can mean 'before' in space (before our eyes) rather than in time (previously). So Paul here likens his gospel-preaching either to a huge canvas painting or to a placard publicly exhibiting a notice or advertisement. The subject of his painting or placard was Jesus Christ on the cross. Of course it was not literally a painting; the picture was created by words. Yet it was so visual, so vivid, in its appeal to their imagination, that the placard was presented 'before your very eyes.' One of the greatest arts or gifts in gospel-preaching is to turn people's ears into eyes, and to make them see what we are talking about.

Thirdly, gospel-preaching proclaims the cross visually as a present reality. Jesus Christ had been crucified at least fifteen years before Paul was writing, and in our case nearly two millennia ago. What Paul did by his preaching (and we must do by ours) was to bring that event out of the past into the present. The ministry of both word and sacrament can do this. It can overcome the time-barrier and make past events present realities in such a way that people have to respond to them. Almost certainly none of Paul's readers had been present at the crucifixion of Jesus; yet Paul's preaching brought it before their eyes so that they could see it, and into their existential experience so that they must either accept or reject it.

Fourthly, gospel-preaching proclaims the cross as a visual, present and permanent reality. . . . The tense of the verb emphasizes not so much that the cross was a historical event of the past as that its validity, power and benefits are permanent. The cross will never cease to be God's power for salvation to believers.

Fifthly, gospel-preaching proclaims the cross also as the object of personal faith. Paul did not placard Christ crucified before their eyes so that they might simply gape and stare. His purpose was to persuade them to come and put their trust in him as their crucified Saviour. And this is what they had done.

John Stott, "The Pervasive Influence of the Cross," the concluding chapter in The Cross of Christ (InterVarsity Press, 1986), p. 343-44.

[Oh, may our listeners over the next several days see what we proclaim! May they see the love, the sacrifice, and the power of the cross -- and trust in the One who died for them. Preach the cross! -- Coty]


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