What will happen when broken humanity encounters God-in-the-flesh?
At least, that's what would happen if the encounter happened in ancient Rome. If it happened in medieval England, maybe it would be beheading. In modern America, lynching or an electric chair or a bullet through the eye.
We don't like to believe this, of course.
We like to believe that we would receive Jesus with arms wide open, that we would be exceptional. And maybe our response wouldn't be as violent. We've become better and better at keeping our hands clean. But are our hearts clean?
The Cross is the inevitable outcome of the Incarnation. When God stays true to his character and we stay true to ours, catastrophe happens. But that catastrophe isn't the only news, even if it's good news.
The Resurrection follows the Cross as inevitably as the Cross follows the Incarnation. And all three matter. They show a God of unchanging character. They even give us hope that God can change our character. If he can change the finality of death, perhaps he can finally change the human opposition to him.
But if he didn't come in the flesh, where would we be? The sort of God who wouldn't show up in our neighborhoods, wouldn't die for us. The sort of God who wouldn't die for us, wouldn't return from the dead and wouldn't raise us up with him.
How does the Incarnation influence our thinking about the Cross?