In a moving video, a group of anti-abortion protesters confronted an abortionist doctor. One of the protesters preached to the doctor that he needed to know Jesus in order to be forgiven and saved. The doctor retorted that he believed in God, but as for Jesus, “He is dead! He has been dead for the past 2,000 years!” The protester, surprisingly, had no ready answer to give.

Why did Jesus have to die? His death is a great mystery to us all, even to the most vocal proclaimer of Christian faith. That Jesus died is a fact of history. That he should die in the first place is a continuing reason for many to doubt his power, and for many others to deny that he is truly God. This Palm Sunday initiates for us a whole week of confronting a dying God, a bleeding Redeemer, hanging on the cross. Before him, our faith too is sometimes shaken.

Wise people through the ages thought of God as powerful, absolute, unchanging and immovable. Many people expect these same qualities in God today. For them (as for our president), the cross is an insult to God, a contradiction we do not need and one we cannot handle. But is it really?

The cross of Jesus is indeed a contradiction – not on God’s side, but on ours. Our minds are limited in comprehending the ways of God. Saint Augustine was right when he taught that we can understand “something” about God but it is impossible to understand “everything” about God. For if we did, then he would no longer be God.

Like wise thinkers, we often think that God is perfect, immovable, and emotionless. This God is a big boulder of rock that stay in its place, having no real connection with its surrounding. But a simple reading of the Bible shows a God who feels, loves, gets angry, changes his mind – far from the idea of philosophers and thinkers.

God is indeed perfect, but his perfection is fullness rather than limitation; he is not unmoving, but rather possesses all movements; he is not unfeeling, but rather surpasses all sorts of emotions. It is true that he does not love “like” us, because he loves “more than” we can ever do, in a way we can never fully understand – he loves the sinner in all of us! He loves us to the point of death, to the very end, to the Cross and the grave!

God’s hidden life is exposed in the very humanity of Jesus. As truly man, he suffered, loved, healed, forgave sinners. He was deceived by his companions and was betrayed by a trusted friend. This is who God really is, in the life of his only Son, Jesus Christ.

Holy Week challenges our very concept of God. May we have a richer, not poorer idea, of the Crucified and Dying God as we meet him in his passion and death. May we be filled with praise and worship as we welcome him in his resurrection. For the end of Jesus was not destruction but victory over sin and death.