...has a tendency to get me nowhere.
The biggest thing that has drawn my attention in Part I of this book is Stott's insistence on an extended defense of the centrality of the cross in Christianity. I think that Alexx nailed the centrality of the cross on the head when he drew our attention to Christ's humanity--the cross serves as a reminder to us that Christ's sacrifice was ONLY worth a damn because He became a man, albeit without sacrificing His divinity. This essentially gives His sacrifice credibility with the Father on the scales of cosmic justice.
What is more important than Christ's ability to experience pain and anxiety as we can, however, is emphasized on p. 83, where Stott talks about the cross as an experience of what he calls "real dereliction" for Jesus. This is the point in the story where Jesus goes where no man can go without being abandoned forever--namely, straight into the teeth of separation from God. Stott describes the way in which Christ's death is linked to ideas of martyrdom on pp. 77-78, but one of the points that he makes a few pages later highlights the reasons why Christ's death was not mere martyrdom. He points out that God enables us to bear persecution from the world even to the point of death with joy, but implicit in his later discussion of what sets the dereliction of Christ apart is the reality that we cannot joyfully face the prospect of being judged for sin before the throne of God the Father--in fact, we cannot face this divine prosecution in any posture. The cross, then, is also important because the immense intensity of Christ's physical death is a mere underscoring to the reality of His real separation from God the Father because of our sin. Our sin...I mean, shit. That's crazy.
I agree with everyone who has posted to this point, particularly as the biggest theme I see developing throughout the blog is the impetus which the cross gives us for humility. A question for all of you in light of this...what can we, as a community of believers, do to cultivate this humility so that it doesn't end up as a simple flash-in-the-pan? How do we help each other in this?