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Silent Witness

Notes & Transcripts

Author Henri Nouwen tells the story of a family he knew in Paraguay.

The father was a doctor who courageously spoke out against the terrible human rights abuses of military regime which was in power. As you can imagine, the two-bit dictator of this impoverished country took issue with this offense. Local police took their revenge on the doctor by arresting his teenage son and torturing him until he died. The people of the town were enraged. They urged the father to turn the boy's funeral into a huge protest march, but the doctor chose another way. At the funeral, the father displayed his son's body as he had found it in the jail—naked, scarred from electric shocks and cigarette burns, and beatings. All the villagers filed past the corpse, which lay not in a coffin but on the blood-soaked mattress from the prison. It was the strongest protest imaginable, for it put injustice on grotesque display.

That’s what God did on Calvary. The cross that held Jesus' body, naked and marked with scars, exposed all the violence and injustice of this world. At once, the cross revealed what kind of world we have and what kind of God we have: a world of gross unfairness, a God of sacrificial love.

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