“The New Testament insists, in book after book, that when Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross, something happened as a result of which the world is a different place…”
“The new Passover happened because the pillar of cloud and fire — though now in a strange and haunting form, the likeness of a battered and crushed human being — had come back to deliver the people. The covenant was renewed because of the blood that symbolized the utter commitment of God to his people, the lifeblood that spoke of divine protection, of God’s self-giving love. Paul, in Acts 20:28, speaks of ‘the church of God, which he purchased with his very own blood.’ Forgiveness happened because the ‘arm of YHWH’ was ‘wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities’ (isa. 53:5). The cross became the encoded symbol as well as the actual outworking of the dying, and hence the undying, love of Israel’s God.”
— NT Wright: The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus’s Crucifixion.