First there is the Earth, a mere nothing in the cosmos, which was to be the point of the divine activity in the cosmos. Then comes Israel, a cipher among the powers, which was to be the point of his appearance in the world. Then comes Nazareth, again a cipher within Israel, which was to be the point of his definitive arrival. Then again there is the Cross, on which a man was to hang, a man whose life had been a failure; yet this was to be the point at which one can actually touch God. …Thus what is small by a cosmic or even worldly scale represents the real sign of God….
— Joseph Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, II.Excursus.3