is the significance of the cross and the crucifixion of Jesus?
of all, I see the cross of Jesus as having a political meaning.
Jesus was executed by the authorities, and if we ask why, the
most persuasive historical explanation is because of Jesus' passion
for the Kingdom of God, which involved him in radical criticism
of the domination system of his day. The domination system killed
him. On the one hand, the cross tells us what domination systems
oftentimes do to those who oppose them. It tells us about the
typical behavior of empires.
cross in the New Testament also has a more personal and individual
meaning as a symbol or an image for the path of transformation,
for what it means to follow Jesus. It means to die and rise with
Christ. We find this in Paul. "I have been crucified with
Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." The
cross there is an image for that path of spiritual and psychological
transformation that leads to a new identity and way of being.
there's the cross as the once and for all sacrifice for sin.
If we literalize that language, as … much of conventional
Christianity has done, the only way God can forgive sins is if
adequate sacrifice is offered: Somebody has got to be punished,
and that person is Jesus. Also only those people who know and
believe in that story can be saved. Thus, literalizing that language
is a slur on the character of God. If you see Jesus' death as
part of the divine plan, as part of the will of God, that suggests
that God required the suffering of this immeasurably great man.
It is never the will of God that an innocent person be crucified,
and to suggest that is to suggest something horrible about God.
If, on the other hand, we understand the language of Jesus’s being the
sacrifice for sin as a post-Easter interpretation of his death that emerges
within the early Christian community, we can then see that, metaphorically,
it's a proclamation of radical grace. The connection is this: If Jesus is the
once and for all sacrifice for sin, understood metaphorically now, it means
that God has already taken care of whatever it is that we think separates us
from God. It means that God accepts
us just as we are and that the Christian life is not about getting right with
God. God's already taken care of that. The Christian life becomes
about something else, namely, living within this framework of radical trust
in God and relationship to God that makes possible our transformation, and,
ideally and ultimately, the transformation of the world.
Atonement is the Christian doctrine of the cross -- Why did Jesus
die? What did his death accomplish? There are a lot of versions
of the atonement doctrine in Christian history....The “substitutionary
blood sacrifice” version of the atonement is the least compelling
theological explanation of the cross for me.
For me, the suffering of Jesus
is a sacrament of the love of God. The story tells us that God willingly
soaks up all of our systemic injustice, personal evil and violence
and returns only love.
The predominant ethos of Jesus is compassion. And here's where the
use of Latin actually comes in handy. Cum , meaning “with,” and
passio , meaning “to suffer; to feel deeply.” Compassion = “to feel
and suffer deeply with.” It is a visceral word. Biblically it is
associated with the kind of feeling that comes from the womb or
from the bowels, and so we have that odd biblical expression of
Jesus that “his bowels were moved with compassion.” (John 11:33,
38) Jesus reveals a God whose love for us is deep and womb-like,
like the love a mother has for the child of her womb.
So, God is no distant deity in some pure heaven far away. God is
with us on earth in our horror, our terror, our violence, and our
suffering. God refuses to add to the evil and violence, but instead
responds with vulnerable, compassionate love. That's how God wins.
The resurrection of Jesus proclaims that love is more powerful than
hate, compassion triumphs over oppression, and vulnerability overcomes
power. Jesus invites us to put our trust in God, even in the face
of horror, oppression, cruelty and death. God is with us. God feels
and suffers deeply with us. And, what God does best is to bring
life out of death.
"How to Watch The Passion of the Christ"...