Tuesday, 4 March 2008

The Crucified God - Totally Rejected

As a 'blasphemer', Jesus was rejected by the guardians of his people's law. As a 'rebel' he was crucified by the Romans. But finally, and most profoundly, he died as one rejected by his God and his Father. In the theological context of his life this is the most important dimension. It is this alone which distinguishes his cross from the many crosses of forgotten and nameless persons in world history. In his conflict with the law it was possible to speak of a 'misunderstanding' on the part of the Jews. In the political conflict of his crucifixion as a rebel it is customary to speak of a 'misunderstanding' on the part of the Romans. But is it possible to speak of a 'misunderstanding' in the theological context of his abandonment by God? If so, either Jesus must have misunderstood God in his preaching, or God must have misunderstood Jesus at the end of his life. But in view of his message concerning God, his abandonment on the cross cannot be interpreted as a misunderstanding unless Jesus is to be explained as a liar, or God as non-God.

The theology of the cross must take up and think through to a conclusion this third dimension of the dying of Jesus in abandonment by God. If, abandoned by his God and Father, he was raised through the 'glory of the Father', then eschatological faith in the cross of Jesus Christ must acknowledge the theological trial between God and God. The cross of the Son divides God from God to the utmost degree of enmity and distinction. The resurrection of the Son abandoned by God unites God with God in the most intimate fellowship. How is this Easter day fellowship of God with God to be conceived in the Good Friday cross? To comprehend God in the crucified Jesus, abandoned by God, requires a 'revolution in the concept of God': Nemo contra Deum nisi Deus ipse.74 Here the Christian concept of God itself becomes a revolt in a quite different sense from the revolt which scandalized the Pharisees and priests over Jesus and which the Romans suppressed by executing him.75

Moltmann, J├╝rgen, The Crucified God, (London, SCM 1994) pp 152

Not only in the end was Jesus completely rejected by man and His Father, the Holy Spirit of truth and life also left Him. Yet the Godhead did not remain divided, His rejection was temporal for the Father accepted His intercession and through the Spirit of Life was resurrected, and the God head was one again. Therefore as we participate through and in His death and resurrection we too are now free from rejection and instead have the glorious hope of total acceptance from the Father, and resurrection into eternal life through the Spirit.

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