The Herb Of Grace

Theology and Poetry, Politics and Prose

Tuesday, April 7th in Holy Week. April 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Joel @ 2:47 pm

Jesus was killed not because God wanted him to be killed but because we wanted him to be killed. He posed a challenge to the ruling powers, to the establishment and to each individual and he continues to do so -and we continue to respond by crucifying him. The cross signifies humanity’s rejection of God and, indeed, of all humanness. It reveals the depth of our sin. Jesus pours his heart out and quite literally his blood for the sake of humanity. This is an invitation to love, to enter into a relationship with a person who is love.

Ry Siggelkow


6 Responses to “Tuesday, April 7th in Holy Week.”

  1. Ben Cloud Says:

    The statement above is not true.

    Jesus was the one who lay his life down in obedience to the Father. It was not just to signify our depravity – that was already more than evident. He came as the final sacrifice for our sins.

    Jesus said, “53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” showing that it was God’s will not men – that caused him to go lay his life down for us.

    Isaiah 53 tells us ” 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

    It does not say “he was pierced “BECAUSE” of our transgression but “FOR” our iniquities. Jesus came for a purpose by God – as the final sacrifice.

    Ephesians 5:2
    And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

    Again, Jesus was the one who lay his life down in obedience to the Father

    John 10:17-18
    “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (NKJV)

    Jesus was sent as a way of sealing the covenant between God and the people.

    Mark 14:22-25
    As they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and asked God’s blessing on it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take it, for this is my body.” And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And he said to them, “This is my blood, poured out for many, sealing the covenant between God and his people. I solemnly declare that I will not drink wine again until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.” (NLT)

    Hebrews tells us God made him lower, to suffer death – so that he might taste death for everyone

    Hebrews 2:9
    9But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

    …BY the GRACE of GOD he might taste death…

    He knew from the beginning that he would lay his life down for us. NOT… Jesus was not sent by God just to signify our “rejection,” of God – the good shepherd lays his life down that we may come close to him.

    John 10:11 (English Standard Version)
    11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

  2. masonmusic Says:

    Hi Ben, I hope your community’s Holy Week is going well!

    I am a little mystified at your disagreement above. It would seem that you take Ry to be saying that God not wanting Jesus to be killed is a rejection of the truth that the Father’s involvement in Jesus’ mission and life was dynamic. I think you are mis-hearing him here. How I read “God not wanting Jesus to be killed” is only in reference to Fatherhood and Sonship. Wanting and being willing are too very different things. God was willing for Jesus to be killed but He didn’t want it. You’re a father, right? This is where the vast extent to which God knows humans becomes important.
    Because God knew, knows, and will know us so well, He knew exactly what kind of conditions Jesus would be walking into. He understood the dynamics of fear and power that were pulsing through the crowds, temple, and government. Thus He knew, I would say, what would be required of Jesus, His Son. He knew what was needed for Jesus to be faithful to the calling of the Father. I think you read “obedience” in only one way and you assume that that way is the “obedience” that the scripture talks about.
    I think the statement that “the cross signifies humanity’s rejection of God” is a good one. Let me reason with you. How can the cross NOT be a symbol of our rejection of God? It was there that He came so close, healing, preaching, teaching, be-friending. It was there that we acclaimed Him king, king over all. And it was there that we so quickly turned on Him, torturing and murdering the Son of God. God knew the hearts of the people then; Jesus knew the hearts of the people then; He saw the storm brewing. God saw the rejection coming and yet went forward into it.
    There is no better scripture to show forth our rejection of God than when the group shouts “let his blood be upon us and our children!” That is incredible, let the blood of the Son of God be upon us; that is pure rejection.

  3. R.O. Flyer Says:

    Hi Ben,

    Thanks for responding to another one of my quotes. Unfortunately, you misinterpreted my statement once again. Joel has already done a fine job fielding your “critique,” but I thought I would say a few words of my own in response.

    First, I am quite open to theological engagement on any one of the points I make in these quotes. That being said, I must ask you to please keep two things in mind before launching into extended criticisms: 1) these are very brief quotes that Joel has taken out of a larger context (which, by the way, appear in full form in the St. Stephen’s Prayerbook) and 2) these reflections are not intended to be an exhaustive account of the meaning and significance of the cross and resurrection.
    Rather, they are intentionally open-ended; they are meant to provoke and suggest.

    I should also point out that the central theological themes are drawn largely from my reflections on the late Dominican priest Herbert McCabe’s collection of Holy Week sermons that appear in his masterful work, God Matters.

    Now, if you want to discuss the ideas in these quotes, I’m happy to do that, but so far you have yet to clearly state just what you find to be problematic about what I am saying. Instead you leave us with statements such as, “The statement above is not true” and then as a response provide us with a string of random quotes from the Bible. Stringing quotations together has never amounted to an argument and we all know quite well that the same biblical passages can be and are, in fact, frequently used to support competing theological positions.

    Simply quoting the Bible does not end (or really begin) an argument. The main reason why such a method is unhelpful is that it really stops conversation. Listen, I want to uphold the authority of the scripture just like you do. I think my reflections are both biblical and in line with the tradition of the church. Just because they run against the grain of your theological imagination, does not automatically relieve you of the difficult, but important task of conversation.

    If you are going to respond to my work again, and if you want me to continue to engage you at any level, then please read me more carefully and charitably. As I recall, the only substantial statement that you make (other than biblical quotations) is the following: “Jesus was the one who lay his life down in obedience to the Father. It was not just to signify our depravity – that was already more than evident. He came as the final sacrifice for our sins.” This is supposed to be in opposition to the quote? I never once questioned Jesus’ obedience to the Father, nor did I say the cross was “just to signify our depravity,” nor did I say anything that would suggest denial of the sacrificial character of Jesus’ death. My statement obviously strikes an emotional chord in you, so I encourage you to read me carefully and take the time necessary to respond with more clarity about the substantive issues at stake.

  4. Ben Cloud Says:

    You say, “Jesus was killed not because God wanted him to be killed but because we wanted him to be killed.”

    Nobody would have been allowed to kill Jesus unless God permitted and Jesus allowed it. I believe Jesus (and God) knew exactly what we would choose – and that he freely gave his life. Jesus himself said, “They know not what they are doing.” Jesus did not come to just be “human,” though empathy was part of it – so that we would know we have a high priest who empathizes with us in our weakness. He came to be a sacrifice for our sins. I believe God sent him to teach us, to love us, and to give his life for us. God sent him as a sacrifice.

    As you can see from my post on Monday’s “herb” – which I posted today – my concern is with people messing with “substitutionary penal atonement,” which you may not be doing – but it sounds a lot like the other quotes I gave you – which you may also believe are out of context. Do you guys believe that he was killed for our transgression – to pay the cost of our sins?

    I understand, Joel, what you are saying about “will” and “want” but it must be stated that it was God’s “will” for Jesus to be crushed for our sin, much more than it was human’s power or evil. The last two days statements don’t seem to incorporate God’s will in the death of Christ for our sins and seem to suggest (to me at least) that his death was all about men and their choices rather than God and his sovereignty.

    The word of God says in Isaiah, “It was the WILL OF GOD to crush him; he has put him to grief.” (Isaiah 53:34-6;10) For our iniquities.

    And know, writing is the worse place to sound charitable – so forgive my lack of communication skills here – and feel free to call me if you like – cause more “heart” can be heard then seen on written paper. Joel has my phone number on my email.

    I too appreciate your willingness to dialog – and agree that short snippets on certain topics can be taken way out of context.

    Thanks for your grace…with me. I will try to be influenced by the Spirit as well – and have been trying to.

  5. Walter Says:

    Ben, if you’re still following, could it not be that the sacrifice of God was not the death itself (which no matter how you slice it does seem to open the question of whether it makes God the equivalent of those who sacrificed their children to Molech – an idea, of course, abhorrent to God), but rather the sacrifice of a violent protection of Jesus’ life? That is, the sacrifice was his vulnerable love (inevitably leading to his death) rather than the death itself. This makes it a lot less problematic, though still hugely challenging, to be a follower of Jesus’ example as well.

  6. Ben Cloud Says:

    Walter, The difference between Molech and God is clear. I know (hope) you can see that. And still it was Gods will to crush him… Because of his great love for us. There WAS a grand purpose in Jesus dying…. Molech had none.

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