"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." Peter 2:24
I confess this is a stumbling block in my own understanding of Jesus. It speaks to the essence of my own suffering. For as I suffer so does God. Equally as I experience joy so does he. Jesus therefore has a truly invested interest in my getting it right. The 'suffering God' does not want my pain.
I find it easy to imagine a tourist God coming to earth in human form and checking out his creation from the inside. I find it equally easy to see him being unimpressed by the likes of us who set about killing holy men for sport. I can even grasp his holiness as he says 'love your enemy' and 'forgive them for they know not what they do.' In the 'play of creation' we're all just actors and actresses on the stage and will wake up in the 'green room' of afterlife and go over our various roles together with much laughter.
But that Christ was a sort of 'scapegoat god for himself'. My first thought is,that's "twisted pharisean shit" .. It speaks to the congregation wanting to have a priest or minister as a 'fall guy'. But in the deeper theological context of righting the error in creation, in keeping with the idea of Old Testament judgement of the Sodom and Gomorrah kind, one Good Man can save Society on the day of judgement. Whereas in the old testament there were none sufficient to step forward, so Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. All one could do was escape. Just like Noah in the Ark.
This time round however there was no escape but God made a new covenant with man through his Son's sacrifice. Anything goes. We all get to live. Jesus died for our sins.
Yet here today is Jesus, the innocent man. We are saved because there was one good man. This new world exists because of his sacrifice. Without him perhaps there would have been total annihilation and God might well have begun another 'science experiment' this time using bunny rabbits for his template rather than us rude chimpanzees.
But the key to all theology is in the Now. At this moment Jesus is dying for my sin. Jesus, the God within, is crying out in pain for me to come home. I am the prodigal son. I am asked to heed the 'wee small voice', to listen to my own 'conscience', and trust this 'helper' to know what is right or wrong and choose right.
Jesus died for my sin. And he resurrected. He also descended into Hell and I believe by that message we know that God's love extends everywhere so there is no 'eternal damnation' but only 'isolation from God for as long as we want'. As Milton said of the devil, he preferred to look at his own shadow rather than turn to the light and that which is loving in me believes that even the devil can be redeemed. All he needs to do is turn to the light. So similiarly I can choose to walk in the light or walk in the dark, be a child of day or a child of night.
Given the vast accumulation of sin since Jesus' death wouldn't God think it time to send another human sin sponge? Instead we eat consecrated bread and drink grape juice blood. It's a mystery that's for sure. Symbolic and metaphorical, paradoxical and divine.
Perhaps if I think that whenever I do wrong an innoscent man is being cruelly whipped and crucified, maybe I'll finally mend my ways. If I won't do what's good for me for myself and I won't listen to the advice of my elders, maybe I'll do what is right because any error I make is absorbed into the body of Christ. Makes me almost think I'll choke on the next wafer in church. I'll be the guy up by the altar gagging and spitting on my own sin come full circle. "This is my body shed for you." "Lest we forget," comes to mind.
On the other hand I might choose to think that it was only with all that sin that Jesus could catapult himself out of this life and into a better one. Maybe he should thank me for sinning because without my sin he'd not have resurrected. Be stuck here on the earth to grow an old man and feel real humiliation, the unattractive aging, stinking, sort of dying naturally. Equally so he could have saved himself a trip to earth if I'd not been mucking up and brought in the architectural God police to fix what went wrong with a perfectly good creation. Give those humans anything and they break it. Stop giving the kids toys!
Today is Easter Sunday. The day of celebration of the Ressurrected Christ. This is the "New World Order". The Gospell, or Good News. We are saved. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
There's a lot of diluted, bloodless, intellectual sanitized religion going around the tv talk shows these days. But Jesus is that "old time religion". "Give me that old time religion!" "Give me that old time religion!" Christianity speaks to the very heart of the matter. It's for the meek but not for the meek of heart. It is politically incorrect. Politically correct religion isn't Christianity.
We're born between piss and shit. As much as we like to deny it and as much as we want to keep our panties clean and our "Depends" tight the fact remains that life is bloody.
Christ is risen. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!