30 June 2007

Jesus - Suffering Servant, not Conquering Messiah

Here is another excellent commentary on tomorrow's gospel reading, this time from Preaching Peace.

We reject Jesus self-identification [as the Suffering Servant] too when our Christology sacrifices Jesus on the altar of the violent God. Some espouse a Christology in which God has a wrathful (if temporal) relationship with Jesus; a Christology that demands propitiation; a Christology wherein Jesus is scapegoated by God as well as by us. This Jesus gets even in the end, brings justice through violence, “his terrible swift sword.” To the extent that we claim all or part of this Christology, we stand rebuked as well.

Why do I keep going on about this and why do I think it's important? Well, first of all, there is currently a debate going on about 'theories of atonement'. In plain English, Christians are discussing how it is that we come to be reconciled with God. Why does God forgive us?

Some people are quite concerned to say that God forgives us only after his anger at our sin and / or his anger at sinners has been satisfied by the death of his Son. I do not agree with this view and may therefore be representing the view unfairly because it's not my own. As I see it, people who believe this are worried that those of us who don't hold to their view don't believe that sin is a serious thing.

The reason that I have a problem with this view is that I believe that Jesus was quite clear that he came as the Suffering Servant and not as the conquering Messiah. Tomorrow's Gospel reading actually makes that quite clear.

Sin is very serious indeed. The problem is that the idea that violence can be conquered by violence just plays into the 'worldly' agenda in my view. The great myth that our human nature would love us to buy into is the myth that if only my enemies could be destroyed, peace will reign in my heart. It will do. Temporarily. Until I find another person or group to hate.

The only way to achieve peace is to become peacable and act peacfully.

No comments: