Pastor’s Corner: Hard Question

April 13, 2022

One of the great theological debates is: Was Jesus’ death on the cross necessary? Would we have been blessed by his assurance of new life without it?

It’s a harder question than it sounds.

Some have proposed that Jesus’ undeserved death substituted for the deserved deaths of the rest of humanity. It paints a rather chilling picture of God – one which inflicts an unrelenting harsh judgement on all of humanity. Others have suggested that God’s salvation is not dependent on the crucifixion of Christ – but they have more trouble accounting for the fact that it happened.

To be honest, I don’t know what would have happened if Jesus had been warmly welcomed by human beings, if they had joined in the angels’ Christmas song and the salvation chorus of Palm Sunday. I imagine it would have been quite something, wouldn’t it? Love, peace, and grace taken up; violence, power, and greed laid down.

What it could have been…

It didn’t happen that way, however. Early Christians struggled, not to explain what would have happened if Jesus had not been crucified, but to deal with the fact that the Messiah had been crucified. That wasn’t how it was supposed to go. In the light of the crucifixion, and in the light of the resurrection that followed, they developed a new understanding of Jesus’ mission and of God’s purposes.

What would have happened if Jesus had been accepted? Something like Easter joy, I’m sure. But what happened when he was rejected?

Easter joy.

God would not, did not, does not, and will not let the forces of death and power and greed have the final word. For each human, “No,” there is a divine, “Yes.”

Weep for Jesus this Friday, and remember: new life lies ahead for him and for us.

With aloha,

Pastor Eric

Photo by Eric Anderson

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: , | Posted on April 13, 2022

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