Archive for July, 2008

Another Look at the Crucifixion

July 16th, 2008 No comments

I warned you all that I would be using this corner of the web for various postings, theological musings included. I’ve been thinking of something that has really struck me as fairly profound, and I thought I’d share it with those few who read.

When we look at the crucifixion story and the Evangelists’ accounts of Jesus’s final moments, we see Jesus uttering these words: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The standard explanation of this? God didn’t REALLY forsake Jesus… Jesus just FELT forsaken, because this was part of his human nature.

I think there is more to this.

In ancient times, and in the case of the Israelites/Jews, one who was hung on a tree was “cursed” (see somewhere in Proverbs, I think–“Cursed is he who hangs on a tree.” This was the Hebrew way of bringing shame upon a man, a man that was usually from their own tribe or clan, or at the very least, their heritage. Of course, to bring a curse upon your own kin was a pretty mean thing to do, to say the least–and of course, the “cursor” was God himself.

Jesus was hung on a tree. Moreover, the Jews–his kin–put him there.

By Jewish custom, it would then follow that God himself had cursed Jesus in his final moments on the cross. So, Jesus wasn’t just uttering out of extreme despair, but of REALITY. God had abandoned him.

I get caught up in the fact that it was Jesus’s own people–the very people whom Jesus was trying to save–that put him on the cross to be cursed. And as Jews, they were fully aware of the magnitude of this situation. To curse one’s enemy is one thing. To curse your own kinsman, however–there is no greater shame in the Jewish culture than this, I daresay.

Yet, Jesus died for his cursors, too. Perhaps, then, we can read with entirely new eyes the statement:

“Father, forgive them–they know not what they do.”

Just something to think about.

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