Greg Boyd has posted an excellent article on The Revelation of God in the Cross http://reknew.org/2016/02/the-revelation-of-god-in-the-cross/ In this post I want to put a different perspective. And yet, I am agreeing with much of what he says.
In order to counter what Greg rightly considers to be a misguided interpretation of the event of the resurrection he states, ‘The cross cannot be understood apart from the resurrection, just as the resurrection can never be understood apart from the cross. They are two sides of the same coin.’ My response is simple; of course the cross can be understood and interpreted on its own terms. Just as the resurrection can be understood and interpreted on its own terms. Now, I understand precisely where Greg is coming from, but I think that he may well be overstating the case in his assertion. What Greg is seeking to do in the article – I think – is to correct the misguided view that the God who raised Jesus from the dead is fundamentally different than the God who is revealed in the life of Jesus.
However, I would interpret the event of the death and resurrection of Jesus from a slightly different perspective. I would be interested to see if Greg concurs with my view…?
My perspective is this:
The execution of Jesus is a clear revelation of the unjust violence of political, imperial, religious power. Violence in our present day is an echo of this same injustice, and an admission of failure.
The Power that put Jesus to death on the cross is blind to – and rejects – love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and reconciliation.
To suggest that in resurrecting Jesus from the dead God uses superior brute force is at best to misunderstand the nature of the power of God, which is love; and at worst to deliberately manipulate the event for selfish and malevolent means.
What then do I consider to be the meaning of the resurrection?
- God who raised Jesus from the dead is precisely consistent with God revealed in the life of Jesus.
- The power exerted by God in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is never more and never less than love. For God is love.
- The resurrection vindicates the faithfulness of Jesus in ‘loving-no-matter-what’ even if they crucify you for it.
- The event of the death and resurrection of Jesus epitomises the trust in which Jesus related to his Father. When Jesus died he was dead. Jesus trusted his Father to do what was good and loving and just whether that meant resurreciton or not.
- The loving power of God in resurrection is postively, life-affirmingly, and beautifully transformative.
- The resurrection is a direct challenge to the violence, and injustice of political, and religious power. Jesus died in a violent act, following the perpetration of violence and injustice upon him.
- The resurrection is an example non-violent power
- The resurrection subverts political and religious power.
- The resurrection insists that the love of God – that forgives, reconciles and restores – is more powerful than the power of violence that put Jesus to death.
- The power inherent in the resurrection is altogether different and of a different category – completely other – than the power exhibited as violence, might, force, pressure, manipulation…
- The resurrection reveals a way of justice that is other than the legal justice enforced by violence, threat, and punishment.