The Crux of the Cross

A wee bit from my dissertation writing:

Moltmann writes:

When the crucified Jesus is called ‘the image of the invisible God’, the meaning is that this is God, and god is like this. God is not greater than he is in this humiliation. God is not more glorious than he is in this self-surrender. God is not more powerful than he is in this helplessness. God is not more divine than he is in this humanity. The nucleus of everything that Christian theology says about ‘God’ is to be found in this Christ event. The Christ event on the cross is a God event. And conversely, the God event takes place on the cross of the risen Christ.

Those who are forsaken, who are poor in Spirit, are blessed because in their forsakenness Jesus identifies with them; these are the people whose life share his own experiences and those are the people with whom he was cast. They are blessed because then, with Jesus, his future becomes their future. If then, the experience of Jesus is ultimately the experience and orientation of God in bringing salvation, only by identifying with those who Jesus identified with does one then identify with Jesus.

To identity with the forsaken one must let go that which one feels is one’s right, letting go forms of oppression so as to participate in community with Christ who suffered under oppression. Those who are oppressed, then, are liberated as oppressors no longer can justify their oppression, so no longer oppress. The broken relationships are healed when the oppressor lets go domination to join Jesus on the cross and is thus together with those who Jesus joined by going to the cross.

In light of the cross, the oppressor can no longer justify oppression by blaming the oppressed for the state of oppression, charging them with violations of blasphemy, or political unsuitability, or being God forsaken and thus deserving of human forsaking. In light of the cross, alternate forms of identity formation that always leads to some kind of oppression are put aside in order to identify with the man who challenged all societal forms of justification and identity. One cannot, literally, be with Christ while being an oppressor.

One must be liberated from oppressing in the very nature of participation with the God who is the crucified God. In this we face a crossroads. A person is either with Jesus where he is, or they are with those who accuse Jesus, aligning themselves with those who were arrayed against him: the Jewish leaders, Pilate, the Roman soldiers. If someone oppresses they are not worshiping the God who is Jesus. The oppressors are the true blasphemers, the true rebels, the truly godforsaken. That is the crux of the cross.

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