Crucified Jesus as true weakness, not "power in check"?

“The power of God is not pagan violence, brute power, or vulgar magic; it is the power of powerlessness, the power of the call, the power of protest that rises up from innocent suffering and calls out against it, the power that says NO to unjust suffering, and finally, the power to suffer-with (sym-pathos) innocent suffering, which is perhaps the central Christian symbol.” Caputo – The Weakness of God

Caputo brings up an interesting topic, one that I’ve not given much thought (though I remember it being thought of briefly in college, under the topic of “trying to get a good grade in theology, and not doing well”). The question is this:

When we look at Jesus hanging on the cross, do we see a God-man holding back his infinite power and ability to call “ten thousand angels” to save him from the situation?

Was Jesus really nailed/bound/held to the cross by nails? Or was it his devotion and love for humanity in that moment that made Him refrain from unleashing some sort of powerful Kingdom to kick Roman butt?

Or perhaps something else?

“..Jesus was being crucified, not holding back; he was nailed there and being executed very much against his will and the will of God. And he never heard of Christianity’s novel idea that he was redeeming the world with his blood. His approach to evil was forgiveness, not paying off a debt due the Father, or the devil, with suffering or with anything else. His suffering was not a coin of the realm in the economy of the kingdom. The kingdom is not an economy, and God is not in attendance at this scene as an accountant of divine debts or as a higher power watching the whole thing from up there and freely holding in check his infinite power to intervene….if not power now, then power later, when we can really get even with those hateful Romans.” – Caputo

Challenging stuff.

But I like a bit of this. We don’t hear it very often. I can see why this would go well balanced with NT Wright’s writings. That all of the talk about “new creation”, and “new life” is not about being “empowered” to live somehow “above” the older ways/things. Not about getting some new super-human strength to back us up as we live now and forever.

But perhaps it’s more about aligning ourselves with the letting go of power. The proclaiming of “no” against persecution, violence, and victimization…along side of God. A new life made possible by a God who transcends being itself…and a Spirit who calls strongly to all of “being” more than he transforms us from man to He-man.

So much more to read. 🙂

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