Eastern Orthodox icons of the resurrection do not show risen Jesus alone. Instead, they show Jesus reaching down to grasp Adam and Eve and pull them also from their tombs. Jesus is yanking them bald headed.
Surrounded by the usual code words for these holidays -- "freedom from slavery" for the first, "resurrection and new life" for the second -- this question may seem at the least silly and at worst an exercise of blasphemous anti-religiosity. Yet, it is actually a serious question
On this Good Friday, as on many before, I consider anew the full range of torture and humiliation to which Jesus of Nazareth was subjected, physical and sexual. The latter is so traumatizing for the Church that we have covered it up -- literally.
So, the question really remains -- who killed Jesus? If we read the Gospels poorly, as with what is labeled "face value" or "plain sense", we will always have to decide between the three usual culprits: God, the Romans, or the Jewish leaders.
Lately I have been thinking about the crucifixion of Jesus and how such a macabre symbol of execution as the cross has become a symbol of hope for believers in Jesus. It is both bizarre and extraordinary.
The "mystery of the cross" is an invitation for believers to reflect on the willingness of their Creator to suffer the worst degradation imaginable by someone like them--and so unlike them so as to redeem them from their sins.
It is Mark's shattered and shattering Gospel that demands close Christian attention, before we move up and away from it to the joyous epiphany of Sunday morning. Good Friday Christianity puts the agony in the ecstasy, insisting that there is no other way.
I peered into the Incarnation's beauty: Jesus is fully God and fully human. He didn't merely act like a human; he wasn't a human-like wraith. He was God living a genuinely human life, which means God himself begged for mercy on a dark night.
In the weeks before Easter, during the traditional season of Lent, Christians fix their hearts on the death of Jesus Christ. They reflect upon what he endured because they believe that it was redemptive.
There's a problem with penal substitution. Biblical sacrifices do not represent human attempts to purchase forgiveness; instead, they offer a ritual means of acknowledging the costliness of sin and alienation from God.