Fulfilled in Jesus

Our pilgrimage with our Beloved in Japan -- Yoko & Ramone on the journey with Jesus!

Saturday, December 31, 2011

"What Good Is It?"


"What Good Is It?"

In nations there are various hopes we have--freedom, peace, prosperity, blessedness and more. We strive to fight to establish 'our rights' (and then if we succeed in getting them, we live in perpetual fear that they'll be taken away).

This year when the new NIV came out, I read the translators notes and found that scholars now agree that "thieves" was a mistranslation; the two who were crucified with Christ were *rebels*, like Barabbas, who had also "taken part in a rebellion." And it makes sense: after all, common sins like thievery would not be punished with crucifixion, but putting down political rebellions and then crucifying rebels would send a message of fear to other would-be rebels. This is why the Jewish leaders repeatedly emphasized that Jesus claimed He was the Messiah, the King; they wanted to stress that He was committing treason against Rome. They wanted to present Him as the leader of a rebellion, as a threat to Rome.

Understanding this makes a lot of things fall into place, doesn't it? After all, Christ didn't merely take our place as those who committed common sins--He took the consequence of our *rebellion* against God!

Suddenly, the crucifixion becomes the meeting place of ideologies, of aims, goals, efforts and striving. Barabbas and the two rebels sought to gain back their ancient land, freedom and sovereignty. The Roman centurion followed orders and lived to protect Rome, its assets, its people and its way of life. Into this mix comes Jesus, giving grace to the sinners and unreligious, and preaching *love* of all things, even for enemies! He says He is King, but here He is hanging on the cross, defeated.

"Love didn't work, did it!" The two rebels mock Him. The Romans divide up His clothes. Still He loved His enemies and forgave them. But wait... one of the rebels starts to notice. "Wait a minute, we earned this and are paying the price of this, but *He* didn't deserve this!" And a Roman centurion looks up in wonder as well, seeing something divine, above and beyond the way of the world that depends on physical might and power.

The unrepentant rebel continues on, "What good was it, Jesus?" Because he is still bent on rebellion--still bent on getting his rights, his homeland, his freedom. He is still fighting for the spoils of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But the other two have begun to notice an eternal kind of 'life' in this death in front of them. They begin to see the tree of life.

*****

See also:
"Trustworthy Power"
"The Release of Barabbas"