By REV. LUNA L. DINGAYAN
We believe in Jesus Christ, the God incarnate in human existence, who has identified Himself with the brokenness of humanity, who has been crucified due to human sinfulness, who has been crucified due to human sinfulness, who has been resurrected by the power of God and who will come again in glory. He is the ground of our hope and our true humanity, the promise of deliverance from sin and death, the power; the courage, and the strength to love.
Second of three parts (click to read the 1st part)
In the process of God’s redemption there is the crucifixion. The cross symbolizes the kind of humanity that God identified with. A humanity characterized by anxiety, hopelessness, meaninglessness, concupiscence, slothfulness, greed, and selfishness. It is a broken humanity. It is this kind of sinfulness that brought Jesus Christ our Lord to the cross. So that in the crucifixion the depth of God’s anger against the sinfulness of humanity was revealed.
Perhaps, there is nothing sadder to think than a sinless man dying for sinful men and women. There may be people who would like to die for the sake of the noble and the righteous. There may be people who would like to die for the sake of their friends and loved ones. But this is not the case with Jesus. Even in the midst of his suffering, still he said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
The cross marks indeed the sinfulness of humanity. But it also finally indicates the depth of God’s redemptive love for human beings. This is the gift of God’s unfailing love that rescued human beings from their predicament, from the negativities of their existence. It is a divine act of self-giving. It is from God to human beings with love. Another paradox is unveiled, as Apostle Paul says, “It is not I but Christ who lives in me.”
This is the God that we have known in Jesus Christ – God who asks, yet He also provides what He is asking. He is not like a watch-maker who will leave the watch to work on its own. He is more of an artist who keeps on working until his work is perfected. God never leaves human beings alone in their predicament. God is immanent, and yet He is also transcendent. Therefore, in the crucifixion the anger and the wrath of God were combined with His compassionate justice and love. The judgment as well as the grace of God was there. There was a reproach, yet there was also exaltation.
God established the critical line between divinity and humanity in the crucifixion. The willingness of God to identify Himself with the sinful humanity had been revealed. He brought to us the ground of our true humanity. He let our broken human existence be transformed into a new one. The distinction between our fallen humanity and our authentic humanity had been revealed in the crucifixion. As Apostle Paul said, “One man’s trespasses led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness led to acquittal for all men” (Romans 5:18).
Now, we can find our authentic humanity in the crucifixion event. Therefore, the test of our true and authentic humanity is our participation in the crucifixion event. For it is only in this participation that our true humanity is restored.
We believe in Jesus Christ, who has been resurrected by the power of God
Jesus Christ was raised from the dead (Mk. 16:6). This was the thing that lighted a candle of hope to the frustrated disciples of Jesus Christ who returned already to their former vocations. It was this third step in God’s redemptive process that led to the writing of the New Testament and the spread of the Good News throughout the lands. But this event has always been a puzzle to people.
The quest for the historical Jesus has been girded towards the way of proving with historical facts whether or not the resurrection really happened. With all the researchers’ critical analysis they were not able to prove the resurrection, because the point of the resurrection is not to know how, when, and where it happened, but rather to understand the significance of this event, to know the meaning that it bears.
The resurrection can not be meaningfully understood apart from the crucifixion and vice versa. For the simple reason that there is no resurrection without crucifixion; and that crucifixion is rather meaningless without the resurrection. The mere physical reality coming back to life does not constitute the Christ. One has to look back to what happened before the resurrection event. It is only when we participate in the events of Jesus’ life and death that we experience being resurrected in Christ. We should accept the fact that it is only by involving ourselves in the life and crucifixion of Christ that we would attain the resurrection in Christ.
The ultimate threat to humanity is death. This is not only physical death, but rather the ultimate extinction of our being human. Wielders of political and economic power try to threaten advocates of truth and justice with death. But the resurrection event has conquered the power of death to instill fear and powerlessness among people. Therefore, anyone who goes through the event of Jesus’ life and crucifixion can conquer the power of death. For in being crucified in Christ, we can also be resurrected in Christ. # nordis.net
Continued next week