Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Some Pre-Easter Week "Passion" Reflections
It cannot be ignored that many men have suffered grievously, most grievously, in the course of world history. It might even be suggested that many men have perhaps suffered more grievously and longer and more bitterly than did this man in the limited events of a single day. Many who have suffered at the hand of men have been treated no less and parhaps more unjustly than this man. Many have been willing as He was to suffer in this way. Many in so doing have done somethig which, according to their intention and it may be in fact, was significant for others, perhaps many others, making a redemptive change in their life. . . . The suffering of man may be deserved or undeserved, voluntary of involuntary, heroic or not heroic, important for others or not important for others . . . . But [suffering] has in it as such something which in its own way is infinitely outstanding and moving . . . .This is true of the passion of Jesus of Nazareth, but in so far as [Jesus'] passion is a human passion, it is not . . . basically different from that of any other human passion. If we single out this human passion above others, we may be able to see and to say something which is noteworthy as such, but we shall not be helped forward a single step towards an understanding of what this occurence is all about.

The mystery of this passion, of the torture, crucifixion and death of this one Jew which took place at that place and time at the hands of the Romans, is to be found in the person and mission of the One who suffered there and was cricified and died. His person: it is the eternal God Himself who has given Himself in His Son to be man, and as man to take upon Himself this human passion. His mission: it is the Judge who in this passion takes the place of those who ought to be judged, who in this passion allows Himself to be judged in their place. It is not, therefore, merely that God rules in and over this human occurrence simply as Creator and Lord. He does this, but He does more. He gives Himself to be the humanly acting and suffering person in this occurrence.
Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, vol IV, I, pp. 246 - 248.

No comments: