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The Crucified God

What does it mean that God has been crucified? What variant strain of sin and evil exist in the world and within the human heart that when people, like us, gazed at the One who is perfect love, the source of peace, the author of life -- that people, like us, schemed a way to snuff that One out? And what exactly did they, and we, hope to accomplish by executing the Messiah? Did we hope to silence him forever? Perhaps the hope for those who vehemently cried out, “Crucify Him,” on that fateful Friday was that this Jesus would no longer be able to point out their hypocrisy and call them “white-washed tombs” again.

Therefore the religious establishment colluded with the political powers of the day in order to maintain the status quo all while getting the least amount of blood on their hands as possible. As a student of history, I realize that this, unfortunately, is not all that uncommon.

Jesus’ very presence was illuminating. His presence revealed what was broken and the lengths that people, like us, would go to in order to ensure that things would remain the same. As John puts it, “The light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions are evil (John 3:19).”

And so, as a way of turning off the “light of the world,” people whose hearts were evil, crucified Christ.

And then on that Saturday, in the liminal space between the death and resurrection of a Savior, there was eerily still and jarring silence. The disciples sit with worn-out hopes that day. They sit with the realization that evil has been victorious again, that wrong has the upper hand again, and that right has been subjected to the powerful will of wrong -- again.

At this point, the disciples must have begun the painful process of grieving. Hidden tears and strong language were likely in plentiful supply. Perhaps the women and the youngest disciple kept reminding the others what Jesus’ final words were and the way he said them when he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Who says something like that while life, breath, and blood are being squeezed out of them?

It is with weary souls and tear-soaked faces that the disciples wake up to the news of Easter morning. A new dawn breaks in and with it the realization that sin, evil, and death no longer have the last word. The hues of the sunrise grow brighter and those, like us, who days before were complicit in crucifixion now have something greater for which to live. Not only did Jesus say, “I am the light of the world,'' but he also told us, his followers, “You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).” May we learn to shine more brightly together.

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