Athanasius on the Fitness of the Cross

But if any honest Christian wants to know why the Lord suffered death on the cross and not in some other way, we answer thus: in no other way was it expedient for us, indeed the Lord offered for our sakes the one death that was supremely good. He had come to bear the curse that lay on us; and who could He “become a curse” otherwise than by accepting the accursed death. And that death is the cross, for it is written, “cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree.” – Athanasius, Treasury, p. 176

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Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

2 thoughts on “Athanasius on the Fitness of the Cross”

  1. It’s certainly good that Jesus didn’t die at the hands of the death penalty happy 20th century American empire. Christians in the future might have a tough time explaining that funny looking chair dangling from chains around their necks.

    Had the dark-skinned Jesus died at the hands of a 19th century Klan lynch mob or been killed by the government of the day, Christians of the future might be running about with nooses around their necks.

    Meanwhile, back at the cross, there is always that fine old acrostic for GRACE – God’s Redemption At Christ’s Expense. In any case, it sure wasn’t much of a way to spend Easter.

    Oh, and by the way, the Romans sure knew how to be tough on crime. They also knew how to conquer other peoples and put down dissent. Yet, in the end — even with Christianity — the Romans couldn’t save their empire!

    1. Glad John the Baptist took, and accepted second fiddle to Jesus. Otherwise, we’d have people with little heads dangling around their neck. Wait a minute, maybe Tea Partiers would qualify.

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