Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
April 24th, 2014 by Joel Watts

Caesar, Christ, Crucifixion

Bust of Julius Caesar from the British Museum

Bust of Julius Caesar from the British Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m finalizing my AAR regional paper and it is going as well as any paper has previously. I found it. Maybe you don’t know what I mean. There is this moment in writing some projects where everything just seems to click. I found that moment the other day.

In 2 Co 13.4, Christ is said to have died in weakness upon the Cross. Some commentators suggest this means in human flesh. I disagree. Rather, like C.K. Barrett, I see it as a choice to surrender:

It was of his grace, of his primary characteristic, that he became poor (8:9), and the weakness shown in his crucifixion, being a mark of his grace, is not an unfortunate lapse from strength but one aspect of the action God intended in his Son. Historically, he preferred crucifixion to the exercise of some kinds of power1

I note Caesar‘s remark about the crucifixion his men would suffer if he lost the battle.

“Today we’ll earn the wages or the penalty of this war. Imagine the chains, the crucifixions of Caesar’s men, my head stuck on the Rostrum, my body cast aside,2

Ultimately, I believe it is better to picture the crucifixion as “suicide by cop” if that cop was, say, God abandoning Israel to Rome, and further if that “cop” was the need to do something to get God to act.

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  1. C. K. Barrett, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Black’s New Testament Commentary; London: Continuum, 1973), 336.
  2.  Lucan, Civil War 7.359-58
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. 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).

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