Practice Makes Presence
July 21, 2018
I have been thoroughly challenged by the Crucified God. In the partial section of the Historical Trial of Jesus, Moltmann has described the relationship between Jesus the preacher and the Christ who is preached. To separate history and theology in this manner leaves many stating that Jesus, because of his death, was a failed preacher and that his message, self-referential as it was, died with him. Moltmann is showing that Jesus' preaching and the apostles preaching of him (which appear to have differences) are related in that they both are eschatological - they are focused on a future that is coming and is perpetually still to come. Jesus was the beginning and the apostles are the ones tasked with "what has begun". The cross has functioned as hard line marking history and kerygma (the confession and preaching of the early church), but Moltmann is tying the death, which purposely referred to as “crucified”, as a consequence of his ministry both to the secular authorities and the religious leaders. Embedded in his death are political reasons from authorities, religious reasons from his homeland, and Jesus' on theological reasons.
What can it all mean? At the cross we meet paradox, the one preaching the beginning of God’s kingdom was crushed by another kingdom, the one opening doors of love was declared a blasphemer, and the one healing was the one who died alone, and abandoned by God. Historically speaking, the question becomes, is the cross a refutation of his person or his preaching, or both? Theologically, how does the cross change the proclamation from the one Jesus made of himself to the one the apostles made of him?
The cross is the pivot point of all paradoxes of life. It is where the dead became the living, the abandoned the vindicated, and the humiliated the exalted.