Friday, February 5, 2016

The Logic of Christianity 9: The Justice Link: Crucifixion

DID JESUS RECEIVE JUSTICE? One of the three major genres of rhetoric, according to Aristotle, is JUDICIAL RHETORIC. Here, Aristotle asserts that LOGOS (or logic) is the major proof used to persuade a judge or jury that JUSTICE has been or will be enacted.
If the Transfiguration is the Missing Link in the Logic of Christianity, the Crucifixion and Resurrection combine to form the Key Links. The Transfiguration account is referred to in more parts of the New Testament than Jesus’ birth, pre-existence, baptism, genealogy, Ascension, miracles, parables, healings, Great Commission, Last Supper, childhood, or even his mother Mary. His Lordship, Messiahship, and Twelve Apostles (although, often, only two of them by name) are mentioned in more parts of the New Testament than the Transfiguration, but these are not events (as is the Transfiguration). Only two historic events receive mention in more parts of the New Testament than his Transfiguration: his Crucifixion and his Resurrection. In my next post, I will consider the key logical link of the Resurrection. This post, however, will focus on the key logical link related to the ISSUE OF JUSTICE: the CRUCIFIXION. This, then, is Judicial Rhetoric.
The term “crucify,” along with its cognates, is mentioned in all 4 gospels, Acts, Hebrews, Revelation and four of Paul’s letters (I and II Corinthians, Romans , and Colossians). An additional five letters of Paul (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, II Timothy, and I Thessalonians), plus I Peter, use a cognate of the term “die” to refer to Jesus’ death. Another Pauline letter, I Timothy, speaks of Jesus before “Pontius Pilate.” The book of James mentions the “killing” of Jesus. I John speaks of our redemption through the “blood” of Christ. Other (short) New Testament books just appear to take it for granted that Jesus died by crucifixion. No New Testament book appears, in any way, to dispute his Crucifixion. Even though we have not yet thoroughly established the logical link that the New Testament is fully inspired and trustworthy in every respect (which we will get to, in time), this textual evidence shows virtually unanimous support from the writers of the New Testament for the proposition that Jesus was indeed crucified. He died one of the cruelest deaths of any human. Jesus was mortal.
You may ask, “Why does this matter?” Well, to begin with, there were early heretics, according to Charles S. Clifton, “particularly Gentile converts [who] refused to believe that Jesus had a mortal body, a position that has come to be known as Docetism . . . . The Pagan gods . . . had occasionally appeared in mortal form and vanished when their purposes were accomplished; with them there was no death and resurrection . . . . To these Christians [heretics], who included many of the so-called Gnostics, the crucifixion was only a show, a hallucination projected to observers. It was unthinkable that a divine being could physically suffer and die” (Clifton, Encyclopedia of Heresies and Heretics, xii). Clifton continues later: “The reverse of Docetism might be said to be those explanations of the crucifixion that claim that Jesus himself was not crucified but died a normal death at some other time and place. Parts of the New Testament appear to have been written to counter Docetic teachings . . . . [I John] 4:2-3 . . . says, ‘This is how we may recognize the Spirit of God: every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit which does not thus acknowledge Jesus is not from God.’ Likewise, . . . [II John] says, ‘Many deceivers have gone out into the world, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. . . . If anyone comes to you who does not bring this doctrine, do not welcome him into your house or give him a greeting; for anyone who gives him a greeting is an accomplice in his wicked deeds.’”
Following the Logic of the Transfiguration as I presented it in my previous post: Jesus, while personally earning eternal life by living a perfect life, refused to accept the immortal “form” (i.e., like “God’s” immortal “form” [Philippians 2:6-8]) and returned to the “form” of a human/servant who was capable of death (being mortal). He was obedient to death—even the death of the cross. The Transfiguration was the ULTIMATE PROOF that Jesus was RIGHTEOUS. Jesus did not sin at any point in his life.
There are other INNOCENT humans who die, however. Couldn’t the death of one of these other “innocents” have sufficed as a sacrifice? Babies, according to Jewish (Rabbinic) and Christian (New Testament) teachings are “innocent.” That is to say that THEY HAVE NO SIN CHARGED AGAINST THEM. Setting aside, for the moment, the Catholic doctrine of “original sin,” which prompts the Catholic Church to baptize babies to secure forgiveness for their sins, the dominant Judeo-Christian view at the time of the New Testament was that babies were innocent. According to Rabbinic Judaism, it was necessary for an individual to have both the good and evil “inclinations” in order to be held accountable for sin (and for that matter, to be deemed righteous for passing the test/temptation). The rich young ruler, with whom Jesus interacts regarding eternal life in Luke 18:18-21, insists that he has kept the “commandments” from his “youth” up. It is possible (perhaps, probable) that he means from the time of his bar mitzvah forward. Hebrews 4:15 asserts that Jesus himself was tempted in every respect, as we are, but was without sin. We know nothing, however, about the childhood of Jesus. After the birth narratives, there is no discussion of Jesus’ actions until we near his bar mitzvah. Luke picks up the narrative again, in 2:41, when Jesus was age twelve. Why was Jesus taken to Jerusalem when he was twelve? Why didn’t Mary and Joseph wait until he was thirteen, the appropriate age for a bar mitzvah? The Mishnah supplies the answer in Yoma 8:4: “Young children [anyone just born through 13 years for boys and 12 years for girls] are not made to fast on Yom Kippur, but we should train them a year or two before [they reach age 13, for boys, 12 for girls], so that they become used to (the observance of) commandments.” I encouraged my four children to be baptized immediately following the 12th birthday of my daughters and the 13th birthday of my sons. As I understand Jewish and New Testament teachings, they were innocent before those ages.
A second category of “innocent humans” who die follow the Isaac pattern. Isaac had just reached the appropriate age for a bar mitzvah. Theoretically, he was still sinless, but was responsible for any sin after that time. The same theology allows Jewish writers to tell a story of a “lass” [a young girl age 12] being righteous in one temptation following her “youth” and being awarded eternal life. Since the “lass” possessed only the “evil inclination” prior to her twelfth birthday, any selfish behavior committed prior to this time must NOT have been considered “sinful.” This is precisely the view (the sinlessness of children) that prevailed at this time of the New Testament. Even the second book of Maccabees 8:4 speaks of the “sinless infants.” And the Mishnah (Yoma 8:4) agrees, concerning the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). It is a simple deduction that, if little children are not required to participate in the yearly atonement exercise, they must not be held guilty of any “sins” for which they would need atonement. Jesus corroborates this view of sinless children when he commands his disciples to “suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-14; Luke 18:15-16;). In Mark 10:15, Jesus elaborates: “Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein.” While many interpretations of this comment have been offered, it is possible that he is saying that one must be innocent, as a little child is, to enter the kingdom of God. Matthew’s version of this comment (Matt. 18:1-6) puts it this way: “In that hour came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And he called to him a little child, and set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such child in my name receiveth me: But whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea.” In Matthew 21:15-16, Jesus comments on the fact that children were shouting, “Hosanna to the son of David,” as Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Jesus cites saying: “Did you never read ‘Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings you have perfected praise’?” Alluding to Psalm 8:2 (“Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings has thou established strength”), Jesus appears to be confirming a point I made in my previous post on the Transfiguration: “The only ways that God still spoke freshly to humans, for Rabbinic Judaism, were through children, fools, and the Bat Qol (or mysterious voice from Heaven).” It seems that both children and fools were considered innocent, because they lack the good inclination. Therefore, the Holy Spirit (which inspires prophecy) is able to dwell inside these humans—they are innocent—in the same logical move that prompted Acts 2:17-18 to report that (after Jesus’ death and resurrection) “the Spirit” could be “poured out” on all flesh. Once Jesus’ death provided the forgiveness, the “innocent” believers could receive the Holy Spirit. Apparently, the death of neither children nor those who remain innocent for a short while following their bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah will suffice as an appropriate sacrifice for the sins of the world. Otherwise, Isaac would have been an appropriate sacrifice.
So, we come to Jesus of Nazareth. Of what sin was Jesus guilty? A few charges were floated: 1. “Sedition” against the Roman Empire (the official charge pertaining to his crucifixion), 2. Violating the Sabbath (by healing and harvesting grain; hence, working on the Sabbath), 3. Blasphemy, and 4. Not showing proper respect to the High Priest
SEDITION: While no term for “sedition” (STASIS, DICHOSTASIA, OR STASIAZO) is ever used to charge Jesus for a crime in the New Testament, one or another of these terms is applied variously to Barabbas, Paul, the Pharisees and Sadducees, and others. Paul is accused by his Jewish opponents of fomenting sedition against Rome, but he is never actually accused of taking up arms against Rome, as is Barabbas. Yet, the sign that hung above Jesus on the cross stated “King of the Jews” in three different languages. Clearly, the justification that Rome used for killing Jesus was that he was leading a revolt against Rome. Yet, Jesus rebuked Peter for drawing his sword and severing the ear of a guard who came to arrest Jesus. Jesus healed the wound. Indeed, to the frustration of modern-day Christians who surely see in the Old Testament their right to use weapons, and even kill, in self-defense (Exodus 22:2) and who see Moses killing an Egyptian to defend an Israelite, the behavior and teachings of the Prince of Peace were totally non-violent. Never mind that even Abraham led his household and others in war against the invaders from Mesopotamia who attacked his nephew, Lot, and rescued him from their grasp. For this act of war, Melchizedek “blessed” Abraham and Abraham paid Melchizedek a tithe from the booty. Yet, Jesus was not even a self-defense war monger (although he did permit his disciples to be armed with swords, apparently). Jesus told his followers to “love their enemies,” to “turn the other cheek.” No reputable evidence exists that Jesus was fomenting sedition against Rome. To the contrary, when Jesus was confronted by his enemies with the “gotcha” question, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?”—an attempt to prove that Jesus was seditious because he would oppose paying the required tax to Rome—he asks for a coin, observes that the “image” on the coin is of Caesar, and probably alluding to the fact that man is made in the “image” of God—he ingeniously replies: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21; Mark 12:17). Translation: Give your money (with Caesar’s image) to Caesar, but your life and body (with God’s image) to God. There is no sign of Jesus mounting a revolt against Rome. Even though he readily confessed to Pilate that he was a “king,” he quickly stipulates that his kingdom is not of this world. Jesus was not seditious. But, even if he were mounting a revolt against Rome, that would not have been a SIN! Jesus is not guilty of a sin, here.
BLASPHEMY: Even James Still, who writes a blog hostile to Christianity in which he argues that Jesus was politically seditious against Rome admits: “It was not blasphemous to declare oneself a ‘Messiah’ or a ‘Son of God’ any more than it would have been to claim to be an angel. The Pharisees who composed the majority of the Sanhredrin would dismiss such a charge at once since blasphemy could only be applied to anyone who claimed to be God Almighty. Jesus' declaration that he was a Messiah, merely referred to his earthly desire to ascend to the throne of David--an act of sedition against Rome surely, but not one of blasphemy.” http://infidels.org/library/modern/james_still/jesus_trial.html
Jesus certainly does claim to be the SON OF GOD. This position is argued in various ways in the New Testament. Matthew chapter 1 and Luke chapter 1 both present birth narratives in which Jesus is the Son of the Most High/God via Mary’s virgin birth, after she was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. While Mark begins his gospel at Jesus’ baptism and does not include a birth narrative, Mark 1:1 speaks of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God. The Gospel of John actually traces Jesus’ existence to the LOGOS that became flesh and dwelt among us. That LOGOS, according to John 1:1 was WITH GOD in the beginning and WAS GOD. Matthew 2:15 cites Hosea 11:1: “Out of Egypt I have called my son.” Even though Hosea’s prophecy originally applied to Israel, Matthew extends it to apply to Jesus after his infancy flight to Egypt to escape Herod. At Jesus’ baptism, Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11, and Luke 3:22 report God stating (in the Bat Qol): “This is My beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” John 1:34 has John the Baptist testify: “I have seen and bore witness that this is the Son of God. Immediately following his baptism, Matthew 4:3-6 and Luke 4:3-9 present Jesus’ 40 days of fasting and temptation in the wilderness with Satan saying, “If you are the Son of God . . . .” Matthew 8:29, Mark 5:7, and Luke 8:28 have the Gadarene/Gerasene demoniac/s (and Mark 3:11 and Luke 4:41 have other demon possessed) proclaim that Jesus is “Son of God.” John 1:49 quotes Nathanael as saying “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God.” Matthew 14:33 records Jesus’ disciples concluding, after the calming of the sea, “Truly, you are the Son of God.” Matthew 16:16 supplies Simon Peter’s Great Confession: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” In one of the most famous New Testament verses of all, John 3:16 states: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son . . . .” and John 3:18 stipulates that to be saved one must believe “on the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 5:25, 9:35, 10:36, and 11:4 have Jesus stating that he is the Son of God. In John 11:27, Martha, the sister of Lazarus whom Jesus had raised from the dead, confesses “Yes Lord, I have believed that you are the Christ, the Son of God. Matthew 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35, and II Peter 1:17 report God, at the Transfiguration, stating (in the Bat Qol): “This is My beloved/chosen son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” When High Priest Caiaphas questioned Jesus in an attempt to condemn him, Matthew 26:63-64 and Luke 22:70 provide the exchange: “’Tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God.’ Jesus replied: ‘Thou sayest.’” John 19:7 has the Jewish chief priests demanding that Pilate crucify him because “he made himself the Son of God.” While Jesus hung on the cross, mockers, according to Matthew 27:40-43, derided Jesus, saying, “He said, “I am the Son of God.” Mark 15:39 tells us that the centurion who witnessed Jesus’ death on the cross exclaimed, “Truly, this man was the Son of God.” In John 20:31, the gospel writer states that he has written his words “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.” In Acts 8:37, the Ethiopian Eunuch offers up the good confession—“I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”—prior to Philip baptizing him. In Acts 9:20, the Apostle Paul, after his Road to Damascus experience, begins proclaiming that Jesus is the Son of God. An example of Paul’s preaching this creed is found in Acts 13:33, citing the second Psalm: “Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten thee.” If Luke’s account of Paul’s belief is insufficient, Paul’s own writings (Romans 1:3-9, 5:10, and 8:3 and 29-32, I Corinthians 1:9, II Corinthians 1:19, Galatians 1:16, 2:20, and 4:4-6, Ephesians 4:13, and I Thessalonians 1:10) corroborate the fact. Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5 cite the same Psalm 2 that Acts 13:33 had quoted Paul preaching: “Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten thee.” Hebrews 4:14, 6:6, 7:3, and 10:29 reiterate the claim, as do I John 1:3-7, 3:8 and 23, 4:9-15, 5:1-20, II John 3, and Revelation 2:18.
This is the claim made not only by Jesus, but also by many others: that JESUS IS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD. The question is: Is making such a claim “Blasphemy”? Not even James Still, who writes a blog hostile to Christianity, believes that. Even if Jesus were the biological son of Mary and Joseph, Jesus points out from Scripture that there would be nothing wrong with a human claiming to be the Son of God. Jesus is quoted in John 10:33-36 as clearly implying that the term “sons of the Most High” (from Psalm 82:6—a passage I discussed in an earlier blog post, Angels & Demons 13: Who Are the “Sons of God” in Genesis?) refers to “human judges.” Human judges are even called “gods/ELOHIM” in both Psalm 82:6 and Exodus 22:28. Jesus was making the point that it was not blasphemous for him to be called either “god” or “son of God,” if even human judges could be called “gods” and “sons of the Most High.” In that same earlier blog post, I was pointing out that the “Sons of God” in Genesis 6, often mistaken as a reference to angels, is actually a reference to humans. With these multiple biblical references to humans as “sons of God,” there is nothing blasphemous in Jesus calling himself “Son of God,” even if Jesus were the biological son of Mary and Joseph. Jesus is not guilty of blasphemy.
Is making such a claim a “sin”? Only if it is a lie. Among the Ten Commandments is the prohibition against “bearing false witness.” Essentially, if Jesus, his disciples, the Bat Qol, John the Baptist, the evangelists, Paul, and the authors of Hebrews, I and II John, II Peter, and Revelation were all bearing false witness, they would ALL have been sinning. The logic of Christianity says that is not the case. These multiple witnesses (which include God, Himself, in the Bat Qol) assert that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
VIOLATING THE SABBATH: Another commandment from the Decalogue is the Fourth Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11): “8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
What, then, constitutes “working” on the Sabbath? During the Exodus, the Israelites were commanded to harvest an extra portion of MANNA on Friday, so that they would not be harvesting on the Sabbath. Nehemiah 13:15 states: “In those days saw I in Judah [some] treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all [manner of] burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified [against them] in the day wherein they sold victuals.” It seems, by these examples, that “harvesting” and “selling” are considered work that violates the Sabbath. Actually, Jesus’ disciples are accused of “harvesting” on the Sabbath, but not Jesus. Mark 2:23 reports: “23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. 24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? 25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungered, he, and they that were with him? 26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? 27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.” Matthew’s version of this account is found in Matthew 12:1-8. Luke’s version of this account is found in Luke 6:1-5. Jesus does not PERSONALLY harvest on the Sabbath, but neither does he condemn his disciples for doing so. His argumentation is presented in the Mark account. Nowhere do we find an Old Testament situation in which “healing” or “saving” an individual is forbidden on the Sabbath. Yet, the gospels present narratives in which Jesus heals on the Sabbath (and even tells one of his healed persons to “take up his bed and walk” on the Sabbath). Jesus argues: “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9). Luke 14:5 presents Jesus as arguing: “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?” Matthew 12:11 substitutes a “sheep” for the animals who fell into a pit. Luke 13:15 presents Jesus as continuing the analogy: “Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?”
DISRESPECT FOR THE HIGH PRIEST: Did Jesus sin by disrespecting the High Priest? You be the judge. John 18:19-23 gives the account: “The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 Jesus answered him, ‘I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.’ 22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, ‘Is that how you answer the high priest?’ 23 Jesus answered him, ‘If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?’” Beyond the fact that this exchange did not suggest any disrespect, Caiaphas was not even a legitimate High Priest. I point out on page 27 of my book Revelation: The Human Drama: “It was common knowledge among Jewish leaders that the High Priestly family was indebted to Herod's family for its prestige and power. Antipas' father, Herod the Great, had deposed the then-current (Hasmonean) High Priestly family in the years preceding Jesus' birth. In its place Herod (the Great) had installed a High Priest from among the Jews of the Babylonian Diaspora (those Jews who had been ‘carried away’ into Babylon in the sixth century B.C. and who had not yet returned to Palestine). It is possible that the term ‘Babylon’ in Revelation and I Peter is a code word for this High Priestly family and/or Jerusalem, the city controlled by the (Babylonian?) High Priestly family.”
THERE IS NO PROOF THAT JESUS COMMITTED ANY SINS. To the contrary, there is the evidence of the Transfiguration that Jesus lived a perfect life. So, did Jesus receive JUSTICE? The best definition of “justice” that mankind, throughout history, has ever been able to formulate is called the LEX TALIONIS (An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life). It means that an individual who has injured another may be punished only to the degree s/he has injured. It is found in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 24:19-21, and other places). But it is also found in the ancient Code of Hammurabi, a Babylonian law code carved in stone from about 1750 B.C. It served not as a “requirement” that someone be avenged to the same degree as the injury; rather, it was the maximum “limit” of revenge (or reTALIation—a word stemming from the same root as TALIonis) that could be exacted. This would be the full extent of JUSTICE. Therefore, if Jesus committed no sins, no injuries to anyone, JUSTICE could not allow him to even be KILLED, much less be CRUCIFIED! Indeed, true JUSTICE for a person who committed no sins would be something like the TRANSFIGURATION, which Jesus was offered but did not seize hold of. One might guess that Elijah, Enoch, and (perhaps) Moses were offered this sort of JUSTICE. Of those three, Enoch was the only one to live prior to the Law of Moses, so it is easy to argue that (since he was living under fewer laws) he had an easier pathway to translation than did Moses or Elijah. Elijah, while living under the Law, reached the point in his life at which God took him to heaven in a Fiery Chariot. Hence, Elijah received justice. One would think that, since Moses was the actual Law Giver, he would be well aware of the full ramifications and details of every single law he gave. Therefore, he might be capable of living a perfect life according to the Law. If the fact that he appears with Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration suggests that he did live the Law, Moses received justice. But, alongside these three righteous individuals, Jesus as a righteous individual, suffered one of the most degrading and excruciating punishments known to man.
It may surprise you, but my ANSWER to the question “DID JESUS RECEIVE JUSTICE” is YES! Based upon the principle of the LEX TALIONIS, Jesus received “justice,” but not justice for any sin he personally committed. Crucifixion is a horrible punishment, reserved for only the WORST CRIMINALS in the Roman Empire.
I return to the very first blog in this series: The Logic of Christianity 1: The Shroud, the Pope, and the Faith Continuum. I recall the point at which my wife and I were shown the evidence contained in the Shroud: “Using a variety of scientific methods, we were able to observe visible signs of a face with thorn wounds around the head, of hands and feet that had been pierced by nails, of a back that had been scourged by whips, of a stab wound in the side--a victim of crucifixion identical to the biblical description of Jesus’ crucifixion.” Part of the awe-inspiring experience of viewing the Shroud of Turin was just gaining a glimpse into the physical signs of what a crucifixion victim experienced.
Before Jesus was nailed to the cross, to experience the excruciating pain of having large iron nails hammered through the flesh in each of his wrists and through both of his feet securely into the wood of the cross . . . . Before he—nailed to the cross—was, hanging by only these nail points, lifted skyward, and dropped joltingly upon his cross into the hole in the ground at the base of the cross . . . . Before he was degraded, humiliated, and exposed naked on the cross (a factor that we don’t even share among Christians, due to the embarrassment caused by even thinking of the picture) . . . . Before he thus hung, suspended above the Earth, for hours, while his body experienced dehydration, pain, and the slow process of dying . . . . Before he was forced to carry the agency of his crucifixion—a wooden cross large and heavy enough to hold the full weight of a man—through the streets of Jerusalem and uphill, all the way to Golgotha . . . . Before he was mocked, dressed in purple, slapped repeatedly, and given a crown, comprised of nail-like thorns, which was jammed painfully into the flesh of his head . . . .
Before he was scourged to the limit with flesh-tearing whips and scourges until the open wounds on his back bled profusely . . . . He had to witness one of his closest friends and disciples curse and deny any connection with him. Now, that is probably JUSTICE . . . . Justice for a bin Laden who masterminded the mass murder of thousands on 9-11. Justice for a Hitler who ordered the genocide of six million Jews. Justice for a Jeffrey Dahmer, whose atrocities I recounted in The Logic of Christianity 5: The God of Logic vs. Jeffrey Dahmer. None of those three were forced to go through a punishing death anywhere near as severe as Jesus’ crucifixion. They received nothing remotely near what would be allowed under the LEX TALIONIS.
So, think retrospectively. What sins have you committed? Have you even unintentionally committed murder? Have you committed manslaughter by driving under the influence of alcohol? Have you performed, recommended, or decided to have an abortion? Have you had to make a decision to remove life support for a family member, and experienced conscientious stress over the decision? Have you had to issue a command to send men or women into combat in which they lost their lives, and experienced conscientious stress over the decision? Have you cheated on your husband or wife? Have you practiced homosexuality? Have you embezzled money or committed fraud? Have you dishonored your father or mother? Have you taken the Lord’s Name in vain? Have you coveted another person’s wife or husband, house, money, etc.? Thinking of the LEX TALIONIS, what do you think the fair maximum penalty could possibly be? Could it be any worse than CRUCIFIXION? What kind of sin or crime could one possibly commit that would suggest a fair maximum penalty greater than Crucifixion? I cannot think of one. If that is so, Jesus’ Crucifixion was JUSTICE for any sin known to mankind. Jesus did receive justice. He received justice, not for his own actions, but for the actions of any human that has ever lived. He paid the price.
The CRUCIFIXION, then, is Judicial Rhetoric/The Justice Link in the Logic of Christianity.

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