History’s Most Famous Execution

David Matthew a committed Christian since the age of twelve who reached the blessed age of 77 and was a schoolteacher for 14 years, then went into the Christian ministry, to be by now still very much on a journey of faith having become now a lot less dogmatic on doctrinal issues than he used to be, and a lot more Jesus-focused, always tried to keep up with current thinking on evangelical Christianity and wrote about it.

He has been disturbed to keep coming across once-keen Christians, including some church leaders, who, in the face of the challenges of raising questions about traditional views or proposing new ways of looking at certain biblical passages, have lost their faith altogether. He therefore wrote a.o. the book: “ A Poke In The Faith: Challenges to evangelical faith and how to survive them”.

He also looked at “Did God Kill Jesus?: Searching for love in history’s most famous execution by Tony Jones (HarperOne, 2015).” and asks “What happened to the cross“.   He also made a very nice “synopsis of the bookin which we found the following text we do like to share with you:

History’s Most Famous Execution

We should be clear on the basics about Jesus. Born in 6 or 4BCE, he was reared in Nazareth, in the fairly prosperous region of Galilee. He was, like Joseph, a tekton, ‘craftsman’ — not necessarily a carpenter. At the age of 30 he merged from obscurity into his public ministry. The core of his message was:
‘A new age is dawning — the rules by which followers of Yahweh lived their lives, while not irrelevant, are in need of
a serious overhaul; the spirit of those rules has been forgotten amid the attempts to keep those rules; I’ve come to redefine the relationship between God and humanity.’ (p70)
The ultimate rule, he taught, is love —which should extend even to one’s enemies.
The apocalyptic aspects of his teaching (a common and popular genre at the time) were directed chiefly at the political situations of his day. His miracles were not primarily to show his deity but to demonstrate God’s rule and show how it reaches out to the marginalised in society.
Jerusalem, where Jesus headed at the end of his ministry, was the centre of Jewish religious life. The Gospel writers focus on his last week there. Each of the four has its own angle on it. They focus on his trial, sufferings and death.
The Gospels show little interest in who actually killed Jesus (or, indeed, in what his death accomplished), but together they portray him as crucified by the Romans at the instigation of the Jewish leaders.
His resurrection led his followers to see his death cosmically and theologically, as an act of God.
At a human level, the early church put the blame chiefly on the Jews, while later centuries blamed them entirely, on the basis of Matt 27:25 — a verse which has had a terrible anti-Semitic legacy. The Gospels do tie Jesus’ death to the Passover. His passion takes place during the build-up to Passover. His last act is to eat the Passover meal with his followers. Like the original Passover lamb, the blood of Jesus liberates the people.
Paul, however, takes this much further…

Paul’s Cross-Centred Life

Paul got to know the Jesus story backwards: starting with the resurrected Lord. He never heard Jesus teach, nor witnessed his miracles (note of the editor: he might have witnessed some miracles, but we do not know that, but for sure he would have heard about them from first hand witnesses) , and never mentions his life — the focus is on his death and resurrection.
He sets these in the context of Israel’s story, a key feature of which was the law. Paul concludes that the law killed Jesus (Gal 3:13).

‘The cross’, for Paul, means ‘the gospel’, and it is the lens through which he interprets everything else. He opens up his thinking on it chiefly in Romans 3, and Romans 7 – 8. In Rom 3 God is faithful, and it is through Jesus, the faithful Israelite, that he fulfils his covenant promises. Jesus is the ‘sacrifice of atonement’ — literally the place of atonement, or Mercy Seat. In other words, he sums up everything that has gone before in Israel’s history. In Rom 7 – 8, all of human sin is concentrated in Jesus, and in him on the cross all sin is condemned.
If the Gospels show Jesus as the Passover sacrifice, Paul presents him as the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) sacrifice. Both are valid emphases, but different.
According to Paul, in the cross God showed himself to be on the side of all human beings, Jews and Gentiles alike, and through the cross he shows us how to live right, recognising that we have been crucified with Jesus. We are called to live out the example that God set on the cross: self-limitation, humility and submission.

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Preceding

Review: What happened at the cross?

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Additional reading

  1. Christian values, traditions, real or false stories, pure and upright belief
  2. The saviour Jesus his human side
  3. Redemption #4 The Passover Lamb
  4. Death of Christ on the day of preparation
  5. Hebraic Roots Bible Matthew Chapter 28
  6. In the death of Christ, the son of God, is glorification
  7. Glory of God appearing in our character
  8. Hebraic Roots Bible Book of The Acts of the Apostles Chapter 2
  9. Matthew 2:7-12 – Pawns of Herod, the Magi Find the ‘Child’
  10. Anointing as a sign of Promotion
  11. Preparing for 14 Nisan
  12. 14 Nisan a day to remember #1 Inception
  13. 14 Nisan a day to remember #4 A Lamb slain
  14. A Messiah to die
  15. Lost senses or a clear focus on the one at the stake
  16. Jesus the “God-Man”: Really?

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Related

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  2. The Outrageous Story
  3. Torsten Jantsch on Jesus, the Savior: The Soteriology of the Lukan Doppelwerk
  4. Jesus Led The Way
  5. We Preach Christ Crucified …
  6. Did Jesus Christ die on Good Friday or not?
  7. The Mathematics of Caiaphas and Christ
  8. A New & Glorious Morn
  9. No Sweat, No Thorns, in New Jerusalem (2)
  10. The One You Pierced!
  11. Were you there when they laid him in the tomb?
  12. When God seemed to be an atheist
  13. No Need for Sleep in New Jerusalem
  14. Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? … by Alice ..
  15. ”Moksha With Jesus Christ”