In my previous article, I stated that we correctly desire to see the end of injustice and evil. At the end I observed that God is doing something about this. However, he does so in a previously incomprehensible way.
If you are on God’s side, Jesus’ crucifixion makes no earthly sense. (It makes perfect sense from the viewpoint of the powers of the world to subdue a disruptive person.) Why doesn’t Jesus come to earth with a display of force? Why not set up an empire with Jesus as emperor? Isn’t this what God was after—the kingdom of God? Jesus is perfect, right? So wouldn’t he have been the perfect ruler? Couldn’t he have made all the right decrees and fixed all the injustice in the world through ruling in this way? Greg Boyd argues that this may have been what the temptation of Jesus was really all about. “You have the power to rule the world through might, so why don’t you do it?”
God’s ways are so far beyond our ways we could never conceive of them ourselves. God made a spectacle of all the wisdom of the world and of the spiritual forces of evil. In a sense God was showing off. He is so far beyond what we can comprehend. God took what would appear to be the absolute worst thing that could happen—the death of one of the members of the trinity—and used it as the center piece of his plans to restore all of creation and win the battle against evil. It’s an absolute embarrassment to the powers of evil and the worldly wisdom of using force. They knew Jesus was the son of God and they thought they had him in a vulnerable position. God took what the spiritual forces of evil certainly must have thought was their ultimate victory—the death of God—and made it his ultimate victory instead.
What was true of God in the crucifixion is still true of God in regards to his followers today. It may seem to make a lot of worldly sense to kill the bad guys or get the “right” people into power. But are we willing to trust God’s wisdom? Are we willing to have faith—to truly believe that God can still take what appears to be a hopeless situation and turn it into good? I’m talking about the type of situation where it seems to make a lot more sense to stand up and fight and attack other people.
photo credit: Dunamunde 2010 via photopin (license)