In Christian theology, of course, Jesus’ act of self-sacrifice was not a simple martyrdom, as costly and as precious as that might be. Jesus’ act of nonviolence defeated the forces of violence that hold sway in the world, even death itself. Furthermore, Jesus’ death on the Cross demonstrated something about the nature of God: that God is inclined to self-giving over vengeance, mercy over punishment, restraint over rage, and love over all. The Cross does not, it is important to say, make victimhood glorious but convicts the world of unjust and violent victimization. In dying, Jesus did not succumb to death but undermined the forces that wield it, demonstrating by his resurrection that life is more powerful after all.
—Rosalind C. Hughes, Whom Shall I Fear? Urgent Questions for Christians in an Age of Violence (Upper Room Books, 2021)
How can Jesus be an example of how to choose self-giving without glorifying victimhood? Join the conversation.
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
—Hebrews 10:12-14 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Even though I walk through lonely and dark times, I will fear nothing, because you are with me; your guidance and authority comfort me. (Adapted from Psalm 23:4)
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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