I am going to side against what some tell me is the position of the Catechism of the Catholic Church—that since we are all sinners, we are all responsible for crucifying Christ. What say you?
What you are describing happening in your mind is the reality response. It is an spiritual endowment that we all have and it saves us from the a-priori assumptions of religion and science, even if these assumptions have been accepted as the norm for centuries.
I remember wrestling with this question, even as a 5-year-old. It was around Holy Week, and I had heard that Jesus took on the sum of all our sins and died on the cross for us. Somehow my toddler brain was processing this. I woke up from a dream wherein every person who ever existed or would ever exist had to approach Jesus hanging on the cross, and each person was to stick a pin in him. That was what I remembered from the dream. I guess my mind tried to do the math, and given the amount of woulds and suffering Jesus endured, I concluded in my dream that each person’s share was one pin jabbed into Jesus, and the total of all those pins summed up to the entirety of the suffering he actually endured.
The next day I asked my mother if it would have killed Jesus if every person in the world stuck a pin into him.
My mother’s response: “Why would everyone stick a pin into Jesus???”
And that sort of ended it there, because I couldn’t figure out at that tender age how to ask what was actually in my mind.
Fast forward 50 years, and I was listening to a devotional where the speaker was saying that every whip mark and every splinter and every bruise and each nail and each thorn was for me. (And likewise each was for you, and for that-person and some-other-person and each-and-every-person.) The total of it all was for each person individually, and not just some proportional slice.
And I was reminded of my 5-year-old dream.
It was eye-opening.
We are not responsible, just as we are not responsible for the actions of adam and eve
I was hoping you would check in, Guvnah!
What I do understand and believe is that Jesus died for us all, willingly accepted all the torture and the death for each of us–and would have just as willingly undergone that suffering even if I were the only life that was changed. I also agree that any sin of mine today can also cause him pain; than any indifference from me can cause him to want to vomit me from his mouth.
But…as far as being responsible for his crucifixion, there I seemed to have drawn a line–and like you, it stems from childhood. All year we had been taught we should love God above all else. That was a problem in and of its own because I had written a list that filled more than one page of people I loved more than I loved God. (I was a bit of a realist, and I figured God already knew I loved these people more than I loved Him, so I might as well face up to it, and do my best to move Him up to the top of the list.) However, at that time, God wasn’t anywhere near the top, but I did my best to love Him as much as I could.
Then Easter rolls around, particularly Good Friday. After learning all year that we are to love God more than anything else, we were told that during the Passion reading on Good Friday, we were to shout, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” I was horrified. God might not be at the top of the list of those I loved, but I was not about to call for His crucifixion! What were they thinking!?
To this day, I will not join in and take part in saying, “Crucify him!” during the reading of the Passion.
The five-year-old in you grew up and became a man, but the little girl in me is still horrified.
Here’s the thing, Meri.
Under the Old Covenant, blood of a prescribed animal atoned for various offenses. And it wasn’t up to the individual person to sacrifice that animal. The priest was to do it, as described in the decrees handed to Moses.
Often that animal was a lamb. To the first-century Jew, the term “Lamb of God” meant something very important. We hear the term and usually just attribute it as another way of referring to Jesus.
When Jesus said His Blood was the blood of the New Covenant, it also meant something very profound. Not only was he the lamb to be slaughtered for sin atonement, but he was the priest doing the sacrifice on behalf of all of us.
That’s why St. Paul said (in Hebrews, I believe) that Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice, done once – for ALL. That ALL includes you and me. No more do we need the works of the law (by which he was referring to annual atonement blood sacrifices.) The ultimate Lamb has done it once for all sin.
Very much agree.
If you buy into the story, then all of us have to accept responsibility for the Crucifixion, as ridiculous as that sounds.
The thing is, I do “buy into the story” but I do not accept responsibility for the Crucifixion. I believe if our sins continue to cause God grief today, then the sins of yesteryear (before the Crucifixion) caused equal grief. However, neither crucified Jesus. Jesus’ gift and sacrifice brought us closer to our understanding of God and our relationship to Him. That deserves, glory, thanksgiving, and praise.
Here is another interesting take on Jesus fulfilling God’s Covenant with the Jews.
Way back with Abraham – back when he was still called Abram – God made a covenant. He had Abram set up those sacrificial animals half and half. That was a way of sealing a covenant back then. The two participants in the covenant would walk between the carcass halves, through rivulets of blood, to signify, “Whoever breaks this covenant will suffer the fate of these animals.”
So who passed through the carcasses? God. But Abram didn’t. throughout the bible, God appears as flame, or fire, or smoke. Who walked through? A flaming torch and a smoking pot. Two symbols of God. God went through twice, as if to go on behalf of Abram.
What was God’s part in the Covenant? He would make Abraham the father of many nations, for everlasting… You and your descendants."
Who broke the covenant? Of course, Abraham’s descendants – time and time again. But God went through the carcasses twice, and Abram not at all. God sealed his fate there. And Jesus ended up being the bloody carcass for that failure.
From that point forward, scripture after scripture foreshadowed Jesus. And all that foreshadowing is what Jesus explained to the disciples on the road to Emmaeus.
What was Abram’s part of the Covenant? "you must keep my Covenant
Whether or not someone else buys into the story is immaterial. All of us DO have to accept responsibility. All of us will.
One way or another.
Of course, your opinion is just as valid as a contradictory one.
Something you need to let go of is the notion of time – that you live on a post-crucifixion era, and someone else lived before it.
Time is relevant only in the human experience. To God, it’s all eternity, and we can’t quantify that in our limited human reality.
All sin grieves God.
Jesus died, once for ALL.
And it’s why St. Paul keep pointing us back to Christ crucified.
Does that mean God knows all of what we will decide to do?
Allegory does not change the significance of the Message.
What is your take on whether or not Jesus was punished, by God, for our sins?
“Punished”. I don’t know.
For me there is so much theological unknown in why God couldn’t just snap his fingers and fix it all. It’s beyond my pay grade.
It is what it is. I already posted what I use from Scripture to understand it. Beyond that, I take it on faith. Jesus accepted it as well. He repeatedly told his apostles that he would have to suffer and die. He told the disciples on the road to Emmaus where Scripture pointed to him and his death. Luke doesn’t tell us that he told those disciples WHY it has to be that way though. And at the last supper Jesus said it would be done for the forgiveness of sins.
I wonder whether the forgiveness of sins later became fused with punishment for sins. Ordinary Jews, especially those in agriculture, were living in great poverty. The Romans had take over most of the land, demanded taxes, and the Temple wanted its due and sacrifices from the people as well. The question of, "Do I feed my family or seek forgiveness could not have been an easy decision for the faithful Jew. Then Jesus goes out to the people preaching, Sins are forgiven, repentance for the forgiveness of sins, and that became a very unpopular theme with Temple authorities. They demanded to know who gave Jesus the authority to make such a proclamation, they demanded that he leave off teaching, they threatened him…but he would not back down. Jesus indeed died over the issue of forgiveness of sins.
Has forgiveness become so easy since that it has been forgotten what a huge issue it was at that time? Jesus became known as our sacrifice. Yet it doesn’t appear that Jews living in Biblical times viewed their animal and cereal sacrifices as punishment–or that God punished the animal and the cereal instead of the Jew. They were signs of repentance, not punishment. No one was praying, “Please God, punish this cereal instead of me, the sinner.”
Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice–obedience over disobedience–even when obedience to God meant death and a very unpleasant death at that. Don’t we point to Jesus sacrifice in following the will of the Father to establish the new covenant of Repentance for the forgiveness of sins? His sacrifice was obedience, and don’t we aim to make our sacrifice (again not a punishment) the same? Obedience to the Father?
Do you know how punishment came so much to the forefront in all of this–that God had to punish people–so that Jesus offered to take the punishment? Jesus never spoke of this type of punishment while he was teaching. It was always Sins are forgiven–Repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Who began teaching punishment–and when?
I don’t allow myself to accept the concept that changes in human culture shaped scripture. Countless “scripture” texts have existed along the way, but only a small subset of them are in the Bible. I believe that the Holy Spirit guided the canonization process to discern which contain Truth (with a capital T.)
If we open the door to human “fusion” and other influences on one point, we illogically must do so for every point. And in doing so, we allow for the possibility that the entirety of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is a myth.
Do not be afraid of having a childlike faith. We can never understand it all. Trying to place precise definitions and explanations and reasoning on God and his Plan is merely an attempt to make God as small as us.
My take on God:
He was lonely in His omnipotence, and lives within us as imperfect beings as a result.
Many Christians and non-Christians alike have perceived the Conscious Observer within.