Something that I read in a New Testament class one time was that the Gospel of John does not have a scene of darkness at Jesus' crucifixion, unlike the synoptics, for John wanted to present the crucifixion as a time of light and glory. In my reading so far of John's Gospel: The Way It Happened, Lee Harmon has made a similar point----that Jesus' crucifixion was a time of triumph. In my latest reading, Lee explains more what he means by that.
On pages 234-235, John, Matthew, and Ruth are discussing
whether or not Jesus' crucifixion was a victory. John refers to
Colossians 2:13-14, which affirms that Jesus spoiled and made a
spectacle of the powers and the authorities, presumably on the cross.
Matthew, who is skeptical that Paul wrote Colossians, asserts that Paul
expected for the victory to be future rather than something that
occurred at the cross, for Paul foretold in I Thessalonians 4:17 that
Christ would show up in the air, and believers would ascend to meet
him. John then tells Matthew that Paul was correct, and yet John
proceeds to interpret the parousia and Jesus' drawing of believers in
another way: Jesus would be lifted up on the cross, and there he would
draw all people to himself. When Matthew inquires how Jesus can draw
anyone to himself while he is on a cross, John asks Matthew what power
Jesus would command while he is "suffering, dying, bound to a tree"
(page 235). Ruth then interjects an answer: "Love...that's all he would
have left to draw people with" (page 235).
This was actually a
powerful part of the book, but it wasn't just because of the scene
itself. It was also because I was watching a movie while I was reading
this passage, and the music that was playing from the soundtrack fit the
passage quite nicely. The movie was Eastern Promises, which I did not care for, to tell you the truth, but the soundtrack was good with the passage that I was reading!
notion that Jesus could command people with love when he had nothing
else with which he could command them, due to his vulnerability and
apparent helplessness on the cross, is quite powerful. Like Matthew,
however, I would like for that love to be backed up with concrete
power, in some form, for how would we be helped if the person who loves
us cannot deliver us from our hopeless situation? In my opinion, there
has to be some futurist eschatology if a religion is to have any
hope----or at least some place that people can go (such as heaven) where
good triumphs and evil does not prevail.
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