THERE WAS no Stoic resignation, no Socratic dignity, nothing to make it easy or natural: Jesus looked at his coming death and saw it as monstrous and dreadful. What compelled the imagination of the early believers was precisely this—that he was obedient in spite of all, that he endured the nightmare for the sake of God's mercy.
Rowan Williams, Open to Judgement

[T]HE GOSPEL ACCOUNTS were all written "on this side of Easter." That is to say, early followers of Jesus, including the authors of the Gospels, had the benefit of looking back on an event and seeing in it the working of God. In addition to the cross being an act of human treachery and brutality, they were able to see the crucifixion of Jesus as also God's act. The crucifixion was viewed not only as an act of hostility on the part of human beings toward God's messenger, but also an act of immeasurable love on the part of the one who had sent that messenger.
Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld, Recovering Jesus

CHRIST'S DEATH doesn't replace our death. It enacts it, [the apostle Paul] suggested. That's what theologians call inclusive substitution. Because one has died, all have died. As a substitute, he is not a third party. His death is inclusive of all. … What happened to him happened to us. When he was condemned, we were condemned. When he died, we died. We were included in his death.
Miroslav Volf, Free of Charge

GOD'S VERDICT reversed the world's judgment. He exalted his humbled servant, Jesus, and gave to him a name above every other name, in heaven or on earth. … By accepting this position of greatest humiliation, Jesus had taken the road to highest exaltation. … The least of all and the servant of all had become in fact the greatest of all and the Savior of all.
Paul S. Minear, The Kingdom and the Power

IT IS IN THE LIGHT of Calvary that we can see what it means for us to confess our poverty and our helplessness and to renounce the attempt to overcome them on our own. It is there that we accept our suffering and turn it into a compassion with all the pains that men bear, bundled together as they are in the suffering of Christ.
Simon Tugwell, The Beatitudes

FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT the resurrection is an ultimate, eschatological event of overwhelming joy for which God is responsible. It is therefore an event than which none better or greater could be conceived. … God acts; Jesus appears; the disciples are transformed.
David Ford, Self and Salvation

GRANT, O LORD, that in your wounds I may find my safety, in your stripes my cure, in your pain my peace, in your cross my victory, in your resurrection my triumph, and a crown of righteousness in the glories of your eternal kingdom.
Jeremy Taylor, in, The Westminster Collection of Christian Prayers

Related Elsewhere:

Other Reflections columns about the Passion are in our Easter and Holy Week full-coverage section.

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