1. The cross breaks the cycle of violence
Hanging on the cross, Jesus provided the ultimate example of his command to replace the principle of retaliation with the principle of nonresistance… He broke the cycle of violence by absorbing it, taking it upon himself. He refused to be drawn into the automatism of revenge, but sought to overcome evil by doing good – even at the cost of his life… The crucified Messiah is not a concealed legitimation of the system of terror, but its radical critique. (291-292)
The transmission of destructive force, can only be halted when its destructiveness is absorbed and not transmitted. (9)
All the accounts of Jesus’ death agree that he suffered unjust violence. His persecutors believed in the excellence of their cause, but in reality hated without a cause. Jesus was a scapegoat… In a world of deception and oppression, his innocence-his truthfulness and his justice-was reason enough for hatred. Jesus was a threat, and precisely because of his threatening innocence, he was made a scapegoat. (292)
The proclamation and enactment of the kingdom of truth and justice is never an act of pur positing, but always already a transgression into spaces occupied by others. Active opposition to the kingdom of Satan, the kingdom of deception and oppression, is therefore inseparable from the proclamation of the kingdom of God. It is this opposition that brought Jesus to the cross; and it is this opposition that gives meaning to nonviolence. It takes the struggle against deception and oppression to transform nonviolence from barren negativity into a creative possibility, from a quicksand into a foundation of a new world. (293)
The vita Christiana, the Christian life… is engaged in an attack upon the world and a calling in the world. (Theology of Hope, 315)
When God was made sin in Christ, the world of deceit and injustice was set aright. SIns were atoned for. The cry of the innocent blood was attended to. Since the new world has become a reality in the crucified and resurrected Christ it is possible to live in the new world in the midst of the old in an act of gratuitous forgiveness without giving up the struggle for truth and justice. One can embrace perpetrators in forgiveness because God has embraced them through atonement. (294-95)
God’s kingdom is seen here to be for the perpetrator as well as the victim. God aims to reconcile the two – this reveals the thoroughgoing radicality of forgiveness and we must sit long in the realisation that this truly is the intention of the God of Jesus.
What do you think of these ideas? Have you seen, do you see, what do you think is the value of seeing the cross this way?