|Illustration by Jon Dengler|
Today we recall that he who had power became weak. He whose voice spoke truth and grace was insulted, mocked, and spat upon. He lived as a homeless wandering heretic and he died as a criminal and an outcast. He became a cautionary tale for any would-be prophets with illusions of grandeur.
God crucified does not look much like we might imagine God enthroned would look. Instead, he looks like those with whom he spent most of his time during his ministry. And he makes a direct association with them, saying "...as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." He identified with their exile, with their nakedness, with their need, and with their pain.
No longer can we look on those who suffer and be content to think "It's their own fault." For he who was without fault was made to suffer unjustly. No longer can we avoid the glance of an outsider, for he numbered himself among them. No longer can we despise the poor, wretched sinners, for where else should we expect to find God? He is with us poor, wretched sinners in a way that is scandalous and horrifying and we call it Good.
“When God becomes man in Jesus of Nazareth, he not only enters into the finitude of man, but in his death on the cross also enters into the situation of man's godforsakenness. In Jesus he does not die the natural death of a finite being, but the violent death of the criminal on the cross, the death of complete abandonment by God...He humbles himself and takes upon himself the eternal death of the godless and the godforsaken, so that all the godless and the godforsaken can experience communion with him.” -Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God