* Why Christians believe

A new thread at Messiah Truth.

This is most emphatically not Jewish teaching.  I expect it correctly to be condemned as not-Jewish.  I also expect it to be condemned, correctly or not, as just plain wrong.

The point is to facilitate understanding of what motivates belief in the Christian myth.

Sunday was Palm Sunday.  The appointed “Gospel” text this year was Luke 22:14-23:56, which covers from the beginning of the Last Supper up to Jesus’ burial.

The pastor normally reads the “Gospel” lesson.  Pastor’s voice quavered throughout this reading, which I found hard to figure since his beliefs are similar enough to mine.  We waded through all the problems in the text, e.g. the impossible trial at the High Priest’s house on Pesach.  But I also got re-acquainted with why Christians believe so fervently in this text.

There are ironies in where the world sees God’s presence.  It would seem that when one is most “blessed” — enjoying wealth, health, happiness, and good repute — is when (the world would say) God is most present, but also when one needs him least.  When one is “cursed,” the world sees one as most God-forsaken — poor, ill, in pain, living in grief or disappointment or despair — and God (in that view) is most absent, exactly when one needs him most.

The Cross solves that dilemma.  It tells me that, by virtue of J.’s suffering thereon, on each occasion when I need God most, God in fact shows up — in person.

J.’s suffering was meant not only to redeem all sin, but all suffering.  Hebrews says he was “tried in all ways we are;” that he’s been through it all.  Somehow.  Which means that when you or I go “through it,” he is also present there.

A hand to hold.
A shoulder to cry on.
Arms to lean on.
A voice that says, “You can rise again.”

An assistant minister reminded me yesterday that many in our congregation and community have been deeply traumatized.  We presume to practice extensive efforts to address that trauma.  However, I have wondered whether our efforts are complete; whether the injured person is truly empowered to get back on one’s feet and get on with life, pain-free.

The Resurrection tells Christians that one can overcome every event of death in life.

Whether any of this has anything to do with a sinless J., a messianic J., J. as God or J. as son-of-God, is not clear to me.  What is clear is that the Christian is powerfully motivated by these things, to believe that he is there.

Reblogged 2023-07-06.

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