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Easter 2015: Nailed to the cross, Jesus was a victor, not a victim

neville callam

Full freedom in utter reliance

The multiple dimensions of the church’s vocation require that true humility attend the living out of our ecclesial identity.

Christians understand this because they know something of the power of powerlessness, the might of weakness, and the wealth of poverty. In their worship and witness, in their mission and service, they are meant to unveil the humility that selflessness breathes.

During this season of the Christian year, we celebrate the resurrection of the one who did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped. Instead, he practiced self-emptying love and so opened the doorway to eternal life for us.

From the cross, the one who calmed the winds, healed the sick and raised the dead stares down at us powerless. He faces the consequences of a travesty of justice. He is wounded for the wrong we did; crushed for our sinful action. He wears the robes of a victim who is helpless before the violence of a misguided mob.

Then comes Easter day! We discover that the man on the cross is victor, not victim. Mercilessly nailed to a cross, he is actually lifted up to draw humankind to God. The one dressed in the rags of powerlessness at the cross actually shows us where to find true power and how to manifest true strength. Not surprisingly, on Easter morning, God raises him from the grave, his mission being accomplished.

We can now affirm that part of the vocation of the church is to model one value that lies at the very heart of our life: humble vulnerability. Jesus’ followers know that the weak can say, “I am strong” and the poor can say, “I am rich.” And this is the result of God’s work in the death and resurrection of our Jesus the Christ.

At Easter, we remember that, where there is weakness, God’s power can be powerfully shown. To believe this is to recognize that full freedom can be found only in utter reliance on the dependable one who is our Savior.

neville callam, general secretary, Baptist World Alliance

1 Comment

  1. Rudwaan on April 5, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    ‘the wealth of poverty’? while I respect your viewpoints I must take a defensive poise against the mindstate you chose to expose to me, first and foremost the picture you have the one you think is Jesus was planted in your subconscious, that picture of a white-man hanging feebly from a cross is not truthfully representative, your built in flaming crosses that borders your mind preventing you from getting out or truth from getting in tells you that the culture does not matter, to wit I will ask ‘then why not depict the image as a Black man?’

    Then there is the contradictory mind-set of poverty being wealth, poverty is a man-made creation as a side-effect of greed, to embrace poverty is to embrace greed but ‘in my father’s (highest degree of spiritual growth) house (mindstate) there is much wealth. The poverty mindset is a construct that allows the greedy to horde the planet’s resources and ration them to the rest of humanity, creating demand by inducing scarcity where in reality there is bountifulness.

    The true sacrifice that one must endure to draw nigh unto their Divinity, their God-self is that of a Spiritual nature, it is a Spiritual process because your ascension is in ‘Spirit and in Truth’. Such travesties as ‘Jim Jones’ and other religious deviants feed on that mindset.

    ‘humble vulnerability’ to what and to whom? is this where we should ‘turn the other cheek’ suffer on earth so we can be rewarded in the after-life? then what does that say of the purpose of creation? so above so below is not carried out in that ‘belief’, no creation in nature has a ‘humble vulnerability’ every creation including the plant-life has some sort of defense mechanism against it’s predator, while there is a built in symbiosis, who must we be humble and vulnerable to that is not also humble and vulnerable to us? If you are humble and vulnerable to that white male image you were told sacrificed himself upon a cross, suffered immeasurably for you, would you not also be humble and vulnerable to the white male image you see every day? What man can find the Spirit and so bind the Spirit? are we not Spirit?