The supreme irony of the whole crucifixion scene is this: He who was everything had everything taken away from Him. He who was perfect was totally misjudged as "sin" itself (Romans 8:3-4). The crucified Jesus forever tells power and authority, and all of us, how utterly wrong we can be about who is in the right and who is sinful (John 16:8). All human solidarity and sympathy was taken away from Him and He finally had to walk the journey alone, in darkness, in not-knowing, as most humans finally have to do.
Jesus hung in total solidarity with the pain of the world and the far too many lives on this planet that have been "nasty, lonely, brutish, and short.” After the cross, we know that God is not watching human pain, nor apparently always stopping human pain, as much as God is found hanging with us alongside all human pain. Jesus forever tells us that God is found wherever the pain is, which leaves God on both sides of every war, in sympathy with both the pain of the perpetrator and the pain of the victim, with the excluded, the tortured, the abandoned, and the oppressed since the beginning of time. I wonder if we even like that. There are no games of moral superiority left. Yet this is exactly the kind of Lover and the universal Love that humanity needs.
What else could possibly give us a cosmic and final hope? This is exactly how Jesus redeemed the world "by the blood of the cross.” It was not some kind of heavenly transaction, or "paying a price" to God, as much as a cosmic communion with all that humanity has ever loved and ever suffered. If he was paying any price it was for the hard and resistant skin around our souls.
Adapted from The Great Themes of Scripture (no longer available, see
The New Great Themes of Scripture (CD))
"Faith is a journey into darkness, into not-knowing." ~ Richard Rohr