Friday, April 22, 2011

The miracle of Good Friday

Since it is Good Friday I re-read the chapter, "Was crucified, Dead, and Buried, He descended into Hell," from Karl Barth's Dogmatics in Outline [an exposition of the Apostle's Creed] which I have often posted about. One thing I came to a new appreciation is that God, not just Jesus, suffered on the Cross. Here are a few other highlights:
what first gives its significance to the humiliation and abandonment of this man is the fact that this man is God's Son, and it is none other than God himself who humbles and surrenders Himself in Him.
when we hold together [the humiliation and exaltation of Christ], then the picture before us is that of an inconceivable exchange, of a katalage, that is a substitution. Man's reconciliation with God takes place through God's putting himself in man's place and man's being put in God's place, as a sheer act of grace. It is this inconceivable miracle which is our reconciliation....
Do not confuse my theory of the reconciliation with the thing itself. All theories of reconciliation can be but pointers. But do also pay attention to this `for us': nothing must be deducted from it! Whatever a doctrine of reconciliation tries to express, it must say this.... view of Christ's Cross we are invited on the one hand to realise the magnitude and weight of our sin in what our forgiveness cost. In the strict senses there is no knowledge of sin except in the light of Christ's Cross. For he alone understands what sin is, who knows that his sin is forgiven him. And on the other hand we may realise that the price is paid on our behalf, so that we are acquitted of sin and its consequences.
The painting below is from the Isenheim Alterpiece by Gruenwald. A copy hung in Karl Barth's office for much his career.

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