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Sunday, July 08, 2007

they would not have crucified the lord of glory

The atonement has been a big topic of discussion lately among several blogs I read (I've trid to link to one sample post from each blog, but I'm sure I've missed at least one blog). I don't really have anything to add to the conversation; I'm still trying to absorb all the ideas and piece the puzzle together.

The fact that I've been thinking over all this is probably the reason the following passage jumped out at me in my daily Bible reading:

But we speak God's wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

- 1 Corinthians 2:7-8

Let's suppose, hypothetically, that things had happened differently: Upon hearing Jesus' teaching, the high priest Caiaphas suddenly realized that he was in the very presence of God. Or Pilate, upon examining Jesus, decided that he should set Jesus free no matter the personal political cost to himself. What if they hadn't crucified the Lord of glory?

These two verses are just a side note in Paul's discussion of the wisdom of God, but he seems to have considered it a genuine possibility that the rulers of the age could have recognized Jesus for who he was, and changed the course of events on that fateful Passover week.

If Jesus hadn't been crucified, how much different would our theology be? Did God have an alternate plan for our atonement just in case Jesus failed to get himself killed?

Did the atonement really rest on the dicey possibility that those in power would not recognize Jesus? Or is there possibly something about power that it necessarily renders those who have it unable to see God at work?

Now I know even less than I did before.

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