The Jarring Reality of the Crucifixion

In working through the podcast series History of Philosophy without any Gaps, I’ve spent the previous few months with Medieval Jewish and Islamic philosophers. From Maimonides to Crescas and Avicenna to Averroes, they’ve put my mind on two ideas: God’s Transcendence and God’s Ineffability. The former talks about how God is so distant and other than we are while the latter claims boldly that God is unknowable.

Meditating on those ideas, I found myself in preaching team on Monday afternoon when we normally dive into the text together talking about biblical language, historical context, theology, illustrations, and the like. The script was changed this week though as Mike requested 4 individuals to come read Mark 15 to us. So, for about 20 minutes, we listened as Mark 15 was read aloud and any notion of utter transcendence or ineffability were obliterated.

I was able to hear the Gospel anew with a kind of freshness I hadn’t experienced in years. The Gospel had become rote for me: what I believe and what I live for, but what I also often took for granted. To hear read aloud the God how becomes truly human (not transcendent only, but radically immanent), the God who allows Himself to endure physical abuse (not at all ineffable), and the God who demonstrates love by suffering to redeem His creatures (destroys utter transcendence and ineffability), was nothing less than JARRING. It was offensive which made me reflect on how much my sin offends the Lord. It was convicting. It is our story; it is our salvation, and He is our Lord.

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