Wright: The cross is in the middle of and the climax of “authentic Christianity”. Jesus wouldn’t have it any other way, despite His disciples (then and now).

Tom Wright commenting on Mark 10:35-45 where Jesus is drawing near to Jerusalem, the place of His crucifixion:

[In this passage for] the third time Jesus has solemnly warned the disciples about what’s going to happen to him. [His death] isn’t taking him by surprise. It’s part of the vocation which has gripped him since, at least, the voice at his baptism, which echoed Isaiah’s prophecy about the servant, to which in this passage he returns explicitly. The great central section of Isaiah (chapters 40-55) has as its main character, after Israel’s God himself, an anointed, messianic figure who suffers and dies for the sins of Israel and the world. This is ‘YHWH’s servant’, and at the end of the passage Jesus refers back to Isaiah 53, the fourth ‘servant song’, which speaks in awe and gratitude of the servant’s redeeming death.

Many thinkers in our own day have found it incredible that Jesus would have thought about his own death in this deliberate, focused way. Well, his followers at the time found it incredible too… Jesus’ disciples couldn’t believe the way he was leading them to Jerusalem with such determination. People who were following found it scary. So did many thinkers in the next few centuries, who struggled to find ways of telling the story of Jesus without having the cross at the middle of it. So do many in our own day. But from Jesus’ own pronouncements onwards the claim that he not only died by crucifixion but did so as the climax of a thought-out vocation has always been at the centre of authentic Christianity.

Tom Wright, Mark for Everyone, p. 139-40.

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About cteldridge

A beggar trying to tell other beggars were the Bread is.
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