Was Jesus’ Crucifixion Really That Bad?
This is an underdeveloped article. It gives a brief comment on arguments suggesting that, because Jesus attained heaven, in some sense, after his resurrection, his suffering and sacrifice were not really that valuable.
– The purpose of the crucifixion is not for Jesus to go through as much pain as he possibly could – that is mere sado-masochism. Focusing primarily on Jesus’ pain and taking the merit of the crucifixion from his maximal pain will only serve to sentimentalise it and allow for what can be a manipulative view of the crucifixion (manipulating particular emotionally sensitive people, that is). Of course, although crucifixion was not chosen as a punishment primarily for its pain value but rather humiliation, Jesus did go through a huge amount of pain and that is still significant.
– Christianity suggests that Jesus took on evil, fully, in his death and resurrection. This is a culmination of political evil, relational evil, sub-personal evil and covenantal evil, and won a victory over it that his followers are to implement and fully realise in their lives. Whether we want to say that evil is not really so powerful (and particularly in light of heaven) is up to us individually (though, of course, arguments can be made for or against the extent of this evil to convince others), but I would maintain that the centre of the crucifixion is not an issue over quite *how much* evil Jesus can inflict upon himself, but *that* he takes on evil in all those different ways and wins a victory over it that is to be fully realised in the future.
1. e.g. being crucified by oppressive Rome.
2. e.g. by his followers deserting him.
3. e.g. some ‘forces’ (I use that term hesitantly, aware of the magical connotations it can bring up, and implore the reader to try to lay aside any such suggestions) which seem to work on a different level to human decisions, but cannot really be called supra-personal since they are fundamentally against being properly human in the sense of bearing God’s image.
4. e.g. in the sense of Israel not living up to their vocation to be a light to the Gentiles, hence Jesus condemning the way the Temple was being used, etc.