Jesus is no longer on a cross

Yesterday I posted a link on my facebook page to an article that I had written a while ago. The article is about whether we should, or can, place our sins, problems or burdens at “the foot of the cross”. Some people had a problem with the article. One person responded with a beautifully written but, I believe, theologically flawed comment which follows:

“God is beyond time and space and if we are to believe that he did not leave his divinity behind when He became man in the form of our beloved Jesus the Christ then He brought His timelessness (or if you prefer timefullness) to earth with Him. So just as he is eternally the fresh babe in Mary’s arms and eternally one with the Father he is also eternally on the cross. Our silly human minds can’t really handle timeless concepts – look at what it did to Einstein’s hair – but the reality is that God is neither here nor there, now or then. But always and everywhere. So whether you prefer to pray at the foot of the cross, kneeling in the straw of the stable or with your face turned up to His glory at the right hand of the Father is of no consequence for wherever your heart seeks Him, He will be found.” Shan Thiel (Used with permission.)

My reply, which is not nearly so eloquent (and has been edited slightly) was this:

I absolutely get that God is beyond space and time, and that many things about our faith and spirituality are beyond space and time. This makes Jesus’ willingness to condescend and become a human being – temporarily limited by space and time (as we are) – truly remarkable.[1] However, I simply cannot find anything in the Bible that suggests that Jesus is eternally a newborn baby or eternally suffering on a cross.[2]

I do not pray to a baby or to a man nailed to a cross. I pray to the risen, triumphant and victorious Saviour and King who is seated at the right hand of God in heavenly realms.

As well as being our Lord and King, Jesus lives in us through his Spirit and is our closest, most generous, most faithful and compassionate friend. This relationship is only possible because of Jesus’ finished – completed – work on the cross. When Jesus had shed his innocent life blood on our behalf, he said with his final breath, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The writer of Hebrews said that Jesus died “once, for all” (Heb. 7:27; 9:11-12, 25-26; 10:12). The penalty for our sin has been paid in full for all time.  There is no further need for a redemptive sacrifice. Jesus is no longer on the cross.

But when this priest [Jesus] had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.  Hebrews 10:12.

I suggest that it takes imagination for us who are outside of Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and living 2000 years after the events, to pray at “the foot of Jesus’ Cross” (which would be decayed by now) or at “his manger“.[3] Jesus, however, is not imaginary; he is real.

The fact that Jesus successfully conquered sin and death is real. His resurrection and ascension were real events (in the past). The fact that he lives to be our intercessor and mediator is a present and powerful reality (Heb. 7:25). These are things the apostles wrote about – truths that have been preserved in Holy Scripture.

These wonderful truths are beyond our imagination – much greater than our imagination. If we seek God using our own imagination we may end up praying to an imaginary “god”. I prefer to be led by God’s Spirit when I pray, and not use my imagination which is limited, flawed, and can be misleading (Eph. 3:20).

One more verse:

“For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.”  Romans 6:9-10


Endnotes

[1] I believe that Jesus was fully human and fully God while on earth but that he temporarily laid aside his divine privileges and powers and relied completely on the Holy Spirit’s power during his ministry (Phil. 2:6-8). I believe that Jesus remains fully human and fully God.

[2] I am actually disturbed by this thinking. What is the point of Jesus being a newborn baby eternally? And do people really think that Jesus is eternally suffering on the cross for our, already forgiven, sins? If we take this further: Is Jesus eternally a 6 year old or a 16 year old? Apart from being unbiblical, these thoughts seem illogical and pointless.

[3] I, personally, cannot see the purpose or benefit of praying “at the foot of the cross” or to “the baby Jesus”.


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