“♪ He’s not a baby in a manger anymore;
He’s not a broken man on a cross!” ♪
Really? Do you know what you’re saying?
My problem is not with the song (or with the writer, whom I know & respect), but with the way people are mis-using it.
The death of Jesus is the foundational event of Christianity. It’s brutal, shameful, and bloody. It offends people.
It offends many Christians.
You know why? Because it shows a God who is WEAK. A God who forgives his enemies rather than killing them. A God who destroys the forces of darkness with the weapons of love and non-violence.
And I hear people say, “That doesn’t count. Yes, when he came before, he forgave his enemies. He renounced the temptation to become a new Caesar. But when he comes again, he will make himself king. With his own hands he will slaughter the millions who oppose him!”
Okay. So we’re supposed to ignore the Jesus of the Gospels, the crucified God, the God who refuses to become a monster to defeat the monsters. We’re to replace the controlling narrative of the death and resurrection of Jesus with a new narrative in which Jesus conquers and slaughters.
But do you not know that what makes Jesus glorious is the manner of his death? What makes him glorious is the fact that he did not lift up the sword even to save his own life – that the creative power of self-sacrificing love triumphed over the powers and principalities and overthrew the might of Caesar’s empire. THAT is what Paul means when he says the weakness of God is stronger than man, because the shame of the cross confounds the pride of religion and all the armies of this world.
And blessed are those who are not offended.