In having an argument on religion one of the themes against it is what the marks of the culture is to measure new persons or entities against its beliefs. Their norms and pressures to keep the status quo could be like a noise that is deafening. Such supposed wisdom of the present age can pressure, categorize and assign the role for everyone in their jurisdiction.
Whenever Jesus is correctly presented, he is someone that transcends all ages and trends. For the Christian who chooses to engage the culture in humility one could also seem strange by being tied to the wisdom of the ages rather than the wisdom of this age. Yet Christ showed in the last day of his standard, earthly life how to love in vulnerability.
Jesus, responding in divine wisdom, and those who share him, are to think and act with reason that persuades yet is open to testing. In my training to become a counselor I was exposed to different theories for therapy or studies on what is “evidence-based practice”. The theory that was taken seriously for examination first needed to be seen as “falsifiable”. In laymen terms it was “up for someone to kick the tires” in a tangible way. On the day of the cross, Jesus was more than kicked.
For this, we point to the resurrection. When Jesus said, “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” and Apostle John wrote, “he was referring to his body” this was yet to be proven but the gauntlet was thrown down. Jesus spoke on how he would prove himself.
The cynics have gone after the resurrection to prove Christianity false. Believers stand on the resurrection by faith because the cross of Christ was already more than just a Roman execution but a sacrifice of love.
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and striking him on the face. Pilate went out again and said to them, ‘Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him.’ So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’ (John 19:1-5).
And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head– – It was in the means of his torture and presentation with a crown of thorns and a purple robe on the skin of his back that was slashed to ribbons by whips embedded with steel and rock that the paradox of being king and lamb ironically co-exists to prove this point. A Christian believer could see the irony of this crown in how he is King of Kings. But there is a role of God’s calling that is falsifiable. The mockery of Christianity or even the existence of God himself is that true validity is reinforced in demonstrable strength. With that rubric, the vulnerability of Jesus itself is assumed to be an automatic disqualifying trait.
Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no case against him- – This was really to show his swollen face. The flogging, beating, crown of thorns and purple robe were ways for Pilate to humiliate Jesus and show him to be not taken seriously and too pitiful to crucifiy. As an outsider to the significance of Jesus’ claims, Pilate did not understand the vitriol against Jesus speaking to a kingdom of love that was above Rome and the Temple. Pilate thought wrong that Jesus and his kingdom could and would be dismissed as nothing.
Here is the man!– – While his soldiers mocked him as king, Pilate belittles Jesus for dramatic effect that he is just a man due to his appearance, we point to Jesus as crucified. It is partly due to that contrast that so much art has gone into this presentation in the Latin term (Eche hommo). So far, we are seeing vitriol from the elite know-it alls, indifference to those who are detached. But in sharing the gospel it is important Christians point in a different way in that Christ showed us in the cross what it means to be human fusing the definition in divine love. We can simultaneously point to Jesus as low in the cross but high in his divinity. We can adopt the language of John the Baptist who said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). This was developed in language later by Paul who said, “We preach Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23) which to this day is the surrender of Christ we should point to unashamed.
Billy Graham advised his grandson that in his ministry he is to take the shortest route in his sermon possible to the cross. As so should we as an insurance adjustor, a parent of young children or anyone else who is a Christian living in temporary exile on earth. In the cross there is our tangible, redeeming love. In the resurrection there is truth. Thus we are not powerless if we join Christ in the role of persecution. We are greatly empowered in that we stand even more by his grace since it is in the grace of the cross we find our own primary testimony.