The crucifixion of Jesus in its redemptive effect
The Crucified Jesus shows how cruel, how unjust, how insensitive and hurtful we humans can be.
Some reacted out of their fear of the loss of power and positions of authority, the others wanted to remove an unwelcome critic, others simply let him down or abandoned him, they denounced their solidarity and friendship. And some of his followers took flight in panic, and hid themselves. The person who is slain and killed on the cross shows us like in a mirror what we are capable of doing when we become deeply afraid.
For it is fear that makes many people callous and hard, some even ruthless and cruel.
But we see by looking at the crucified not only the evil effects of our human actions, we also see the man who, in this terrible situation, prays for his tormentors: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Jesus does not curse people, he does not curse the world in which it is so unjust and full of torment.
From the cross comes a message of mercy and love that human beings suffer in sinfulness and yet (he) does not discard us. Anyone who looks at the cross this way knows that one is radically taken seriously in one’s human limitations and guiltiness, but also in one’s "loving worthiness", which is seen from the perspective of God.
This is the experience of salvation:
To be deeply understood and recognized, and to recognize oneself deeply and yet to be acknowledged by God and held in His love.
The friends of Jesus make the second experience of salvation through the resurrection after such a death: the disciples experience God's action as a confirmation of the truth and validity of the life of Jesus.
Now they know who is so boundlessly loving life and men, who so fearlessly and bravely also opposes the powerful in religion and society for the incapacitated, the deprived, the oppressed, the excluded and the despised, in him is God’s Spirit alive, who lives in God and God lives in him, who gets an inner strength and a self-consciousness, so that he cannot be suppressed by the fearful and intimidating methods of the powerful and made small, he can with himself and his history be one and consistently stand to what he has recognized and lived as true and correct.
He will discover a freedom within himself as felt by Jesus, the “free man". He will be saved from the fear of being worth nothing, and he will be saved from the fear that the powerful in religion and society try to awaken in him to maintain their rule.
Thus, this experience of salvation has a dimension in the depths of self-perception and self-sufficiency of people, and it has a dimension in its social and political life.
Manfred Hanglberger (www.hanglberger-manfred.de)