PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Saturday, April 15, 2006

 

Paradox of Christ

(stolen post)

First posted 01:20am (Mla time) April 13, 2006
Inquirer



Editor's Note: Published on Page A10 of the April 13, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

ONLY days before, the Man had swept into Jerusalem, welcomed like a victorious Caesar amid the wild cheers of the throng. The next moment, the Establishment was bearing down on Him -- a blasphemer to the religious leaders and a destabilizer to the Roman authorities. He would find refuge, although temporarily, in the Garden of Gethsemane. But soon, He would be in the hands of His persecutors, subjected to the cruelest of physical tortures and to the vilest indignities. Before long, He was once again plodding the streets of Jerusalem, only this time, with gashes and bruises, blood and grime all over His body, a crown of thorns on His head, and a heavy wooden cross on His back. The crowd that had hailed Him a few days earlier was also back on the streets, but the tumultuous cheers had turned into raucous jeers. A few hours later, He was on Mount Calvary, nailed to the cross -- and dead.

His enemies thought they had buried Him forever in oblivion. Of course, at that time, they had no way of knowing that by dying He had conquered death. What looked like one man's total defeat, He turned into a monumental victory for all mankind.

This is the eternal paradox of Jesus Christ. As a text message that has been circulating this Holy Week puts it: "He had no servants, yet they called Him master. He had no degrees, yet they called Him teacher. He prescribed no medicines, yet they called Him healer. He commanded no army, yet kings feared Him. He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world. He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today."

* * *

Triumph of the spirit

INDEED, Christ's life is a message in itself, from which we can always draw a particular lesson or two to guide us at certain turns and times of our lives, if only we look closer. And what relevant lessons for our times may we draw from His passion and death?

Three immediately come to mind. From His triumphant entry into Jerusalem and crucifixion days later: "Sic gloria mundi fugit." [All earthly glory is fleeting.] A timely reminder for our leaders who want to stay in power forever, never mind if they have to lie, cheat, steal, bribe, threaten, use force or initiate Charter change.

For a world increasingly awed by, if not obsessed with, wealth, fame and power: There are larger and greater things than our material treasures and desires, or even existence. All through His ministry, He kept emphasizing this: "Not by bread alone does man live." And "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" He proved that He sincerely meant this with His life itself and with His examples-when He refused Satan's tempting offer of "all the kingdoms of the earth and the glory of them"; when He gave up all worldly attachments, including His family, and even His life.

Then, of course, the need to sacrifice for the larger goals. He had come to save the fallen man and He was the only hope for his salvation-no one else. But to fulfill His mission, He had to suffer pain and humiliation like no other man. And He knew that all this sacrifice would generally be unappreciated, especially by those who were meant to benefit from it the most. The thought of it almost broke His spirit. "Father, if you be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done." But He persisted, and sacrifice He did.

We are all too familiar with the rest of the story. It did not end, it made a new beginning.







Copyright 2006 Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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