Friday, April 09, 2010

Unsafe Deity

"The Sanhedrin condemned Jesus for claiming that he was able to destroy the temple and rebuild it. To them, that was equivalent to claiming God’s power, and had to be blasphemy. Surely Jesus didn’t have that kind of power – never mind that he had spent several years very publicly giving sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and raising the dead.

But there’s a deeper trial going on. The God of Israel comes to Israel, and Israel puts him on trial. They condemn God incarnate on the basis of true testimony – his claim to be able to destroy and rebuild the temple. Jesus really claims such power, and he really has it. But the Sanhedrin doesn’t want such a God, a God who commits the blasphemy of destroying and rebuilding temples.

They want a god of guarantees, whose entire reason for being is to ensure that their temple will stand and keep standing, no matter what. Like all pagans, they want a god who ensures the persistence of the past, not a God who breaks down to make a new future. For them, a God who destroys and raises up is a blasphemous God.

That’s what Sanhedrins of every age long for: a god who sanctions their tradition. They will always send a God who kicks over their little monuments to the cross." (Peter J. Leithart in Cornerstone)

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