The “return” of Christ as resurrected victim changed everything. Christ’s reentrance into the lives of the defecting disciples marked for them, and for us, a whole new view of death, of God, and of God’s forgiveness. This is because the resurrection is forgiveness at the deepest possible level. And it is our forgiveness, because Christ is the universal victim.
If I don’t catch a glimpse of this I will remain ignorant to my having taken part in Christ’s murder. I will continue to parrot the Pharisees’ protest: ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’
And this is exactly what I have thought. I assumed that if I was there, in the courtyard, I would not have called form the lynching of Jesus; at worst, I would have stood in the shadows, simply observing. Which is an indirect form of complicity in any case. But the fact is, I would have been part of the crowd, pumping the air, calling for crucifixion.
How do I known this? I know it because the veil is drawn back to the connection the resurrection makes with all the ways I habitually secure my life through the exclusion of others. I know it as well because of the influence the contagion of a crowd has on me. How I am caught up desiring the desire of the crowd.
It seems to me, knowing Jesus starts here; starts in what the resurrection reveals. In the light of the resurrection my eyes are drawn to the blood on my own hands and at the same time I am exposed to the love given me as enemy.
Do you see the difference between our admission of sins that had something to do with Jesus having to die, and the sin (singular) we are blind to–because it is too much a part of us–that compels us to ritual exclusions, murders, and securing our lives by doing away with others?
Anti-semitism, imperialism, and the perpetuation of every form of violence comes from our denial of complicity in the murder of Jesus.
I don’t know what it means to experience or know Jesus as a presence, in the same way I know the presence of my friends. Some people apparently do, but I have not had this experience. At the same time I know it’s not enough to say I’m carried along in my Christian life by my “memory” of Jesus. Knowing Jesus has to be more than either a conservative or liberal knowing.
I still have long way to go in “accepting Jesus”. I’m still waking up to what being in a relationship with Jesus means because I’m waking up to the many ways that I live life in competition with, and in comparison to, others. I see how I too closely identify with groups that have their own cohesion at the expense of other groups. I see in fact how tribal and sectarian I am. The extent to which I participate in any of these forms of exclusion is the extent to which I don’t know Jesus.
Knowing Jesus is a continual conversion, an ongoing renewal towards and by the gratuitous love modeled by Jesus, and a progressive undoing of the lie that life can be secured at the expense of others.