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The Character Of Jesus Revealed On The Cross (via Fleming Rutledge)

Fleming Rutledge on Jesus’ remaining completely in character while on the cross.
And what a character it is.

Jesus waging a battle on the cross. The whole business of the two thrives dramatises the intensity of his struggle to absorb into himself the malice of those who were reviling him, while at the same time turning his attention toward the one who was looking for a work of redemption. Jesus, in his death as in his life, was entirely directed to the ultimate welfare of others. His entire ministry was directed outward from himself. The kinds of things that preoccupy you and me apparently did not enter his mind. Things like, how am I doing, did I get enough praise today, does that person appreciate me, is that other person over there getting ahead of me, am I slipping behind, am I letting people walk over me – these kinds of things had no hold on him. He was so utterly secure in himself that he was free for others in a way we can scarcely imagine. Therefore, it is exactly in character for him even in the midst of his agony to be mindful of the criminal hanging nearby. Such a thing appears to have been in his nature.

Fleming Rutledge, The Seven Last Words From The Cross, Eerdmans, 2005, p. 75.


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The Most Compelling Argument For The Truth Of Christianity Is The Cross At Its Center (via Fleming Rutledge)

From Fleming Rutledge:

“Religious figures are not usually associated with disgrace and rejection. We want our objects of worship to be radiant, dazzling avatars offering the potential of transcendent happiness. The most compelling argument for the truth of Christianity is the Cross at its center. Humankind’s religious imagination could never have produced such an image. Wishful thinking never projected a despised and rejected Messiah. There is a contradiction at the very heart of our faith that demands our attention. We need to put a sign on it, though, like the signs on trucks carrying chemicals: Hazardous material, highly inflammatory cargo. Handle at your own risk.”

Fleming Rutledge, The Undoing of Death, Eerdmans, 2005.


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The Singularity Of The Crucifixion Of Christ (via Fleming Rutledge)

The cross is no benign decoration for wall or jewelry.
It is a sign of shame and scandal.
And it might have passed from human notice except for particular crucifixion over two thousand years ago.
From Fleming Rutledge:
We can begin with the oddity of the universally recognized signifier, “the crucifixion.” It will help us to understand the uniqueness of Jesus’ death if we can grasp the idiosyncrasy of this manner of speaking. There have been many famous deaths in world history; we might think of John F. Kennedy, or Marie Antionette, or Cleopatra, but we do not refer to :the assassination,” “the guillotining,” or “the poisoning.” Such references would be incomprehensible. The use of the term “the crucifixion,” for the execution of Jesus show that it still retains a privileged status. When we speak of “the crucifixion,” even in the secular age, many people will know what is meant. There is something in the strange death of the man identified as Son of God that continues to command special attention. This death, this execution, above and beyond all others continues to have universal reverberations. Of no other death in human history can this be said. The cross of Jesus stands alone in this regard; it is sui generis. There were many thousands of crucifixions in Roman times, but only the crucifixion of Jesus is remembered as having any significance at all, let alone world-transforming significance.

Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion – Understanding The Death Of Jesus Christ Eerdmans, Grand Rapids MI, 2015, pg 3.