Why Didn’t Jesus Miraculously Rescue Himself from the Cross? [Questions That Haunt]

As we approach Ash Wednesday and Lent next week, we’ve got a crucifixion question from Awadhesh Kumar Singh,

Why could Jesus not show the miracle of being saved from being crucified? Surely, he expected to be saved, as his last words show: “God, God, why have you forsaken me?”

Please give a crack at an answer, and I’ll post my response on Friday. You can see the entire series here.

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  • Charles

    I’m sure there will be many answers based on one of the atonement theories. I haven’t bought into any atonement theory offered so far. I’m more interested in a different explanation attempt.

  • Why didn’t he kill his persecutors, lay waste to them and declare victory? That would have been the end of his story. One thought I have is that he suffered and died in true unconditional love to show us what it looks like. And to encourage us to learn that we humans are capable of much more love and compassion than we think.

    • JPL

      I know this is the “correct” thing to say, but I’ve always found it to be a stretch. Had legions of angels suddenly swooped in from heaven, laid waste to a Roman legion or two, swept the countryside clear of every occupier, and rescued Jesus, hoisting him onto their angelic shoulders in a victory march into the temple, where he was crowned king, I’m pretty sure that would NOT have been the end of the story. People tend to remember such things.

      Now, depending on your ideas about the atonement, it’s true that would have been counter-productive. But surviving the cross in glorious fashion seems unlikely to have left him unknown.

  • Craig

    Probably for the same reason he couldn’t walk on water. 🙂

    • Ric Shewell

      Zing! This question does assume as certain view of Jesus, doesn’t it?

    • Ha! Craig that was almost exactly what I was going to say!!

      The question presumes a specific theological belief about Jesus, and any given answer would rely upon two takes on that presumption. That 1) the theology is “true,” and Jesus was “God” and therefore all powerful, or 2) that the theology is an imaginative fiction, and Jesus was merely human like the rest of us.

      I, of course, would take door number 2. Jesus was a human like the rest of us. He was executed. He couldn’t stop it. And when he died, he stayed dead.

      • MarkE

        I don’t think the question is asking about Assumption 2. That would be self evident.
        Also, there are more assumptions that could be made than 2.

  • Though I’m not sure this question can be adequately answered in the space of a comment such as this, I’d just like to say one thing.

    I’d reference Peter Rollins at this point, particularly Insurrection. The Crucifixion, coupled with Jesus’ divinity, was not about making any kind of statement of power over any system of power. Rather, the Crucifixion was Jesus’ show of solidarity with humankind in death, and particularly the stripping away of the narratives that gave him (and us) meaning and a feeling of control. The Crucifixion was necessary for the divine to show ultimate solidarity.

    I’d also like to reference Girard here, but I’m not well-versed enough in his thought yet, so I’ll leave that to a more able mind.

  • That is a great question! Here are a couple thoughts:

    First, I would say, Jesus really ‘couldn’t’. He was fully human…this is where the whole idea of ‘kenosis’ found in Philippians 2 is important. I personally don’t think any of the ‘signs and wonders’ Jesus performed came from any divine nature or powers that he possessed–how could it, if he ’emptied himself’? Whatever miraculous events Jesus performed, I assume, came from his trust and dependance on God.

    Second, the cry of forsakenness must be seen within its Psalm 22 context. Psalm 22 begins forsakenness but ends with hope and deliverance. Matthew and Mark, who quote this, would surely have intended us to read into this–not just the part quoted, but the whole of the Psalm. When we do so, it is not only a cry of forsakenness, which it is, but also a cry of trust.

    Tony, I love the blog and look forward to your response!

  • Why in the world would Jesus need to save Himself at all, if He was truly the Son of the Living God? The physical death of His human body shrinks in light of the ‘why’ He died. If He could have simply caused His own salvation from the hands of the throng, then we have to ask ourselves if He really came to us at all. I don’t think that we can fully appreciate the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross until we quit making our opinions of that matters of doctrine, instead of an encompassing soteriology.

  • Ric Shewell

    Assuming Jesus could have done that, it wouldn’t have been consistent with his message of confronting and exposing the weakness of oppressive systems through love and sacrifice. He lived out fully the Sermon on the Mount in his submission to the powers and authorities. However, through his death, the powers were subverted and exposed as powerless.

  • Chris Eidson

    Isn’t rising from the dead 3 days later enough? That seems more badass to me than some magic trick to unnail himself from a plank of wood. Jesus reminded his disciples over and over again of the prophecies made of the cross. Pulling himself from the cross would have not fulfilled those prophecies, and there would have been no sacrifice, and we would still be under the curse…so… thanks Jesus for not being a superhero that day, and instead suffering and even dying. Coming back 3 days later is just so much cooler. If I kill my enemy, and he comes back 3 days later…I’m crappin my pants….and that my friend is exactly what happened.

    • Craig

      As Leibniz noted, ours is the most badass of all possible worlds.

      • Ric Shewell


    • Nick Ruiz

      Haha, good way of explaining it. Also, there was the Jewish understanding that the soul hovers over the dead body for three days before departing completely [citation needed]. Jesus rising “on the third day” was seen as impossible in Jewish tradition.

  • Jonnie

    I hope this doesn’t sound too hip or needlessly high-minded, but I think Slavov Zizek has an interesting take on the ‘necessity’ of the crucifixion that is helpful for me. Doubtless, the difficulty here (and I know Tony will take this to task) is the question of whether we have some metaphysical necessity in the cross, and if so, what kind (mechanism, etc.)? Any existent justice model doesn’t give us a reasoned necessity (see Tony’s A Better Atonement), and a sacrificial necessity just seems odd: God HAD to find a blood sacrifice that would cover all our sins simply because the contingent system with Israel had been set up in the way that it was?! Just doesn’t hold the metaphysical water it would need to…

    Into this context, Zizek, oddly enough, takes what might be called a ‘new Abelard’ theory. For Abelard, contra Anselm, Jesus had to die for the sake of influencing us to be the kind of people God wants us to be. In other words, the crucifixion was morally necessary to draw us to God in Christ, etc. No metaphysical or juridical necessity in it. Similarly, Zizek claims Christ had to die in order to give us the freedom to take responsibility for the world and our tragic context. The death of God is the death of our ability to shirk responsibility for life and what happens. I guess that makes Zizek an Marxist Abelard or something.

    I really like this sentiment in that it shows not only the dramatic import of the crucifixion together with the idea that we cannot help but be drawn in by sacrificial stories, let alone of God taking death into himself for us, but it gives us a concrete, materially grounded reason for Christ’s death. It was necessary to make us true humans, living in and through life in this world: the kind of people that might, through crucified lives, live Christlike lives.

    Just a thought. Would love thoughts and push back.

  • MarkE

    Why didn’t Jesus kick-ass and take names? I think he was about something else.

    Did he really expect to be saved??? If so, then you have an issue. If not, then this question may be irrelevant.

    • Jonnie

      I think the cry of anguish and suffering from a dying man doesn’t mean it has to be an either/or like you’ve got here. His cry may have been out of the pure pain and fear of death, hope that ‘this up might pass from him’ (as he asked in the garden). It’s a statement of passion, not a calculated not a rational reflection.

      • MarkE

        That is my take on it too. From the record, it appears he desperately did not want to do the cross/death thing, but at the same time felt it was necessary for some reason.

        I am not convinced he expected to be saved, though.

    • AJG

      If you believe the Bible, then Jesus knew exactly what he was getting into:

      “He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.” — Mark 8:31-32

  • JimA

    The choices here are largely a matter of personal conviction, though the strong drumbeat throughout much of Christian tradition is certainly about atonement. But an alternate “motivation” (suggested by some more progressive contemporary Christian voices, as well as other Christian voices throughout history) could also be in play.

    There is a trajectory visible in scripture in which Jesus seems to move from gentle teacher toward increasingly strong activism. At one point, he begins speaking of his own impending death, as if recognizing that this move toward stronger activism and confrontation – following his own internal compass – is indeed hazardous business. It’s getting VERY dodgy when it manifests in Jesus’ mocking “triumphal” ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. That kind of reference to the triumphal entries of the Romans would hardly go unnoticed. On the other hand, and his rising visibility, message, and influence within the Jewish community was surely likewise both intentional and antagonizing.

    We do not have to look far in our own time and memory to find people who are so strongly persuaded of the need for change/reform as to commit themselves to an advocacy path that knowingly puts themselves at risk, …even mortal risk. It’s one of the most remarkable things that (fully?) humans are capable of, …if we think it’s worth it.

  • Two thoughts:

    First of all, the quote in reference (My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?) is a quote of the very beginning of the 22 Psalm – a messianic Psalm which details the crucifixion and the meaning thereof. That Psalm concludes in victory – just as the crucifixion concludes with resurrection. I do not think Jesus was proclaiming His abandonment so much as He was referencing the Psalm which identifies this moment, the moment of the cross, as the pinnacle moment for which the messiah has come.

    Secondly, there is a bigger question here: why was the cross even necessary? This is a bigger question, but for the sake of brevity, I will attempt to summarize. Essentially, the cross is where we see the convergence of two very polarized ideals: justice and mercy. God claims to be both merciful and just, and the cross is where the two converge. As a result, God extends His mercy to us not in spite of justice, but THROUGH His justice.

    I deal with this latter question in far more detail in this post: http://ofdustandkings.com/couldnt-god-forgive-without-the-cross/

    • MarkE

      It is hard to believe that Jesus was hanging on the cross like he was saying to himself, “I don’t really feel abandoned, but I better say it anyway so they know I fulfilled a prophesy.”

      If you believe he actually said it, I would think you would have to believe he meant it.

      • Nick Ruiz

        I don’t think Jesus “didn’t really feel abandoned”, no more than the Psalmist did. Likewise, Jesus experienced deep feelings of loneliness, but had “hope” of victory. And that hope shouldn’t be confused with the “hope” people have today.

  • Curtis

    To show us he is fully human. Not just human, but the lowest form of human. A human who dies the most shameful death possible. Death on the cross is the most shameful end of a human life imaginable. And that is the point.

    God became man, man on a cross, to show us God is with us always, and there is hope beyond the most miserable human experience imaginable.

  • AJG

    Why did Jesus need to be crucified at all? If he had to die a death for some atonement purpose, why didn’t he just commit suicide or something? That way, he wouldn’t have had to indict a bunch of people who conspired to kill the Son of God. Or if it “pleased God to crush him”, why didn’t God just crush Jesus himself and not have Judas, Pilate, Caiphas, et. al. do his dirty work for him?

    • Curtis

      Because it is always people who do the dirty work.

      • AJG

        God didn’t need people to flood the earth for him. I think he was capable of killing one man, don’t you?

        • Curtis

          Those are different stories. And they make a different point. Of course God could have struck Jesus dead with a bolt of lightning. But that would be a different story, with a different meaning.

          Jesus died at the hands of people to fulfill prophesy. And to lead the way for all of his followers, who at one time or another will persecuted by others.

          • The theological notion that says Jesus’ manner of death was “to fulfill prophecy” is utterly absurd. It only perpetuates an ancient and uncivilized image of a tribal deity who can only be appeased through violent bloodshed. A deity who is not only a vile sadist, but who also employs remarkably inefficient means to “save” humankind. Such a deity who is supposedly innately endowed with omnipotence and beneficence can only be dismissed as a sick human invention, given its peculiarly familiar human characteristics.

            • Chris

              You’ve been reading too much Dawkins.

              • Chris

                And Hitchens.

                • I read liberal theologians such as Crossan and Borg long before I read Dawkins. The theologians say first the events of the NT happened, then the writers of the gospels looked back at the OT to find stories that they could match up. Thus, we sing “O Come O Come Emmanuel” on Christmas because of an old story about a young woman having a child that would bring peace. That story had nothing to do with a messiah at the time it was written. Men, not God, turned it into a prophecy by claiming its predictive power after the fact.

                  The same goes for Jesus repeating a Psalm while on the cross. Do you really believe there were people standing around like reporters transcribing the words of Jesus? I learned this from Christians, not atheists. Y’all need to get caught up to the 21st century scholarship of your own religion.

                  • ^ This.

                  • Ric Shewell

                    Lausten, I agree that the gospel writers wrote their stories with agenda, and particularly, Matthew (or the community of Matthew) wrote the gospel in a way to match it up with many parts of Isaiah. Thus, Matthew says Jesus “fulfills” Scripture. I agree with you there, but I don’t that automatically discredits the story Matthew is telling.

                    For one, when Matthew says Jesus “fulfills” Scripture, Matthew is not doing what modern day apologists are doing: Trying to show how magical Jesus is. “Isn’t it incredible that everything Jesus did was prophesied 400 years before Jesus ever walked! This proves he is God!” — No. That way of thinking also ignores the many other hopes of a messiah that Jesus did not fulfill. So, I don’t think Matthew is doing what Curtis above is trying to get at.

                    I don’t think Matthew is linking the Jesus story to Isaiah to prove that Jesus is magic. Rather, Matthew is linking the Jesus story to Isaiah to prove that Jesus is thoroughly Jewish. This is why Matthew has Jesus saying “I did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.” It’s also why Matthew’s Jesus looks so much like Moses.

                  • Chris

                    Crossan, Borg, Armstrong, etc. are not the final word on Christian scholarship. Refutations of their views are all over the place on the web and in print, so your comment about getting “caught up” is presumptuous and misplaced. You might consider getting “caught up” yourself.

                    My reason for referencing Dawkins and Hitchens in regards to RJ’s comments had less to do with theological content and more to do with presentation. Dawkins and Hitchens are known for perpetuating demeaning, bombastic, high-flown and overwrought rhetoric. Often (but not always) without true understanding of what it is they are trying to debunk.

                    It seems if nothing else, one possible point of agreement between Christians of differing stripes (I understand not everyone here self- identifies as Christian) would be the idea of grace. RJ’s comments seemed to me graceless and Dawkins-esque.

                    • Refutations based on what? On theological reinterpretations that attempt to reclaim dogma? There are web sites that claim man walked with dinosaurs, so saying that something is argued somewhere is a non sequitur. You are putting yourself in the position of defending genocide and blood sacrifices. Let me know how that works out for you.

                      Ric is trying to look at the scriptures from the point of view of an author from the 1st century. Crossan clearly loves his Jesus, but is also very clear that Christians need to plainly state that God/Jesus doesn’t have chosen people, he has no tribe, he is not THE way. That language leads to killing. That language is graceless.

                    • ^ This. (You’re on a roll, Lausten. 2 for 2.)

                    • Chris, I’m a Christian. And of the many things I find distasteful about traditional Christianity is that it often disregards a crucial part of the Greatest Commandment, which is as follows: “Love God with your whole heart, your whole soul, your whole mind, and your whole strength. And love your neighbor as yourself.

                      The crucial part many Christians habitually disregard is the “whole mind” part.

                      To actually believe — as in literally believe — in such a thing as “Jesus died in the manner he did in order to fulfill prophecy” requires a remarkable suspension of one’s intellect. And when one does that, their minds will soak up all manner of ridiculous notions, causing them to perhaps go even further and insist others must subscribe to their way of thinking.

                      That is the danger of suspended intellect. To say nothing of the fact that it obstructs one from loving God with “their whole mind.”

                      Grace, by the way, isn’t always rainbows and kittens. Grace often requires a strong and bold stance — and sometimes even a heavily outspoken stance — in the face of dangerous absurdity. For a good example, I refer you to the entirety of Matthew chapter 23.

                      Bold and firm grace is occasionally necessary to clear away obstructions to love.

                    • MarkE

                      Doesn’t prophesy work the other way? One doesn’t behavior a certain way in order to fulfill prophecy. That would be a self-fulfilling prophecy. I would think a true prophecy, if there is such a thing, the behavior occurs regardless of the prophecy, it just got it right. So Jesus died the way he did because that is how it played out and it could not have played out any other way given the circumstances. Any true prophecy just anticipated it would go down that way.

                    • MarkE . . .

                      There’s nothing in my experience or through my studies that has led me to accept prophecy as anything but fiction (where “prophecy” is equated with the foretelling of future events).

                      As such, the only way I would be able to answer your question is to accept its premise, which I do not.

              • I’ve not read Dawkins, though I have read Hitchens. In my opinion, both are no different than their “opponents” who insist on theism. When it comes to exercising the intellect, pro-theists undercook it, where anti-theists overcook it. With each camp promoting their “religion” with equally exceptional arrogance.

                I care no more for the religion of anti-theists like Dawkins and Hitchens than I do for the religion of entrenched theists.

    • AJG

      Anyway, I suspect that Jesus’ uttering the first verse of Psalm 22 was a literary invention of whomever wrote the Gospel of Mark. It links Jesus’ death with a well-known psalm and “demonstrates” the foreshadowing of Jesus’ death in the Hebrew Bible. Given that the gospels don’t agree on what Jesus’ last words actually were, I don’t think we can read too much into this.

      • Curtis

        If it was a literary invention, then we are *supposed* to read something into it. That is what literary inventions are for.

        If the author were only reporting factual events, a literary invention would not be necessary.

        • NateW

          Awesome. Thank you Curtis.

          For centuries mankind has been discussing the motives/philosophies of 100% fictional characters in literature, reading endless depths of meaning into paintings, and wondering at the endlessly unfolding truth within poetry who’s lines mean almost nothing at first glance….yet some would say that if there is reason to doubt that a part of the Bible is not 100% historical fact it is “absurd.”

  • Jubal DiGriz

    This has never been a question for me. If Jesus was divine, then he would know (without faith!) that we would be resurrected, and by some accounts know that he could resurrected himself. If he was not divine then he did not have the ability to save himself.

    I think a far more interesting question is why did his [i]followers[/i] not save him from the cross? I realize he implicitly told his disciples not to in Gethsemane, but from the gospel narratives it would be safe to assume there were several thousand people who at least thought well of him. Josephus recounts in his autobiography being able to stop the crucifixion of several of his acquaintances.

    If the gospel accounts are taken at face value, then the obvious answers is that there was nobody in Jerusalem who cared enough about Jesus to stick their neck out for them, which shouldn’t sit well with people who think he was such a great an inspiring teacher. There are more nuanced reasons if someone is willing to consider the gospels as more of a narrative, but it still comes down to no rescue attempts were ever considered important enough to be recorded or transmitted by tradition. Why is this the case?

    • Curtis

      I think if Jesus did know he would be resurrection, it makes the entire pretty much meaningless. I mean, all he has to do is hold his breath and grit his teeth for a while if he knows he is going to come out fine on the other side.

      I think there is a greater gap between Jesus and the Father than most Trinitarians want to believe. It is this tension, this disagreement, this argument, that makes the Trinity much more meaningful to me. If each part of the Trinity is all knowing and all accepting and in full harmony and agreement with the other two parts, what is the point of the Trinity? Isn’t it all just one big mash of stuff in complete agreement and harmony? If the Trinity is in complete harmony with itself, it is not a Trinity, it is simply one.

      For me, the point of the Trinity is conflict and disagreement, even while being one. I’m sure Jesus knew he would always be one with the Trinity, but when he decided to become human, he had no way of knowing what form that oneness would take. He gave up his exulted state to be among us. He had no clue what was going to happen next. That is the point!

      • Curtis

        the entire *crucifixion*

    • MarkE

      Interesting insight. His following may have been too small or powerless to mount a defense, but that just makes what happened after his death all the more interesting. The movement quickly took off.

      It is interesting that his death and whatever happened after it had such a profound and longstanding impact. There were other messiahs around that time and they too died. Why did this one take? You have to admit, it was a genius marketing move; he seemed to know it would be, and Paul and others brilliantly capitalized on it. Genius.

  • Ayin

    I always found the “Why have you forsaken me” line to be very comforting. I suffer from depression, you see, and I have certain family members who are not very sympathetic. One in particular went through a phase where she insisted that any feelings of despair I might feel must surely be a sign that I lacked faith in God. As you can imagine, her attitude only made my misery even worse. But, I could always open my Bible and see the proof that she was wrong. There it was, right there in the account of the Crucifixion: Jesus himself had known despair.

  • Maybe Jesus just had enough of the nonsense. I mean think about it, a week before he rides into town on a donkey and the city throws a celebration for him worthy of a king. After their celebration, they eat some kosher matzo crackers, a little kosher lamb chops, drink a ton of wine, and the next thing you know they want to kill the dude and hoist him up on a cross like he’s a trophy deer they killed in Northern Michigan.

    Perhaps Jesus got to the point where he thought that all these people were absolutely nuts.

    That’s how I feel when I go into an evangelical church; I wonder what kind of drug all these people are on.

    Maybe Jesus figured death was a way out and in a theological sense; maybe he believed that his death would help the people by waking them up and getting them to see what crazy nuts they are; i mean come on, they wanted to kill a guy that never did anything to them but love them!

    • Curtis

      “they wanted to kill a guy that never did anything to them but love them!” I agree that this is absolutely one of the points being made.

  • MarkE

    The argument about what to do with ideas that someone may have added to the text after the fact is interesting. Some seem to suggest that since it was added later it has less value and is better off dismissed. It is possible that Jesus did not utter those words on the cross, but the addition of those words do captured something quite compelling – something that added a layer of meaning and a continuing effect of a rather remarkable event/story. That particular addition (if it was) is not a tough one to deal with. It fits with the story itself. It is likely he did feel abandoned, kind of like the psalmist did.

    Same thing with prophesies. So what if the linkage was made after the fact? Sure, you can dismiss the linkage and when you do you get a certain story. But it is also possible that the linkage and after the fact considerations enrich an already interesting story. You could think of them as a manipulation, but it is quite possible that they were prompted by the story itself – sort of natural outgrowth of the story. Generally, bad stories don’t stick and good ones do.

    • IMHO, “some” who “dismiss” something simply because of when it was written are wrong. You and I differ on assumptions about what is true or not, but we seem to agree that it’s a remarkable story.

      For prophesies, it matters a lot if the” linkage was made after the fact”. That makes it NOT a prophecy. It might be part of an arc of human history, a conversation about sacrifice and slavery and loving your enemy that spans generations, but it ain’t prophecy. This doesn’t mean the authors were liars or manipulators either. They were using the literary techniques they knew to communicate something important.

      In this age of seeing video of just about every little sect in the world, it is hard to appreciate how special it is to have these writings of what it was like for the people who were being crucified. We know very little about most oppressed common people throughout history so this story of occupied Palestine is important. Both for its historical value and the personal story that when empires act in the most vile of ways, there are still people who say, they are our neighbors, they are our brothers.

  • I think it goes back to Hebrews 4:15 – “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.”

    Part of this is bridging the gap between God and man. There is a tendency to say to ourselves, “God doesn’t understand what it’s like down here.” But that just isn’t the case. Jesus experienced the worst of what humanity can experience – up to and including profound, unearned suffering and seemingly being abandoned by God. If Jesus had rescued himself from the cross, then there is a good deal of human weakness and suffering which he would never have had to deal with – including death.

    Secondly, one of the things which I love about Christianity is that it dignifies our suffering. Obviously, there are those who have used this as an excuse not to fight suffering and such. But the reality is that all of us are going to suffer – some of us horribly. Not only that, but really following Jesus’ teachings sets you up for a whole lot of suffering which other people, making more prudent choices, will often avoid. By having a savior who was willing to suffer and through his resurrection, our own suffering is no longer a lonely thing- it is something we share with our savior. And no matter how badly we suffer, there is the promise of redemption at the end.

    • Rebecca, you wrote: “Jesus experienced the worst of what humanity can experience – up to and including profound, unearned suffering and seemingly being abandoned by God.

      Being raped as a child.
      Being raped as a woman.
      Being enslaved.
      Radiation poisoning.
      Biological Weapons Poisoning.
      Chemical Weapons Poisoning.
      Cystic Fibrosis.
      Being burned alive.
      Watching Fox News.

      I’d say “the worst” has evolved in two thousands years, leaving plenty of “human weakness and suffering” that he never dealt with.

      The ancient Christian salvation mythology simply no longer resonates.

      • Ric Shewell

        Fox News actual claims to have been at the crucifixion, so… 🙂

      • Curtis

        You do understand allegory, don’t you?

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  • Tony

    There’s a very simple answer to this question – moreover it’s an answer which covers all the bases and doesn’t raise any more questions. Jesus didn’t save himself because he was an ordinary man with no miraculous powers.

    • You’d think that was simple, wouldn’t you? (I mean that in the most general use of the word “you”)

    • Curtis

      I wouldn’t consider throwing away the four-gospel canon “very simple”.

  • Glaivester

    Why could Jesus not show the miracle of being saved from being crucified?

    This is a weird question from the perspective of Christian theology.

    Because if he had, he would not have died for our sins, and our sins would still be on us. He could have, at any time, stopped the crucifixion. He did not, because it was necessary in order to pay for our sins so we could be saved.

    Surely, he expected to be saved, as his last words show: “God, God, why have you forsaken me?”

    His last words were, “it is finished.” His earlier cry, “God, god, why hast thou forsaken me” did not refer to his not being rescued from the cross, but from the separation from a relationship with the Father that he suffered on the Cross. This separation is the penalty for sin. This was, in effect, Jesus experiencing what people experience in Hell. That’s the penalty for sin.