Entering the Passion of Jesus– Part Fourteen

Entering the Passion of Jesus– Part Fourteen March 18, 2019

Q. I found your interpretation of the rending of the temple veil intriguing— you say it is a sign of God mourning over the coming loss of his Son (p. 135)? And so it is not a follow up to Ezekiel’s ‘the spirit of God left the building’, leaving the building to be destroyed later? Frankly, I like your interpretation rather better. You draw an analogy with the rending of a garment in mourning. So… does God see Jesus’ death as a tragedy? Why then does Jesus pray about his abandonment on the cross? These stories prompt deep questions. What was the cup Jesus asked to pass from him— the cup of God’s judgment as in Isaiah and elsewhere?

A. In Mark (and Matthew) Jesus speaks the opening of Psalm 22; that is a “lament of an individual” psalm, and like others in that genre, both demands that G-d respond and proclaims that a gracious response is coming. As with Deuteronomy 15, Jesus gives the opening verse, and it is our responsibility to fill in the rest. If we begin with the premise that Jesus is G-d’s son, then we must see the Father in mourning. More, if we take the veil incident as suggesting that G-d, like Elvis, left the building, then the continual reverence shown by Jesus’ followers to the Temple, especially by Paul, makes no sense.

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