The Last Word


From Allan Boesak and Curtiss DeYoung’s Radical Reconciliation: “In 2 Corinthians 5, Paul alluded to a life-changing encounter with a resurrected Jesus that occurred on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 3–16). Paul encountered the crucified one—now alive! Biblical scholar Corneliu Constantineanu notes, “The experience on the Damascus road introduced a radically new element into Paul’s symbolic universe: Jesus of Nazareth, crucified in Jerusalem, appears to Paul as alive, confronting Paul with a reality he could not deny—Jesus was raised by God.” An act of brutal finality by Rome’s state-sponsored terrorism was reversed by a more powerful and completely just God. Biblical scholars John Crossan and Jonathan Reed write, “On the one hand, (Paul’s) theology would not be the same if Christ had simply died in his bed and been raised thereafter by God…. It was not simply death and resurrection. It was execution by Rome and therefore resurrection against Rome.” The cross, for first-century followers of Jesus, became both “the signature in history of the forces that killed Jesus” and the symbol of hope for freedom from the forces of domination. Paul’s declaration of reconciliation through the cross and resurrection of Jesus was a bold claim that liberation was available from the effects of colonialism and the deconstruction of systems of oppression was possible. The Empire does not have the final word!”



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