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Final One-page Reflection: Who is Jesus?

The Good Shepherd & the ScapegoatOver the course of the semester we have examined various images of Jesus.  I find myself drawn a few in particular to Denny Weaver’s Narrative Christus Victor, with its nonviolent overcoming of the systemic evils of the world and to the empathic subjective view of the atonement through which the sacrifice of Jesus and his ability to identify with the suffering of humanity elicit a response of love and transformation.

At first I felt that this would require an Antiochene Jesus who could know the sufferings of humanity and gradually come into his divinity. However, I find Placher’s redefinition of Divinity which allows for the possibility that God could experience suffering, alienation and doubt a satisfying alternative formulation. If I accept Placher’s view, then I am able to also accept an Alexandrian model of a Jesus who perfectly embodies communion with the Divine, maintaining a constant connection with God within his consciousness (psychological incarnation) and showing God’s presence to the world through his words and actions (representative incarnation). And because this God can suffer, my own capacity to experience suffering or alienation or doubt is not a flaw, but rather a part of the imago dei with which I am wonderfully and fearfully made.

This Jesus who was obedient even unto death on a cross, whom God then raised from the dead, breaking the power of sin and death over this world, fills me with courage and a desire to emulate the reckless abandon of the one who spoke truth to power and triumphed over might through a meek and steadfast display of God’s love for us all.

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