The Crucifixion and the Exodus

Jesus suffered and died. Theologically this is our foundation. His suffering and death are the means to our salvation. 

Jesus is our redeemer. This word is used a great deal. In Hebrew, the word for redeemer, gō’ēl, is a kinsman protector, a family member who is powerful and works to protect the family. (5) Think of Jesus as a brother, who is a warrior with all the weapons who comes to save and protect you. 

Look at the crucifixion from another angle. 

It’s integrally linked to the Passover, the beginning of the Exodus. 

Jesus is crucified during Passover when all of his people were remembering that God freed them out of slavery. Jesus is the Passover lamb (2 Cor 5:7-8) and like the blood on the doorposts to ward off the angel of death, Jesus blood redeems us (Eph 1:7). His suffering and death reconciled all things in heaven and on earth and we have peace through his shed blood (Col 1:20). The Passover began the Exodus, a journey to become a new people in a new reality. 

The Exodus shows God’s value for both freedom and community. The release of the captives is not just about political freedom (6); the liberation, journey, and the giving of the law were aimed at the formation of community. (7) This new covenant community is characterized by the sanctity of human life and justice through their social and legal structures . (8) Not just manumission, but liberation. 

Liberation is freedom with rights and responsibilities, full social and economic opportunities. This liberation and the surety of being under the leadership of God Almighty moved the people from a state of oppression and anxiety to a place of abundance and hope in a new community. In freedom the people could organize social power and social goods for the common benefit of the community. (10) 

The Exodus provides the primary model of God’s act of redemption, not just in the first testament, but also in the person and work of Jesus. (11) Christopher Wright comments that: 

“YHWH is the exodus God. YHWH is the God who hates what he sees and acts decisively to bring down the oppressor and release the oppressed so that both come to know him, either in the heat of his judgment or in glad worship and service. YHWH is the faithful God, who calls to mind the things he has promised, the purposes he has declared, the mission to which he is committed. YHWH is the God who will not stand by to watch these great goals snuffed out by the stubborn recalcitrance of genocidal tyrants . . . . The exodus is the model. It is a prime lens through which we see the biblical mission of God.” (12)

God liberates and cannot be limited by systems and ideologies. God’s sovereignty is not about arbitrary power, but about relationship with the community. (13) The exodus must be seen then as action based on relationship. Divine compassion leads to divine action. (14)

Jesus is God’s divine compassion. 

His life, healings, teachings, the cross, and resurrection are God’s divine action. 

Jesus came to “set captives free” (Luke 4:16-19 and completes the work of freedom in every way for everyone. 

We are not just “set free”. God liberates and creates in us new futures. 

From slaves to sons and daughters. 

From despair to hope. 

From loneliness to community. 

All because of Jesus. 

 

Thanks be to God! 

 

Sources:

5 Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God, (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2006), 266ff.
6 Ibid, 284.
7 Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination, 17.
8 Wright, 269.
9 http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/liberation (accessed April 10, 2015).
10
 Brueggemann, The Journey to the Common Good, p. 23.
11 Wright, 263.
12  Ibid., 275.
13 Sharon H. Ringe, Jesus, Liberation, and the Biblical Jubilee (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985), 96.
14 Grenz, 95. See Isa 63:7; Ps. 78:38; 2 Chron 36:15.

 

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