May 20, 2008

Exegesis Without a License

The title serves as warning that this is pure speculation on my part.

It recently occured to me that the most incarnational moment of the Incarnation was our Lord's carrying of the cross.

I can think of at least three times in the gospels where Jesus was sorely tested and in need of relief. One was after forty day fast in the desert, and there were no humans near to console him; the angels did. The second time was the agony in the garden, in which he requested the consolation of humans but the apostles didn't stay awake. The angels came to minister in their stead.

But the third time was different. The third time he was carrying the cross and fell, but no angels came. Instead the reluctant Simon the Cyrenian was pressed into service. This feels more incarnational in the sense that Jesus received some small measure of relief in the form of purely human service instead of angelic ministration. I suppose this is mostly the way God intends our relief - from each other, not from supernatural means. But then I could be wrong and looking at things from a too Pelagianistic view.

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