Tony Jones has a great piece up on Patheos which gives an introduction into atonement theory – basically, why did Jesus die for my sins? How did that work? This is a great companion to our conversation on Tuesday night at the pub, as we wondered why Jesus asked God to “take this cup from me” in the Garden of Gethsemane. Was there another way? Numerous theologians, scholars, and faithful Christians have struggled to answer it over the years. Tony lays out two major views and looks at a couple of others.
Christians know why Jesus died: He died for our sins. That’s what we’re taught from the earliest days of Sunday school.
And we all know how he died: A particularly gruesome form of public execution known as crucifixion.
But many Christians are less sure of how it works. How is it that Jesus’ death accomplishes the forgiveness of my sin? By what cosmic mechanism does that take place?
In other words, there comes a time in every Christian’s life when the Sunday School answer, “Jesus died for my sins,” falls short. We want to know how it works.
Read more at Patheos.
Where do I stand? Like Tony, I love the “solidarity” idea. For one, it integrates Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection into a whole message of God’s love. The other views, while I think they are very interesting and give some different insights, tend to push Jesus’ ministry into the background. They overemphasize a single event in Jesus’ life. If he just needed to die for us to save us, why bother spending all that time on earth anyway? Why bother teaching and healing all those people? Just show up and get killed.
What’s your view on this? Do you understand how it works? Share a comment on the story here – I’d love to reflect with you.