Midrash in the Moment: Questions about the Cross

Jason Micheli —  April 8, 2014 — 4 Comments

chagallThis Sunday is Palm/Passion Sunday, the day which kicks off a week’s attention to the passion story.

There’s a sense in which the Gospels themselves are extended Passion stories. That’s certainly true of Mark and John’s Gospels.

And yet for all the attention given to the cross, the Gospel writers do not make anything about the cross self-evident.

There’s no neon footnotes shouting ‘This is what IT means.’

The confusion gets compounded by the fact that the Passion stories are layered with biblical allusions and imagery.

So it’s not surprising that the cross would provoke questions.

This weekend for my sermon I will use a format I’ve affectionately termed ‘Midrash in the Moment.’ 

Midrash = commentary on scripture.

 I want to tackle some of questions people have about the cross, Jesus’ last week, Christ’s passion and the atonement. 

So email me a question by 5:00 PM EST at jamicheli@mac.com.

Or leave one in the comments section below or submit a question via the Speakpipe on the right of your screen.

I’ll put all the questions in a bingo tumbler and tackle them at random during the sermon time. 

Jason Micheli

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4 responses to Midrash in the Moment: Questions about the Cross

  1. My question concerns the episode from Holy Thursday where Jesus retreats to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. The synoptic Gospels describe intense emotion and stress that Jesus is undergoing, to the point that he prays to the Father “Take this cup away from me,” referring to the suffering and death to come the following day. Does Jesus really have a choice here to go against the Father’s will? Does it matter whether Jesus has free will to choose? What can we learn about the nature of Jesus from this particular episode?

  2. When Jesus said – why have you foresaken me-was he totally human at that point? It would seem to me that if he were both human and God, he would not have to ask that question. Did he think he was god and suddenly discover he was only human and no help was coming?

    • A really good question! How Psalm 22 relates to the cross is one of my favorite points to reflect upon. I put a different question to Rabbi Brett this Tuesday at Pub Theology. I’ll make sure this gets in the ringer and hopefully I’ll have time to think through it.
      I like to think I can make a good case for any number of answers without being convinced of any of them myself.

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