Why is Jesus truly unique in the entire history of religions

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In a way that no religion or philosophy has dared to imagine, Jesus died humiliated, abandoned by men and by God, among sinners. The second characteristic feature of the figure of Jesus contrasts completely with the claim to divinity. It is about the extreme humiliation of Jesus in the hour of his passion.  Here we touch on the absolute paradox of the disfigured figure of Christ.

He who made the exorbitant claim to be God’s own Son dies in the silence of God, apparently abandoned by “his” Father: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? » ( Mk 15:34 ). This cry is borrowed from Psalm 22, of which Jesus proclaimed with a loud voice the first verse; it so impressed the listeners that Mark, like Matthew, reports it in the original language, Aramaic: Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtani?

The absolute paradox

The paradox is total. The one who gathered the crowds and led disciples behind him dies alone, abandoned, and even disowned, betrayed by his own. The living par excellence (“I am life”) is counted among the dead. The innocent par excellence, the saint of God — “Which of you will convict me of sin? » ( Jn 8:46 ) – dies like one without God, in the solitude and distress of sinners. He who claimed to be the very expression of the Father (“He who sees me, sees the Father”) and whom Saint John calls the Word or the Word of God, here he is reduced to the silence of death. The Almighty, whose works amazed the crowds, can no longer do anything, he is reduced to impotence and responds nothing to those who accuse him or question him ( Mk 15, 4-5 ) as to those who mockingly invite him to save himself by coming down from the cross ( Mk 15:29-32 ). He who presented himself as a spring of living water springing up into eternal life ( Jn 7:37-39 and 4:13-14 ) agonizes, murmuring: “I am thirsty” ( Jn 19:28 ). Who will ever measure the extreme opposition, the absolute contrast of such a paradox?

Humiliating death at the heart of its mission

This trait, too, is unique. Certainly, the mythical universe is familiar with the idea of ​​the suffering god and even the dying god. But this is precisely a mythical conception and not an assertion concerning a specific man in history. Furthermore, suffering is understood as a marginal ordeal that temporarily masks the beauty of the immortal god. Jesus, on the other hand, goes to death at the heart of his mission. He walks towards his hour, towards the formidable baptism of his Passion, as towards the decisive test where everything is at stake: “I must be baptized with a baptism, and how oppressed I am until everything is completed” ( Lk 12:50 ). He goes so resolutely and with such terrible lucidity that the disciples are appalled: “They were on their way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus walked before them; and they were afraid, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the Twelve with him again, he began to tell them what was going to happen to him: “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him. to death, and they will hand him over to the nations, and they will mock him, and they will spit on him, and they will scourge him, and they will kill him, and three days later he will rise again” ( Mk 10:32-34 ).

The only humbled God in history

Judaism is the only one, among the pre-Christian religions, that was aware of the personal action of God in history. But he did not glimpse the reality of the crucified God. indeed the enigmatic picture of a suffering Servant, crushed by the ordeal and saving In the Book of Isaiah, we find the multitude after having borne the sin of the guilty. But Israel would never have identified this servant with the glorious figure of the messiah and, even less, with a divine person. The Gospels also enlighten us on the difficulties that Jesus experienced, even among his disciples, in getting his contemporaries to accept the idea of ​​a spiritual messianism whose accomplishment would come, not through a political triumph, but through an abyss of suffering prelude to the emergence of a new world, that of resurrection.

The Suffering Servant

This explains the paradox that it is in the Old Testament and not in the New that we find the most astonishing description of the second characteristic feature of the figure of Jesus, namely his extreme humiliation at the hour of his passion. It is worth rereading this page, one of the most moving in the Jewish Bible, where the prophet describes the suffering Servant and glimpses the fruit of his passion, even if the veil which covers this mysterious face only lifts when we contemplate in Jesus this “Face full of sweat and blood” that Bach celebrated in his Passion according to Saint Matthew. So read or reread  Isaiah 52, 13 to 53, 12.

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