“This infinite distance between God and God, this supreme tearing apart, this agony beyond all others, this marvel of love, is the crucifixion. Nothing can be further from God than that which has been made accursed.”- Simone Weil, Waiting for God
“I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore, choose life.”- Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV)
As Tina Boesch continues Chapter 9 of Given, she relates how God stressed the concepts of blessing and curse in Deuteronomy. God directed half the tribes of Israel to stand on Mount Gerizim, which symbolized blessing. The other half stood on Mount Ebal, which represented curse. However, no tribe stood in the valley between the two mountains. Because there’s no middle ground.
Thus, God conditioned the covenant in Deuteronomy on the Israelites’ belief and behavior. As a community, they needed to follow every minute detail of the law. So, if Israel couldn’t keep the law and receive the blessing, neither, Tina asserts, can we. Therefore, the curse of the law Paul refers to in Galatians 3:13 harkens back to the litany of curses found in Deuteronomy.
Consequently, as Martin Luther explained, Jesus did more than carry the curse on His shoulders. In addition, Jesus took the curse into His being:
“Holy Writ does not say that Christ was under the curse. It says directly that Christ was made a curse. . . . Although this and similar passages may be properly explained by saying that Christ was made a sacrifice for the curse and for sin, yet in my judgment it is better to leave these passage stand as they read: Christ was made sin itself; Christ was made the curse himself.”
Finally, Tina shares Eugene Peterson’s (The Message) rendering of Galatians 3:13 – “Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself.”
Today’s question: For you, how does Jesus’ death on the cross close this infinite distance between God and God? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Shadow of the cross – the blessing of peace”