Summary: To speak of the Paradoxes of the Passion is to disclose the very center of that which is the object of our faith. Paradoxes of the Passion call us to look past the shallowness of man & see the Crucifixion of Christ from God's perspective. For the death
PARADOXES OF THE PASSION
As a Christian reads this text we can't help but be confronted with Paradoxes of the Passion. A paradox defines a statement which superficially seem to be contradictory, impossible, even absurd, yet beyond the superficial is in reality true. A paradox seems to contradict commonly accepted opinion or be inconsistent with common sense and yet is nevertheless factual. To speak of the Paradoxes of the Passion is to disclose the very center of that which is the object of our faith. Paradoxes of the Passion call us to look past the shallowness of man and see the Crucifixion of Christ from God's perspective. For the death of Christ was not what it superficially seemed.
The word paradox (( , contrary to opinion) comes from the Greek word para [ ] which means "along side of or beyond," and the word doxa [from , "to suppose or to seem to be."] which means "opinion, recognition or thinking." Therefore a paradox is something which is beyond our normal thinking or opinion. And yet it is a certainty that whether we use that word paradox or not, we are saved and redeemed by the Paradoxes of Jesus' Passion; for you see things were not as they seemed.
Taticus, the Roman historian, states concerning Judea during the whole life and ministry of Jesus; His trial, His crucifixion and His resurrection, one sentence "nothing of significance happen in that time during those days." That is a paradox. The greatest historian of the era could say that nothing of importance happen in Judea when Jesus walked the earth & gave His life for mankind. And yet our minds are riveted on that day and that life as the center of time and eternity.
These Paradoxes force the understanding of the Cross of Jesus outside our natural human logic and value system. Friends, to the natural man, there is no coercive value in the Cross of Christ. It alone will not constrain you, it will not compel, it will not force you. It stands there the great paradox, justice out of injustice, light out of darkness, healing out of wounds, life out of death. And it calls on you, to believe that God was at work in that mysterious paradox. The great paradox of the Cross consists of many less conspicuous paradoxes, a few of which time will permit us to see today. Our first puzzle is:
I. THE PARADOX OF STRENGTH OUT OF WEAKNESS, 22-23.
Those who stood before the Cross did not see that paradox and they missed the moment. And if you and I do not see that paradox we will miss the message. The Paradox is strength out of weakness.
Let us first look at His weakness on the way, or on The Via Dolorosa. Verse 22 reads, "And they bear Him up to the place Golgotha, which is being translated, Place of the Skull."
Most of this passage is in the vivid present tense. Even though in the KJV we find past tense words, Mark writes the story as if it is occurring before Him and us. They carry Him, they crucify Him, they divide His garments, they are wagging their heads. Like waves that crash in and over again and again so Mark portrays the drama before us.
The soldiers "are bearing Him." The word translated "bring" in the KJV, ( , ) means literally to bear or to carry Him, not to bring or lead Him. However He may have left with His cross, the witness of Mark is that in the way He staggered under it and even though they had pressed Simon of Cyrene into the service of carrying His cross, the contingent of soldiers were eventually forced to carry the staggering Christ through the streets of Jerusalem. To better educate more of the populace those to be crucified were taken the longest - not the shortest - way to the place of execution outside the city walls (Jn.14:20).
Here is the first paradox of the passion. He who bore the sins of all of us not only had to have someone else carry the cross but He Himself had to be carried [or borne along]. Hebrews 1:3 says, "He upholds all things by the Word of His power." He who bears (carries) all things by the Word of His power, had Himself to be borne on the way. He that carried the sins of the world had to be carried. That's the first Paradox of the Passion. They bore Him who would bear the sins of the world in His own body on the tree.
The weakness of the way is attached to this ugly word, Golgotha. The original Hebrew [Aramaic], Galgutha, has a gargling, gurgling, guttural sound. It sounds like death itself. Marks translates it into Greek as "Kraniontopos" which means literally "the topography of a cranium." In the Latin it is "Calvaria" from where we get Calvary. But the word is at its worst in its ugly guttural sound, Galgutha, where there He dies in the paradox of strength out of weakness.