(The conclusion of a short series: comparing four views of the cross from the four Gospel writers.)
“John ‘spiritualizes’ the cross more than the synoptic [Matthew, Mark and Luke] authors do, stressing the intimate connection between Jesus’ crucifixion and his exaltation. The life of the Son of God is best understood as a journey: he comes from his preexistent state in heaven, dwells among women and men, then returns to heaven. In essence, John overcomes the scandal of the cross by interpreting in terms of Jesus’ exaltation (12.32-36). Of spiritual significance for believers are the moments on the cross when Jesus confers a familial relationship on the beloved disciple and Mary, then gives up his spirit (19.26, 30). Orthodox Christian faith sees the establishment of the Church and Christian tradition in these acts. Christian spirituality is thus understood to be informed by Jesus’ spirit.” The New Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, “Cross and Spirituality”, Elizabeth Koenig, p. 221.
I think we can agree that John’s take on the cross (and so much else about Jesus) is a bit different than the other Gospel writers – but we love his perspective all the same.
As you remember reading John’s description of the cross, how do you relate to what Koenig wrote? I found the Orthodox conferring of the spirit part most intriguing.
This concludes the short series comparing the four Gospels and four views on the cross. I hope the brevity and the resource was helpful. I enjoyed thinking through this myself.