Advent Reflections: Baby Jesus, Mature Jesus, Crucified Jesus, Cosmic Christ
It is relatively easy for most of us to believe in Jesus as a sweet babe in the manger and to dwell on this peaceful image. However, Jesus matures and later resists the Empire’s Kings and Caesars and their oppression and social injustices. This mature rebel Jesus can be much more difficult for many to accept.
Jesus’ entire birth, life, death, and resurrection were in resistance to the ways of this worldly Imperialistic Empire, and its systems of power, control, domination, and violence.
Jesus, and his family, were under the Empire’s suffocating control from the moment of his birth on the dirt floor of that animal stall with only some straw as a blanket. They had traveled to Bethlehem for the King’s census so the King could know all that he possessed, controlled, and dominated in his Empire. Then they had to suddenly flee to Egypt to escape the King’s infanticide which was an effort to kill the baby Jesus to eliminate his threat to the Empire.
Jesus’ entire adult ministry was in resistance to the contemporary religious and political powers of that time that imposed the letter of the law and not it’s spirit thereby oppressing and marginalizing all the common people of that time and place in often the most cruel ways.
Jesus’ radical resistance was his Good News of the kingdom of God, and its’ alternative community, grounded in grace, love, mercy, distributive justice, peace, and hope! At this time, oppressed people were clamoring for a Messiah who would be their King and vanquish the worldly Empire of the Kings and Emperors. The authorities were afraid that Jesus might be this ‘King of the people’ that they were waiting for and thus saw him as a threat leading to his being constantly under the suspicion and surveillance of the authorities and ultimately resulting in his cruel crucifixion on the cross.
At the time of his coming before the authorities and being crucified, because Jesus had not violently destroyed the kings and their Empires but rather demonstrated peaceful resistance, he was mocked, spat on, scourged, whipped, stripped, denied, abandoned, and killed in the most cruel way possible by the Empire, its religious collaborators, and those same people who called him Messiah.
Because the Cosmic Christ, the savior and hope of the world, never stops resisting the evil Empires of this world and never stops calling for the peaceful, diverse, inclusive neighborly community of God’s kin-dom, we must never stop witnessing and resisting the contemporary Empire of today’s world where we now live and are all still pawns in the oppressor’s control and domination.
This Advent, be a witness and resist the ways of this world, its’ Empires, and their systems of domination which separate us from God! It is the Christ-like thing to do all year long.
Herb Stone, here&now working poetry
photo ‘Snow in the Little Wood’ by Herb Stone