Djesus And The Nature of the Cross

SNL has caused quite a ruckus with its making of Djesus Uncrossed, a satirical twist of Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Django Unchained. 

The video gets its comedic punch from the irony in seeing the non-violent and cross-dead Messiah toting a machine gun and taking out his enemies Rambo style. Many Christians were upset at SNL’s portrayal of Jesus but I couldn’t help but think: Haven’t we brought this on ourselves? Isn’t SNL just forcing us to confront an image of Jesus that is present in much of the way we talk about Jesus as he is going to appear at the Second Coming?

It seems to me that the Jesus of Djesus Unchained is the very one that is revealed in a great deal of conservative Evangelical theology. This is the Jesus who, upon his return, will strike down his enemies in the same way that Caesar strikes down his enemies, namely, with violence and force.

This leads to some important questions concerning how we understand the cross:

  • Was Jesus’ non-violent forgiveness on the cross an actual revelation of who God is or was it a momentary act of grace coming from an otherwise relentless and vengeful God?
  • Is God really as nice as Jesus or was the cross his way of putting off his violent retaliation for another time?

For me the cross indicates that God would rather die than coerce people. In the same way, God would rather forgive than seek revenge. The cross teaches us that God’s power is the power of weakness and frailty. God’s is the power of powerlessness. Rather than being a momentary blip on the radar between the genocidal God of the Israelite conquest and the war-waging God of Revelation, I think that the cross is where our understanding of God comes into sharpest focus which means that the former two images of God must be re-imagined and reinterpreted in light of the latter.

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Here are a few other blogs that I found interesting on the same subject:

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2 responses to “Djesus And The Nature of the Cross

  1. I think you have some good thoughts Garret! I thought I’d just mention a few of my thoughts on this as well…

    Where I start to question when I watched this clip was wasn’t this what the Jews actually desired? Didn’t they desire to have a military leader who would take out the Romans and return the Jews back to their ‘glory’ days, where they were without Roman leadership? And if we were alive back then, most of us would be be considered Gentiles and Romans, NOT the chosen people of Israel….so we would have been part of the target Jesus was against. Once again this leads me to think how God knows what is best for us, and we have to trust in Him.

    I also believe that Jesus is a merciful saviour who came to die for our sins out of love and mercy. For goodness sake one of the most commonly referred to passages in the bible is “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17). Now as a Christian who believes in the absolute truth of the bible, as the the bible was written in the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I can’t not read these verses in John and picture Jesus coming back to earth as a maniac killer. I believe Jesus’ time on earth was not a ‘momentary act’ to show us that you CAN be kind, loving, just, faithful and merciful, but rather Jesus came in earnest of who He is (son of God) to show us HOW to live this life, which is where our focus must lie. Although I do believe there will be great chaos in the second coming of Christ along with sorrow, I do not believe that analyzing or trying to portray what this coming will look like is where our focus should lie, rather as I mentioned before, we must focus on HOW. How are we living today? How are we living for God in our actions and vocations? How are we being Christ’s light to the earth? Where is our heart- have we truly given our lives to Christ and serving Him? Or are we arrogantly trying to be God as we waste time trying to understand what is beyond our human capability of knowledge and understanding? Instead we simply need to live now.

    I hope what I have said doesn’t aggravate anyone, this is not my intent, only to challenge us.

    Take care and God bless.

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