Act 4 The Resurrection

At issue in the Resurrection is not just life after death but, first of all, the question that had remained unanswered at Jesus' death: Who was right? The crucified, who had appealed to his "Abba"; or his opponents, who had also acted in the name of Israel's God? Through the Resurrection, God now clearly acknowledges the one the people had condemned and crucified, thereby proving himself to be the God of Jesus Christ and thus also to be a God of radical nonviolence. Seen retrospectively in the light of this revelation, the silence of the heavenly Father at the Crucifixion makes perfect sense. If God had intervened in order to save his son, he would have had to act powerfully, thus effacing the freedom of his opponents. He would have contradicted the message of nonviolence through his own acts of power. The permission even of innocent suffering, therefore, is the price for the radical nonviolence of a God who seeks to win over the hearts of his creatures by their own free will, never intending to coerce or even oppress them.

The words "peace be with you," with which the risen one greeted his disciples, further confirmed God's boundless willingness to forgive. Jesus had already made this known in his basileia message; but through his judgment speech, the impression could have been given that this was restricted. His disciples were in need of renewed forgiveness. In contrast to the people, they had, during his earthly ministry, gained a deeper insight into their master's mystery and yet, in the decisive hour, they deserted and betrayed him. If anyone had personally and individually become guilty at his downfall, it was his disciples; so that the judgment parable of the wicked tenants could, first of all, have been applied to them. This parable portrays the owner of a vineyard who, at first, stands out because of his incomprehensible forbearance and benevolence and who, upon the killing of his slaves, even risks his son. Yet when he too gets killed, the master's forbearance turns into its opposite, and he orders for the wicked, murdering tenants to be killed (cf. Mark 12: 1-10). This judgment parable points to Jesus' destiny, and in accordance with the action of the owner of the vineyard, Easter should have been an hour of judgment. Yet the exact opposite happened. Precisely those who had become the guiltiest were once again offered peace and forgiveness. The God of Jesus Christ thus proves to be much more forbearing than the master in the parable of the wicked tenants; not even by the killing of his own son is he provoked to wrath. This confirms and deepens the interpretation of the words of judgment sketched in the second act, which is also suggested by the parable's final word: "The very stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner; this was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes" (Mark 12: 10-11).

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