Good Friday Meditations- Christus Victor

Good Friday Meditations: Christus Victor

Today’s meditation on the atonement of Christ, like our first reflection in this series, confronts the universal problem of evil, pain, and suffering. Whereas our first model dealt with human suffering on a personal and individual level, our model today deals with suffering on a universal and cosmic level.The focus here is on both corporate evil (large-scale injustices, oppression, violence, coercion, greed, exploitation) and natural evil (disease, sickness, natural disasters, hostility in the animal kingdom). Christus Victor was the predominate model of the early church, and it is emphasized throughout the writings of the New Testament.

The Model of Christus Victor

Metaphorical Reflection:

A great military leader wins a decisive battle over an oppressive kingdom in order that his people might be liberated from the pain and suffering caused by this tyrannical foreign power. The victory brings peace, order, and prosperity to a weary and encumbered people. They are now able to rebuild and start again, to recover what was lost and to hope for a better tomorrow.  

Theology:

We see three stages of victory in the life of Christ Jesus: (1) Throughout his public ministry, he healed diseases, casted out demons, calmed storms, and opposed unjust religious and political structures; (2) on the cross, he triumphed over the power of death and overcame the separation from life that death brings; (3) in his resurrection, Jesus conquered the pain, suffering, frailty, and fallenness of creation. Christ did all of these things on behalf of us and for us. For his triumphs are our triumphs, whether they are experienced in time or in eternity.

Through the victories of Christ, the Holy Spirit is working in the world to redeem, transform, renew, and recreate all things in the image of God! This is the destiny of creation. For us, it entails the hope of the glorification of our entire beings. In terms of the cosmos, it involves the hope of the glorification of all created things—even a new heaven and a new earth.   

Biblical Meditations:

  • Eph 6:12 (cosmic, spiritual battle against both corporate & natural evil) 
  • Col 2:13-15 (Jesus conquers evil on behalf of and for humanity) 
  • Heb 2:9-18 (Christ overcomes the “power” and “fear” of death)
  • Rom 8:18-25 (the renewal of the cosmos on the basis of the cross & resurrection)
  • Rev 21:1-4 (new heaven and new earth through the work of “the lamb that was slain and was raised,” Jesus Christ, our Lord) 

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