The Significance of the Sacrifice of Christ

This weekend I gave myself a nasty cut on my right hand pinky finger. Needless to say, this makes typing and other normal activities frustratingly difficult (it’s right on the middle knuckle so I’m not supposed to bend it). It was one of those instances where I’m thankful I married a nurse. Anyways, while I was trying not to vomit or pass out (I don’t do so well with injuries), I started comparing the amount of pain I was experiencing with that with which Christ suffered. Then I realized that I could not think of one reference concerning the death of Jesus that drew it’s significance from the amount of suffering he endured. I had been reading some Pietistic literature which did just that (though, to be fair, they inherited it from late Medieval spirituality), and I was reared in just such an environment. However, I think the New Testament draws the significance of Christ’s death from the quality (i.e., innocent, sacrificial, etc…) rather than the quantity (i.e., he suffered so much). If the emphasis was on the quantity, then wouldn’t we have to say that Jesus never got scratched or an upset stomach? Would that not lead to an intolerable docetism? I wonder how our spirituality would be different if the focus was on the quality of the suffering.

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