Collision course

Jesus' final week
If, as John’s Gospel suggests, Jesus went regularly to the annual festivals of his people in Jerusalem, what was so different that last time that it resulted in his execution? If, as Mark’s Gospel suggests, he only went there once, why did he do it then? What, in other words, was Jesus’ intention in making what proved to be his final, fatal visit to Jerusalem and its Temple that Passover of 30 CE?

One answer was given in Mel Gibson’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ. Jesus’ intention, according to that film, was to sacrifice his life as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world and thereby obtain vicarious forgiveness for us all. Since God was offended by human sin, and since human beings were an inadequate subject for divine punishment, only a divine victim, the Son of God, was fully appropriate to suffer in our place.


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