Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Caird and the Quote of the Day
Jesus believed that Israel had been called to be God’s saved and saving nation, the agent through whom God intended to assert his sovereignty over the rest of the world, and that the time had come when God was summoning the nation once for all to take its place in his economy as the Son of Man. His teaching was something more than individual piety and ethics, it was a national way of life through which alone God’s purpose could be implemented. The nation must choose between the way of Jesus and all other possible alternatives, and on its choice depended its hope for a national future. For nothing but the thoroughgoing change of heart which Jesus demanded and made possible could in the end keep the nation out of disastrous conflict with Rome. If the nation would not listen to him, it must pay the consequences; but he at least, and anyone else who would share it with him, must fulfil the destiny of the Son of Man. But so deeply does he love his nation, so fully is he identified with its life, so bitterly does he regret what he sees coming upon it, that only death can silence his reiterated and disturbing appeal. He goes to his death at the hands of a Roman judge on a charge of which he was innocent and his accusers, as the event proved, were guilty. And so, not only in theological truth but in historic fact, the one bore the sins of the many, confident that in him the whole Jewish nation was being nailed to the cross, only to come to life again in a better resurrection, and that the Day of the Son of Man which would see the end of the old Israel would see also the vindication of the new (22).
One can definitely see why this essay was so formative for Caird' s student, N.T. Wright in his own work, Jesus and the Victory of God. It is one more indication that in biblical scholarship, we all stand on the shoulders of giants.