It seems that not all Christians buy into the idea of "penal substitutionary atonement"--that Jesus' death was a blood sacrifice that cleanses the sins of those who believe: Washed in His Blood, My Ass
, by Kimberly Knight.
First of all is the deeply disturbing (and some would say heretical) idea of a God that would NEED a sacrifice of one innocent to pay for the sins of the rest of our sorry asses. A blood thirsty God is frankly a warped vision of the Divine cast in our own vengeful image. Second is the more esoteric question of HOW exactly such a sacrifice would pay for “sins”? There simply has been no answer to this question that I have encountered in my reading, praying, discerning life that satisfactorily answers this big fat how.
But about the Cross – we are not washed clean by his blood, we are convicted as a cruel and blind race that will execute our God when God comes to us as a poor man healing on the sabbath, overturning the worship of mammon in the temple, confronting the religious elite and and challenging the authority of the state.
We are not saved by the crucifixion, we are damned by it – or we could have been. Let us face that shameful dark day and accept our culpability – knowing that if Jesus returned today to preach the gospel to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed His blood would likely run in rivulets once again. And let us move through that desolate Saturday knowing what we have done. And let us arise on Easter surprised by Grace.