On Easter Sunday CNN published an OpEd that I wrote to discuss how so many Christians (most I’ve ever known) are not overly compelled by Good Friday but are passionate about Easter. Just, well, check out the church attendance on both days. In the OpEd I argued that it’s because as a rule most Christians prefer the glory to the pain, and in some ways that preference is written into the canon of the New Testament, where the teachings of Jesus of the need to serve others even if it means suffering comes first and then Revelation where the saints are given domination of the earth and a city of gold from which they rule the earth with a rod of iron comes last. The reality is that most Christians prefer the conquering Christ of Revelation to the suffering Jesus of the Gospels — at least when it comes to what they want to see in their own lives.
CNN has a policy that does not allow me to reproduce the entire OpEd, just the opening bit. Here it is, with a link to the whole thing. I hope you find it interesting.
Good Friday and Easter Sunday celebrate two events that the disciples of Jesus never saw coming. In our Gospels, they did not accept what he repeatedly said: His goal in life was to die. And they were to follow his example.
The disciples instead believed Jesus was the powerful Messiah — the one who would destroy God’s enemies and establish his kingdom here on earth, with himself at its head. They assumed he was going to Jerusalem the final week of his life to be coronated. When he entered the holy city, he would come in conquest. The crowds would hail him as the king to come, sent by God to deliver them in fulfillment of prophecy.
But he raised no army, and at the end of the week the crowd turned. Jesus was unceremoniously arrested, tried and publicly tortured to death. The disciples’ hopes were brought to a brutal end.