Ivy made me laugh when she referred to Jesus as submitting to death, then added in a parenthetical, “Well, inconvenience, really.”
As a Christian, I admit that confuses me too. Assuming Jesus knew in advance he’d “come out the other side” of death, then dying amounted to a whole lot of pain but not the same finality as death for the rest of us. And the Gospels seem united in Jesus having predicted he’d rise again after three days.
Therefore I went through a while when I wondered if it was something of a charade, or maybe Jesus showing us how it should be done, or wondering if Jesus made the predictions but didn’t understand them himself (the human part of him, in other words, not fully comprehending the divine part of him) but now I’m going to play with a new theory.
One of our understandings of God is that God is immutable. The same now and forever, unchanging.
But Jesus was fully human too, and Matthew says that while growing up, Jesus grew in wisdom and strength. So we can accept that Jesus as a human being was capable of change.
Do you remember about a month ago, I asked if souls “go autumn” before dying? If the soul in the natural order of things begins to pull away from the edges of the body a bit, detaching itself, changing and beautifying the way autumn leaves turn, and in that way makes itself ready for death? What if we take it one step further and ask ourselves if dying creates an indelible mark on the soul?
Baptism supposedly imparts an indelible character to the human soul, and the waters of baptism are supposed to symbolize death. What I’m saying isn’t that far out of bounds.
What if by subjecting himself to death, Jesus was willing to take on himself that indelible character? And therefore, by loving us, Jesus allowed us to change him? Or rather, God allowed that change to one part of the Godhead?
It feels heretical to postulate this, but in a way it makes sense. Love means opening ourselves to change for the sake of the person we love, and Jesus died for love of us. Death might transform a soul in some fashion. It makes sense that the human part of Jesus would have taken on that transformation, whatever it is and in whatever form it might be, and retained that even after resurrection.
Maybe that final submission was in allowing death to touch him in whatever way death does, and he still bears that touch. Not as a flaw, but as a next-stage thing, the way an apple seed becomes an apple tree, and yet they look nothing alike.
Hebrews says that Jesus was like us in all things but sin. Jesus didn’t endure a natural death, but an early, violent one. He had no time to “go autumn,” and maybe that makes the death-tinting of his soul even more stark?
Too many musings. It feels like I’m missing something here. I’m sure there are flaws in what I’ve said, and I’m also sure my readers won’t hesitate to point them all out to me. In fact, I hope you will.