No matter how detailed or imaginative I might get. Being able to reconstruct the days and months after Jesus’ crucifixion would always be limited by my contextual lens. For example: I can only build up some rough idea of the jaded emotions, confusion and amazement of Jesus’ disciples at the time.

This is backed up by the fact that the judgement about whether speculation can serve our understanding of history is still to be decided upon. It can serve a purpose in the scientific method, but only as far as forming the question and creating a reasonable hypothesis are concerned. In other words conclusions based on speculation without parameters is shaky ground. If not down right dodgy.

{I have a ton of my own jaded emotions to keep in check and consequently need to be on constant guard against what theologians call eisegesis (an exegetical fallacy where a person reads their own ideas into the text).}

It’s worth adding that speculation can take us away from the meaning and message of the actual texts or equivalent oral history. Critical thinking gives way to assumption. Assumption gives way to murky conspiracy theories, unjustifiable anxieties, misunderstandings, mistakes, so on and so on.

Which is one of the reasons why being apprehended by God is not the same as comprehending God. We are, like the first Christians, grasped in the midst of our inability to grasp. Sometimes all we need to do is stop and listen.

As Karl Barth said it:

‘Put the question to God Himself and listen to the answer He gives’ (CD. II/1, p.321)

Take for instance the days after the resurrection: ‘Jesus came and stood among the disciples and said to them, ”Peace be with you.” When He had said this, he showed them His hands and side.’ – (John 20:19-20, ESV)

Or the post-apocalyptic[ii] allegiance of Cornelius: ‘a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God.’ (Acts 10, ESV)

It is at this time of year the world is once again reminded that  ‘the “living hope” of Christians (1 Pet 1:3) is not the “coming” (parousia) of Jesus, but rather his revelation or apocalypse (apokalypsis; 1 Pet 1:7, 13).'[i]

Our hope is not solely resting on a when? It is resting on a who, why, what and how. A witness relayed to us not just by one witness, but by many.

All of which kneels squarely at the feet of Jesus Christ. Where we are confronted by what God freely chose to do and what God, in His good pleasure, promises to complete.

May we be more like Cornelius.




[i] Martin, R. P., & Davids, P. H. (Eds.). 1997 In Dictionary of the later New Testament and its developments (electronic ed.). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[ii] As explained by Martin & Davis, apocalypse in koine Greek reads as ‘revelation’; unveiling or revealing. Even though it’s not complete in its definition, since we are still in a time of grace. Both meanings adequately fit the post-resurrection. Therefore, I consider the use of the term post-apocalyptic justifiable as long as it is done so with qualification.

Artwork is mine. Made using some old materials an airbrush & some paint.

Song: Newsboys, ‘Cornelius‘ from the album ‘Thrive’

One thought on “Cor-kneel-i-us


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