Christ: vindicator or lamb of God?
If Jesus Christ is the Lord’s vindicator, how can he be at the same time the Lamb of God? In trying to understand this and more, I’m going to follow the lead of a marvelous work of scholarly imagination by Jack Miles, Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God. This does not mean that I agree with it.
The winnowing fork
Consider the image of the winnowing fork, which Christ uses to separate the wheat from the chaff, burning the chaff in an endless fire. Attributed to John the Baptist by Matthew (3:12), the image captures perfectly Christ’s self-description of his mission: to bring hope to the pious and powerless, and punishment to the rich, who have had their reward in this world (Luke: 6:23-24). But the statement I will never understand is Christ’s explanation of why he speaks in parables.
And when he was alone, those who were about him with the twelve asked him concerning the parables. And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables; so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven.” (Mark 4.10-12)
No matter how many times it is explained to me in terms of Christ’s regret and understandable anger at those who will never understand (Young 1998, pp 263-264), I cannot make sense of Christ’s claim. Why would he speak in code? Are there no second chances? This is not the statement of a loving God. Christ’s statement has been explained as “the wistful longing of frustrated love,” but it doesn’t sound very wistful to me.