Betrayal is anachronistic. It is all about lies, and yet at the heart of the moment lies a kind of truth.

Whatever form betrayal takes, the person being betrayed experiences something like shame – naked exposure, perhaps.

crucifixion

This is the last of four posts on whether Jesus died for our sins. There are three main theories. One is that he won a victory over the devil, along with paying a ransom. Another is that he offered himself as a substitute for humanity, which deserves eternal punishment in hell. The third, which I focus on here, is more down to earth, with less going on in heaven and more for us to do. Jesus’ death was an example for us to follow.

In the first post I described the influence of the Maccabean rebellion. At the time of Jesus Jews honoured martyrs who had been tortured and killed in a war for the Jewish cause. In the same way Christians could honour Jesus as a martyr who died for the faith they shared.

Germinating seeds

The Church is in trouble.

The Archbishops have written recently to all the clergy in the Church of England appealing for a national wave of prayer for evangelism in the week leading up to Pentecost 2016.

I recently ran into a colleague who leads a popular leadership training module which aims to support Church growth. He’s run off his feet with demand. ‘The Dioceses are desperate’, he confided.

William Holman Hunt: The Scapegoat, 1854. Detail.

This is the third in a series of four on ‘Did Jesus die for our sins?’ The first is here and the second is here . This one is about the idea that Jesus died as a substitute for the punishment the human race deserves for its sinfulness. This is the theory most popular among conservative evangelicals today.