The Politics of the Cross: Part Two
This is part two of a series of blogs by Paul Ballard looking at the politics of the cross through the eyes of the four gospels.
Mark: Service and Solidarity
In Mark, the procession into Jerusalem shows a king coming into his city. The crowd forms itself into a procession, singing Psalms of welcome to the Davidic king (Mk. 11.1-10; Ps. 118.26). Jesus enters the city and is depicted moving about freely, without opposition. The city is being offered the chance to accept its king. The day after the entry, Jesus cleanses the temple. It has become a fortress, a robbers’ den (11.15-19; Jer. 7.11). It is only in response to this act that the authorities begin the challenge that leads to rejection. There is a series of encounters and teaching that draws out this conflict. Still Jesus asserts his kingship (12.35-7).
What is being underlined here is that Jesus offers an alternative path to power politics: that of service. This is a challenge, but one that is always with us. In the midst of normal life we are given the chance of serving the Kingdom as we serve each other and society. The politics of the cross is to be with Jesus in the streets of the city, to be, as he said, salt, leaven, light for the world (Matt. 5.13-16), to be those that ‘follow in the way’ (10.52).