Openness Towards the Future


This post is a part of my ongoing (slow and steady) blog series on The Crucified God by Jürgen Moltmann (CG). You can view the other posts in this series here.

As Moltmann understands it, Jesus answers John the Baptist’s question about his Messianic identity by pointing to the way that the future of the kingdom is inaugurated in and around him. The next issue Moltmann wrestles with (here in chapter 3 of CG) has to do with the disciple’s response to the question of Jesus’ identity: “Who do you say that I am?” To this Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matt 16:16). This confession of faith (which all Christians share in common) puts us, with Jesus, in a position of openness towards the future that is coming from God and brings hope wherever it is welcome:

If Jesus had appeared as a rabbi or a prophet in the succession of Moses, he would have raised no questions. Only the fact that he is, and acts as though he were, something different from the figures which his age remembered and hoped for raises a question about him. Thus it is he, he himself, who first raises the specific question of Christ. In his words and in his life, Jesus is open and dependent upon what is to come from God. The question about himself which according to Matthew he asks of his disciples, derives from the fact that he is open to the future and that his centre is outside himself. By the answer of faith the disciples place themselves within this openness to the future, accept his truth by their confession of faith, and hope at the same time to be revealed with him in the future.
(CG, p. 105)

We can see here, as with many other parts of CG, that Moltmann is still a theologian of hope, even in a work dealing primarily with with the subject of the cross!

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