The Logic of Christ Vol.1, No. 16

Logic is a household concept that could be referred as the system or principles of reasoning applicable to any branch of knowledge. This mode of reasoning could be viewed as valid or faulty depending on the viewer. From a philosophical point of view, logic has a variety of meanings including thought, idea, argument, reason or principle. It attempts to distinguish good reasoning from bad reasoning. One of the most influential ancient philosopher, Aristotle defined logic as new and necessary, “new” because it allows us to learn what we do not know, and “necessary” because its conclusions are inseparable.

Considering the fact that philosophy is the handmaid of theology, Aristotelian concept of logic perfectly captured the heart of this weekly series. This is because, as Aristotle rightly pointed out, Christ’s logic is new even to those he called his insiders; the apostles, and it is necessary because at its conclusion, the same apostles came to the knowledge of the logic. Thus in the logical system of Christ, they (the apostles) found consistency, soundness and completeness. We shall therefore analyze the logic of Christ making reasonable references to his relationship with his apostles.

Of all the figures and character groups in the story world of Mark’s Gospel, the group that is most perplexed, if not completely confused by the personality and message of Jesus is perhaps his disciples. Although they are depicted as his closest associates, who accompanied him everywhere, listened to his words and witnessed his deeds of power, they were still confused with the identity and mission of their Master. Even after the confession of Peter (Mk. 8:29) and the disclosure of Jesus’ identity by God to the three chosen disciples, at the transfiguration mountain (Mk. 9:7), in their response on subsequent occasions, one observes what Rev. Fr. Dr. Ohajuobodo Okoh would call a gross lack of existential appropriation of the knowledge of Christ.

The logic of Christ was obscure to them because Jesus’ clarification of the consequence and nature of his mission could not correspond to their conceptual knowledge. Although they followed him, they do not really understand or appreciate him and his mission. There is also an unstated assumption here; the possibility of appropriating and integrating personally and consistently the message of Jesus in one’s lives as committed disciples are determined by breaking the code of the logic of Christ.

Nevertheless, the disciples were able to break this code at the post-Easter meeting of Jesus in Galilee (Mk. 14:28, 16:7). It was at this necessary encounter that is face to face with the crucified and raised Jesus, that the disciples recognized that one cannot really understand and relate with Jesus outside the framework of his passion, death and resurrection.

At this juncture, I wish to express the certainty that these three moments in Jesus’ life (Passion, Death and Resurrection) form the theological and hermeneutical backdrop from which the rule-of- God-message of Jesus could appear as a message of salvation and hope. Having realized that the logic of Christ is hinged on these moments, on our own part, the question of Jesus’ identity and relationship to him cannot be resolved once and for all by the initial confession of faith in him, not even dogmatic or confessional orthodoxy, but by a discipleship commitment that is open to, disposed towards and able to cope conceptually and existentially with the crucibles and scandal of the cross. This is because any idea of Christianity devoid of the Cross is an aporia, and indeed contradictory. After all, what else is central to Christian living if not appropriating the salvation wrought by Christ on the cross? Christ himself enjoined that whoever would be his disciple must take up his or her cross daily and follow him. It then becomes important for all who hold unto a crossless Christianity in the name of the gospel of liberty, miracle, or emancipation to re-evaluate their stance, since this ultimately robs Christianity of its core; the mystery of the Cross.

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