Jesus Christ

Quotes from “Provocations” written by Soren Kierkegaard

The birth of Christ is an event not only on earth but also in heaven. Our justification is likewise an event not only on earth but also in heaven.

Christ is God just as much as he is man – just as the sky seems to be deep in the sea as it is high above the sea.

Christ walks in history as he walked in life – between two thieves.

Christ does not always sit at the Father’s right hand. No, when dangers threaten, he arises, he stands erect, just as Stephen saw him standing at the right hand of the Father.

Christ is not love, according to the human notion of love. He is the truth, absolute truth. Therefore he does not defend himself. He permits us to become guilty of his death which reveals the truth in the most radical way.

Why cannot Christ be called a martyr? Because he was not a witness to truth but was “the truth”, and his death was not a martyrdom but the Atonement.

Christ is the paradox, the God-man. He is the very compounding of God and a socially insignificant man. But this is not the way we Christians like to think about it. We regard Jesus Christ as a great man who lived misunderstood, but after his death became somebody great. And this is how we want to be. Aha! This is why today’s Christianity is nonsense. All the danger is taken away. No, Jesus Christ is the sign of offense and the object of faith. Only in eternity is he in his glory. Here upon earth he must never be presented in any other way than in his social insignificance – so that everyone can be offended or believe. Christ willed to be the socially insignificant one. The fact that he descended from heaven to take upon himself the form of a servant is not an accidental something which now is to be thrust into the background and forgotten. No, every true follower of Christ must express existentially the very same thing – that insignificance and offense are inseparable from being a Christian. As soon as the least bit of worldly advantage is gained by preaching or following Christ, then the fox is in the chicken house.

Christ humbled himself – not: was humbled.

It must be firmly maintained that Christ did not come to the world only to set an example for us. If that were the case we would have law and works-righteousness again. He comes to save us and in this way be our example. His very example should humble us, teach us how infinitely far away we are from resembling him. When we humble ourselves, then Christ is pure compassion. And in our striving to approach him, he is again our very help. It alternates: when we are striving, then he is our example; and when we stumble, lose courage, then he is the love that helps us up. And then he is our example again.

Christ is anything but an assistant professor who teaches to parroters or dictates paragraphs for shorthand writers – he does exactly the very opposite, he discloses the thoughts of hearts.

Christ is himself the way. There were not many ways, of which Christ took one – no, Christ is the way.

Lord Jesus, there are so many things that attract us, and each one of us has his own particular attraction. But your attraction is eternally the strongest! Draw us, therefore, the more powerfully to you.

Whenever I think of the insipid, sweet, syrupy concept of the Savior, the kind of Savior Christendom adores and offers for sale, reading his own words about himself has a strange effect: “I have come to set afire,” come to produce a split which can tear the most holy bonds, the bonds God himself has sanctified, the bonds between father and son, wife and husband, parents and children.

Christ did not teach about dying-to-the-world; he is himself what it means to die to the world.

When the doors were locked, Christ came to his disciples. So the doors must be locked, locked to the world – then Christ comes, through the locked doors; in fact, he also comes from the inside.

One might ask: How was it possible that Christ could be put to death, one who never sought his own advantage? How is it possible that any power or person could come into collision with him? Answer: It was precisely for this reason that he was put to death. This is why the lowly and the powerful were equally exasperated by him, for every one of them was seeking his own advantage and wanted him to show solidarity with them in selfishness. He was crucified precisely because he was love, that is, because he refused to be selfish. He was as much of an offense to the powerful as to the lowly. He did not belong to any party, but wished to be what he was, namely, the Truth and to be that in love.

Christ was born in a stable, wrapped in rags, laid in a manger – so unimportant was this child apparently, so meagerly valued. And immediately afterward this child was so valuable that it costs the lives of the children in Bethlehem. Such is the squandering that can take place in connection with this child.


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