Death and Resurrection? What About Life?
When followers of Yeshua speak of him, we constantly hear about his 'death and resurrection.' It is almost always those two things. I believe this misses the most vital element - his life, meaning his living righteously.
I mean this in a very 'precise and technical' way too. The life of the tzaddik, and suffering he/she experiences during that life, is said to be what brings atonement.
To put it another way:
1. If Yeshua had not been a tzaddik, his death and even a resurrection would not be significant
2. As a tzadik who 'suffered' during his life, that 'alone' WAS significant - meaning, even if he had not been put on a cross to die and was resurrected, the former (#1) WOULD have impacted our atonement.
This idea is a fundamental of traditional Torah Judaism. To cite a very kosher source, here are the words of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (Ramchal) in his text "Derech Hashem" (The Way of G-d):
"Suffering and pain may be imposed on a Tzaddik as an atonement for his entire generation. Such suffering also includes cases where a Tzaddik suffers because his entire generation deserves great punishments bordering on annihilation but is spared via the Tzaddik's suffering. In addition there is a special higher type of suffering that comes to a Tzaddik who is even greater and more highly perfected than the ones discussed above. to provide the help necessary to bring about the chain of events leading to the ultimate perfection of mankind as a whole" (Derech HaShem II:3).
Two significant points are made in the Derech Hashem quote above:
1." In addition there is a special higher type of suffering that comes to a Tzaddik who is even greater and more highly perfected than the ones discussed above..."
2."... to provide the help necessary to bring about the chain of events leading to the ultimate perfection of mankind as a whole"
The first point shows us that there are 'levels of tzadikkim" - a certain number at one level, less of them at higher levels, and at the "top of the pile" is Mashiach (ben Yosef) - the ultimate tzaddik.
Rabbi Nachman of Breslov expressed this in terms of 'the soul of Mashiach' - which is above all other souls. He called it the "Keter of Keter" - the crown of the crown.
Here is his "formula"... Because this soul of Mashiach is the "highest" in all creation, it can descend 'lower into creation' to rectify more of it than any other soul. (This is called 'elevating the sparks,' in some circles.)
The second point from Derech Hashem shows us that there is a sequence of events that G-d has directed to take place within our physical world and time.
This means followers of Yeshua should not discount things that occurred before him or since as 'irrelevant' in light of what they believe he did. Many things play a role and must occur. This is not diminishing anything, it is simply putting all things in perspective and context.
It also helps explain things like ...
"If Yeshua defeated haSatan at the cross, why are we still to be on guard against the latter as he remains a 'roaring lion' trying to devour us?
What kind of defeat was this if he is as active as ever and becomes supremely powerful at the end of this age?
And why does he have to play some heavenly role now as 'high priest' and 'advocate' if, as he said "It is finished?"
Sounds like a lot is still 'going on.