“He also continued free from all suffering, since indeed it was not possible that He should suffer who was at once incomprehensible and invisible. And for this reason the Spirit of Christ, who had been placed within Him, was taken away when He was brought before Pilate.” – Irenaeus, summarizing Gnostic beliefs in Adversus Haereses I.7.2
I owe the metaphor to my friend Tim Giese, but it is too good not to share here. The Passion according to the Valentinians and Cerinthus, was a sham: by the time any nails were being driven through wrists, all that was left was the “animal Christ”, since the divine Christ had long since hit the “eject” button and escaped.
If I remember right, my friend Tim said this was “just like Obi-Wan Kenobi”. I think that’s very apt.
There is that smile, as though he knows quite well that no real suffering is involved:
Then he stops parrying, and Vader swings.
We see here that the cloak has no one inside it. It is collapsing to the floor, where it settles in a heap and Obi-Wan’s light saber falls on top of it:
Later, of course, Obi Wan will be seen with Yoda and Anakin, having escaped this wretched material world, to dwell forever in disembodied bliss:
Of course, such salvation is probably only available to those who have the necessary divine spark, or midichlorians, within them.