Tuesday, April 6, 2010

pre-Easter, Easter, and post-Easter

22 Then the Lord God said,  “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand  and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden  to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.  Genesis 3:22-24

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.  Luke 24:1-12

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.   Hebrews 2:14-15

1. God instituted and ordained death as a preventative measure- kill them before they eat of the tree of life and live forever in their state of God-rejection.  Problem: sin.  Consequence: death(physical).

2. In a backwoods corner of the greatest empire on earth, unseen by the prestigious and powerful, Jesus physically rises from the dead exalts himself as King, reveals himself as the True Adam, validates his sin-killing work on the cross and reveals God's ultimate plan to abolish death. Given Genesis 2's handling of death, his conquest of sin must be a conquest of death, sin's consequence, as well.  It is an objective fact, not a metaphor for the pious to become sentimental about.  Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and never died again.

3.  For milennia, the fear of death has haunted humanity, throwing it into a continuous self-perpetuating spiral of sin- rejection of God, his design, his character, his will. All because mortal humans can't come to terms with the idea that life will end, all because of a multi-generational conditioned reaction against this final affront against the life they consider good.  Forgetting that God himself ordained it, refusing to trust that the God who committed this mass homicide is in fact good and that there is ultimate design in this curse. Exceptional cases are those like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednago.

But now the truth is out: Jesus Christ, born of a woman, has submitted to death and come out the other side.  (side note: if you're thinking of resurrection as a "spiritual" reality, you'd better be giving a lot more airplay to the literal fact of Jesus' Resurrection.)  The result: He has disarmed Satan who has been wielding the fear of death against the children of flesh and blood for millennia and conditioning them with that fear.  By rising (in the flesh!) from the dead, he proves to any bit of humanity bothering to watch that God's design truly is good, that death is a speed bump, that fear is completely unwarranted, that the sin that caused death in the first place has been crucified, that dying is easy, far easier than being afraid of death ever was.  Fearlessness of pain and death, in the service of the Jesus-exalting, love-manifesting Kingdom, is now the norm for those who love him, and love the Resurrection "happening."

I know someone who climbs trees and jumps out of them.  Awhile back, she broke her wrist doing this and had to have a metal pin inserted to insure proper healing.  The whole process had to have been pretty painful.  Recently, after months of a broken wrist, the doctor pronounced her healed and removed the pin.  So what now? She's climbing trees and jumping out of them.

People who see Jesus risen, and rejoice over him, say things like "I will burn alive in a furnace before I will act out of the fear of pain and death, for that is the worship of idols."

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

1 comment:

Bob said...

For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17

Death reigned, then it didn't. Jesus, the one man, accomplished that.

Love the post.