Summary: God came a long, long way to enter our world, endure the cross and triumph over death. He did it for you.
Sermon for Easter Sunday – April 12, 2009 – The Power and Triumph of Easter
The story of Good Friday and Easter is when you really pay attention, the most dramatic and intense story imaginable.
It is a story of the world’s Creator having become a part of His creation. Look at your hands for a moment. The story of Good Friday and Easter is the story of the manifest glory and majesty of the Creator of the universe having taken on human flesh.
Sharing the same flesh as you and me; it is the story of all of God’s wisdom and knowledge and understanding, the Logos, the Word becoming tangible in a Jewish rabbi, a first century Palestinian carpenter. It is the story of holiness Itself inhabiting human flesh.
It is story of the God who fellowships with His Creation…of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit…the only perfect community, this one that exists as Trinity, who reaches out in love, casts the stars into being, creates the planets and their systems, and forms humanity in His image with a critical likeness to God: He makes us free.
It is the story of God who lets us use our freedom ultimately to choose whether or not we would live in relationship with our Maker. Isaiah sums up, in a tidy sound-bite, what we chose to do:
Isaiah 5:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way”.
And in our going astray, in our turning from God to our own way, we have eventually committed acts of selfishness and evil.
Self-destructive acts. Environment-destroying acts. Poverty-inducing acts. War inducing acts. Immoral acts. Justice-denying acts.
And then, of course, as the ultimate act of going astray, we then blame God for our actions. “Why don’t you come down and stop people from doing evil? Why don’t you stop my hand from doing evil? A-hah. It’s because either you don’t care or you don’t exist. Ahah!”
So goes the logic of the human heart when it has lost its way. When it goes astray and turns to its own way.
The story of Good Friday is the story of God who willingly bears the blame for our sin, who takes on Himself the shame and the guilt and the consequences of our actions, or our waywardness.
The story of Good Friday is the story of God who is actually ok with being blamed. He is ok with being misunderstood. He is ok with being called a ‘friend of sinners’. Probably likes that one. He’s ok with being falsely accused of wrongdoing.
He is ok with being called a blasphemer, a breaker of the Sabbath. He’s ok with being falsely accused of somehow being in league with the devil.
He is ok with being misunderstood and reviled. He’s ok with people welcoming Him with a King’s welcome into the holy city one day, only to have the same people contort their faces with contempt and scream out for His blood days later, crying out with passion for His murder: “Crucify Him!!!”
He is ok with being beaten, with being [Isaiah 53:3] “…despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering”.
He’s ok to, while taking up our infirmities and sorrows, be thought of as one who is rejected by God.
He is ok with being oppressed and afflicted, led like a lamb to His own slaughter. He is ok with being crushed and with suffering, with being a guilt offering. With being convicted on trumped-up charges.
With, as a result of those charges and as the result of wrongful conviction, being scourged and beaten and then crucified…murdered out in public along with common criminals. He who did zero wrong is counted with sinners. He is ok with all this.
Let’s stop there. How could anyone possibly be ok with all this? What in the world could be worth this nightmare? Is it not almost unjust to not correct all this horrible abuse?
Come on! Why would He do this? Why would He endure this? What could possibly be the justification for Him being “OK” with this?
The story of Good Friday and Easter is the story of God who is ok with all of this if it will lead to you and me finding our way.
If it will lead to you and me chosing Him over sin. Choosing life with God over life without God. Choosing freedom in Christ over slavery to sin.
Like I said, the story of Good Friday and Easter is the most dramatic and intense story imaginable. The only question is, are we paying attention? If we don’t pay attention, we may find ourselves strangely unmoved, strangely indifferent to the story of God.
Since my atheist ears first heard of this story when I was 17 years old, I have been moved by it. Choked up by it.