May 7, 2017
"The blood will never lose its power"
Why is life after Easter different?
Christian tradition and Holy Scriptures teach why the crucifixion was more than a political or religious execution. It was more than a good man's unjust death. It was more than a sudden end to a political movement.
The resurrection celebrated as Easter was more than a fable-type happy ending to a sad story. The ascension was more than an easy out to a story that might have ended in another death--this one from old age or because of an accident.
Christian songwriter Andrae Crouch ( 1942-2015) wrote about the sacrificial elements of Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection when referring to Jesus' bloodshed experience: "the blood that Jesus shed for me will never lose its power."
What does this mean?
Christ's death is an image of and actually fulfills a "payment in full" for our rebellion against the God-created order. This rebellion can also be labeled as "sin." The greatest evil of sin is not that we do "bad things." The greatest evil of sin is we become "lesser spirits", ones that are unable to interact with and communicate with our creator. We are unable to live up to our potential or live up to our inner dreams of goodness or greatness.
We sin because we are crippled and weakened by our separation from God. In turn, we commit acts considered (by God) as "sinful" because we are lost from living in a higher and better way. We are lost from living the lives we were created to live an enjoy.
Jesus' death of sacrifice cancels our crippled state and creates another pathway for life--a path that's open to all people in all times and places of history.
Why isn't this more obvious, and why hasn't everyone accepted this?
One element of our higher state that wasn't completely destroyed by sin was our ability to make a choice for many elements of life.
Without choice, there is no freedom. Ironically, we are now free to be stumblers or we are free to be high level, loved followers of God.
We have options, thanks to Jesus. We can choose his way--repentance, redemption, and restoration--or we can choose the stumbler's way: self-directed, self-defined, self-identified, self-powered, and self-focused. We even have the option of trying both paths in a single lifetime.
When you look around the world and see the injustices, the pain, the suffering, the living death, you are observing the stumbler's way multiplied millions of times. You are observing the proof that humans are not naturally good. You are observing the proof of our inability to solve our deepest problems.
My hope is you have in some way been touched by a true lover and follower of Christ. Perhaps you have known one personally. Perhaps you have known one through some form of media: books, articles, blogs, music, film. Perhaps you have known one through the pages of Scripture.
In these lovers and followers, you have will a look at the Jesus Way: repentance, redemption, restoration. In this way, the weaknesses that often masquerade as sin can be cleansed from your soul. You can then achieve and practice the ability to speak up when necessary, to stay silent when it's wise to do that, to stay focused and on task, to see possibilities and opportunities in every experience, to sleep peacefully each night and wake up filled with hope each morning.
You can choose to allow the sacrificial, debt-paying death of Christ--along with his resurrection and ascension to world managing heights--to carry you out of the stumbler's path.
His sacrifice will never lose its power to bring you from where you are to where your soul longs to be: at home with God in this life and in the life to follow.