Creation: Resurrection Sunday

The Atonement

Resurrected Jesus ChristNo pictures of Hallee or me today. Because that is not what today is about. This is a post about what today really is all about.

The book of Genesis informs us that in the beginning, God created the earth and all that is in it and, indeed, the entire universe, in just six days. He created the first man, Adam, and the first woman, Eve, and in all of that week of creation God proclaimed that His creation was good; as in light is separate from darkness and it’s good, earth from the waters and it’s good, plants and animals are good, and He forms Adam and that’s good. Every step of creation is deemed good except for one very specific occasion.

When God created Adam, because man was created to work, God set him to work naming all the animals. This event is something that unbelievers constantly point to as unbelievable, but believers know that Adam just named all the created kinds like, “Horse kind, dog kind, dragonfly kind, turtle kind…” and that he could have named just 30 created kinds every minute and still named 5,400 kinds in 3 short hours. In other words, easily done.

Anyway, that morning, Adam noticed that God had created a male and female of every kind, but no partner suitable for him.  No woman.  This was God’s plan, of course, and when Adam comes to this realization on his own, God proclaims, “It is not good for man to be alone.”

Understand that God made no mistake. This was a moral proclamation, not a functional pronouncement. God wanted to make the point that for the first time in the history of all eternity, there was aloneness in the universe.  God is constantly in relationship; He is Father, Son, and Spirit, a triune God from the beginning of all eternity and to the end of infinity, and it has always and will always be so. So for the first time ever, there was aloneness. I believe God made this point so that man would understand how important relationship is for us and how we, who are created in His image, require relationship in order for our souls to thrive.

So God created Eve out of Adam, also in the image of God made He her.

In that perfect day, the earth, the universe, and the relationship between man, woman, and our Creator was perfect. Everything was perfect, unblemished, whole, and without stain. There was no death, no disease, no suffering, no pain in anything including child birth. Roses had no thorns, the earth brought forth abundantly without toil, and there was no enmity between any living creature and any other in the entire universe.

The Fall

Then man allowed sin to enter the world and everything changed. Since that time, man has tried to make an atonement — a blood atonement — for his error in bringing sin into the world. Abel sacrificed unblemished lambs as his offering to our Creator, for example. The story goes on from those first days of creation all the way through the wicked world of the global flood which wiped out all but a handful of men and animals. When Noah first stepped off of the ark, he sacrificed unblemished lambs as a blood atonement.

Later, Abraham and Isaac are a very specific metaphor for the desired blood atonement. The story leads to the world of a few thousand years ago when God became flesh in the birth of the Second Adam, He who we call Jesus Christ.

We know the story of His life, His words and deeds. We also know the story of His death.

We know that he was beaten beyond the resemblance of a man. We know that he was brutally executed like the lowest of criminals. We know about the eclipse and the earthquakes and the storms that battered the earth in the hour of His death. We know that at the moment of His death, Jesus Christ took on every sin which had ever been committed and which ever would be committed until the end of time, and that His blood sacrifice formed the perfect atonement for all of our sin.

We know one more thing about the death of Jesus. We know that in the moment of his death, Jesus was entirely alone. (Matthew 27:46: Mark 15:34)

It’s a horrible story: a terrible, frightening, brutal story that is deeply sad and deeply disturbing. Up until now, the story is one more murderous tale in a string of murderous tales that begins with an exile from the Garden through the murder of Abel through the murder of nearly all mankind in the flood. It is one more tale of misery and death in a string of war, pestilence, suffering, pain, and disease.

If that were the end of the story, this would not even amount to a footnote in history. The name of Jesus of Nazareth would not be known and spoken and whispered with reverence over 2000 years later in every corner of the civilized world. He would have died a nameless death like the thieves hanging to His left and right. But the brutal, terrifying death of Jesus is far from the end of the story.

The Resurrection

On the third day after the crucifixion, absolutely everything changes. Because we know one more thing with an absolute certainty. We know that three days later, Jesus Christ arose from the dead, recreated in a glorified body, resurrected to live forever and ever, and ushered the Holy Spirit into the world in the days of Pentecost.

What is today all about? There are some things it is not about. It’s not about pagan traditions like bunnies and colored eggs. It’s not about chocolate. It’s not about flowers. It’s certainly not about the coming of spring or signs of “new life” in nature after a long winter.

Today is about the fact that Jesus Christ arose from the dead and conquered death, hell, and the grave. That is almost horrifyingly serious, and that is what today is all about.

Christians believe in the resurrection. I believe in the resurrection. In fact, believing in the resurrection of Christ is the defining belief of the Christian faith. As the Apostle Paul said, without the resurrection, your faith is in vain and you are still in your sins. (I Corinthians 15:17) There is more evidence that Jesus Christ arose from the dead than there is evidence that Alexander the Great ever even lived. Today is all about a terrifyingly serious idea.

Christ wasn’t resuscitated in the manner of Lazarus, only to live on earth for a little while longer then die later on at some time in the future. Christ was resurrected having utterly defeated death, living forever and ever, as the Bible says, in a glorified body. It is a completely new reality and a new kind of life.

You see, Christ’s blood was the perfect blood atonement for the sin man introduced in the garden those thousands of years ago. Once Christ died, that perfect price was paid in full as Jesus proclaimed from the cross with the words, “It is finished,” meaning the debt is settled for all time.

When Christ arose, and later ushered in a Comforter for us in the form of the Holy Ghost, He ensured for all time that there would never again be aloneness in the universe. We have the ability to call upon Emmanuel, God with us, the Holy Spirit, and realize that we again exist in a state of relationship directly with our Creator. And we can exist in this state of relationship without first making an atonement in blood.

The price has been paid. The empty tomb is the proof of this truth. We have only but to embrace the truth, and we will experience a love that passes our ability to comprehend because that love for us is infinite and eternal. That love for us that comes from our immortal, eternal, infinite Creator.

The Truth

A Sunday School game I recall is, “Which Biblical Figure do You Most Resemble?”

Some young women compare themselves to Ester, Ruth, Deborah, Mary, Abigail, a Titus 2 woman, a Proverbs 31 wife, and so on. Some young men hope they have the spirit of David, Solomon, Abraham, Isaac, or one of the Apostles.

I think the Biblical figure I most resemble is Barabbas.

Pilot, who found no wrongdoing in Jesus, brought the most undeserving scoundrel he could find out of his dungeons, a fierce man made infamous for having committed terrible acts of brutality and atrocity, and asked the crowd with his Roman logic, “Which man should I release?” To Pilot, they should obviously have condemned Barabbas and granted Jesus his freedom. When the crowd cried out for the release of Barabbas, Pilot washed his hands of the whole affair.

We know that Barabbas was a notorious prisoner. (Matthew 27:16) We know that he was a murderer. (Mark 15:7) We, like Pilot, know that Barabbas did not deserve freedom in any just system of government.

Yet at the hand of Christ, in the face of that most monumental of days in human history, Barabbas was set free. Barabbas who least deserved freedom, owed not one jot nor one tittle more in atonement for his crimes. His debt was to be paid in full in the person of Jesus Christ.

Like Barabbas, I have done terrible things in God’s eyes. I do not deserve mercy. I do not deserve grace. Yet God loves me so much, He gave it to me without asking anything in return, at such a great cost.

I consider his human suffering which my mind can barely encompass. But I consider even more that God endured the suffering of experiencing aloneness for the first time in all eternity, the experience of being in mortal pain in his human flesh while being completely alone, embraced by every terrible sin which had ever been committed in all of time.

My mind cannot comprehend the price God paid to make me free. My mind cannot grasp the depth of that kind of love, and that kind of sacrifice. Is He not due honor and praise? Is He not worthy of all glory and all worship?

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God Bless you and yours.


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