Cosmic and personal

24 Apr

Easter Sunday.

It’s the Passover. The lamb has been slain. We paint our houses with his blood and are shielded from judgement. He’s the atoning sacrifice in the Temple. He’s the High Priest who walks in there on our behalf. He’s the perfect ambassador – the representative of God to mankind, and of mankind to God. This is his blood of the New Covenant. No longer do we have to try to keep our end of the deal – he even does that for us. Drink it, all of you. This blood is not sprinkled on – it goes inside, deeper than the Law could reach. He’s the Son of Man – our champion. The one who steps up to represent our species in a battle to the death with Satan. The Devil cries – no fair! He’s the one too holy for death to hold. Who disarms it and makes a way through. He’s the one who comes back, filled with new life, and spreads it to us. He starts a regeneration of fallen mankind. He’s sorted out sin, he’s paid off the debt, he’s torn up the charges, he’s ripped out the curtain in the Temple that kept us from God, and the barrier that kept us from the Tree of Life. He was pierced for our transgressions, and the punishment that brought us peace was upon him. He’s trounced the Enemy and won back his world. He’s saved his precious mankind from the fire. He has done it.

His best friend John sees this Cosmic Christ:

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Rev 1)

Yes – all that, and infinitely more. But also, he is somebody’s favourite person, back from the dead. Whenever I read this story in John 20, I want to cry. Who’s the first person that Jesus appears to, the first person in the world who finds out he’s risen from the dead? It’s a woman. Someone whose testimony nobody would have believed in AD30. But that doesn’t matter to Jesus. He chooses his dear friend Mary.

It’s still dark when she runs to find him. The first possible moment after the Sabbath she could get away with going out. What does that tell you? She can’t think of anything else. She has clearly not slept. And oh, all she wants is to see him. But when she finds that his body has gone – what a terrible blow. She can’t even do him one final favour. This is devastating. She talks with some angels but doesn’t even seem bothered. Who cares? It doesn’t matter any more. Nothing matters. She has lost him.

And how amazing is this? It’s just one word he says to her. Maybe it’s something in his tone of voice, the special way he says it, who knows? But it’s when he simply speaks her name that she looks up, and sees him. “Do not hold onto me,” he has to tell her – it sounds to me like she sprang up and flung her arms around him.

You know what? Jesus the Christ, King of Kings, God With Us achieved the most mindblowing cosmic act at Easter. But he connects each of us with it in a staggeringly tender, personal way. It seems to me that you can hear all the theology behind the Easter story a hundred times, but you believe when you hear Jesus call your name.

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One Response to “Cosmic and personal”

  1. Susan in TX 25/04/2011 at 1:56 pm #

    Amen and amen. Happy belated Easter to you and yours!

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