Well, another Easter has come and gone. I am contemplating the dishes in the dishwasher, and the leftovers in the fridge. There is a bigger picture here - how many people world-over celebrated this paschal feast, marking Jesus’ death, and more importantly, his resurrection. It is also the second year where Easter celebrations have been restricted. The faithful now gather behind closed doors, mirroring how the early church upheld the faith.
How veiled the Christian message has become. Christian luminaries supply us with the kind of “New Gospel” Saint Paul warned us about. This should be no surprise in a world where consumers will line up all night for new phone. Novelty is the key. If it is new, people will approve. It will get its fifteen minutes of fame before being discarded. It is the opposite of what has kept Christian faith going for two thousand years. Christianity bucks the times, and it bucks circumstance. It refutes human logic. It is a reality check, because it reminds us how fallible our offerings of truths are, and how often they are updated.
In this opposite world we live in, people object to the Gospel because they object to suffering. They want God to provide them with that good life NOW. The Cross still does not make any sense after two thousand years, and that is perhaps the very reason why it remains relevant.
Jesus did not flinch from the Cross. When the disciples tried to change it up and urged Jesus to step into his earthly king-shoes, he refused. He told Pilate that his kingdom was not of this world. Those who are into kingdom building had better find a more reliable way to do Easter, than a kingdom in the here and now.
In the passion narratives yet again, Jesus speaks of his suffering as his GLORY. He often switches it up in the same sentence. In the twelfth chapter of John, Jesus referred to this glorification, speaking of his death. “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” What could he possibly mean, by equating crucifixion with glory?
It is not the way the world thinks. People go a long way to avoiding suffering. But what if Jesus took on the worst the Devil could throw at him, in full knowledge that he was sufficient to defeat sin and death on the Cross? It would mean that suffering would no longer matter. Something better and eternal stands in its place. There is a shout of joy every Easter morning precisely because of the Cross. The worst came, and God defeated it, when shame turned to something better - GLORY.
It is important that we keep this at the heart of Christianity. The death of Christ was no misadventure, no holy example, or any other popular obfuscation. What the Gospels states, what the Old Testament predicts, and what the New Testament proclaims is the substitution of Christ in our place, the paschal lamb who will stand at the end of the world, where the faithful proclaim, “Holy is the lamb that was slain - to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!” The Bible clearly tells us that Jesus Christ is Lord then, today, and tomorrow. He will be Lord at the hour of our death, and he will be Lord when the graves of the faithful in Christ are emptied.
In the fifteenth chapter of first Corinthians Paul reminds us that the resurrection of Christ is foremost. If Christ did not rise from the dead, we are wasting our time and our faith is in vain. We are left to contemplate, alongside of the dishes in the dishwasher, and the leftovers, the paradox of suffering, the Cross and the empty tomb. The glory of God will not have it otherwise.