I love this season of the year where we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The deep reflection it causes for me, repeatedly finds me transitioning between a state of wonderful awe and immense gratitude. In my times of reflection I often wonder just how it would feel to present a sermon on such a day. Does the expectations of the day cause an excitement and eagerness or does it leave one feeling small and incapable of handling the moment? Does the speaker believe something new and relevant is needed for the audience or is the basic message of Christ and His resurrection sufficient for today?
I can only imagine all of the things that are swirling around every speakers head as they lay down Saturday night. The following is the result of letting my mind wonder and reflect on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
There are very few times in the bible where the word of God comes directly to the author and God uses His own words to describe Himself. Those who want to know God would do well to learn what He says about Himself. Read with me this passage from Exodus 34.
The LORD passed before Moses and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
What awesome and confounding paradox we find in this God of the Bible. How can He be perfectly just, not absolving any who are guilty? How can He be a God who excellently carries out justice for everyone who has done evil, and yet, at the same time be a God overflowing with mercy, grace, love and faithfulness? Perfect justice forbids the presence of mercy. Conversely, mercy stays the hand of justice.
This is the cosmic conflict, the divine paradox that rages within each of us. We cry out for justice to come and remedy all the evil and wickedness we see in the world. Yet we crave mercy for evil and wickedness within our own actions and intentions. If there is a God we would have Him clutch the world forcibly ending all injustice. And yet we hope He cuddles our hearts and bears with our weaknesses. So what will we have? A God of justice? Or a God love and mercy? If justice then surely our wickedness will be captured in the judgement that is to come to the world. If mercy then we must be reserved to idea that injustice will exist into perpetuity.
In the death and resurrection of Jesus the divine paradox is resolved. Amid this contrariety we turn to the cross and realize it was there that God’s perfect justice is satisfied. God shows Himself just punishing evil (our evil) and guilt (our guilt) through the crucifixion Jesus. He then pours out his mercy on every believer in the subsequent resurrection of Jesus. There we the guilty sinner are made right before God and are constantly reminded that God’s love is never failing.