This week we are in the run up to Easter and the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus, and what a story!
The story we have to tell is not a stand alone story, but one that is part of a much larger story that finds it’s origins in the heart of the Triune God in eternity past and carries forward to eternity future.
In between we have creation and the fall into sin, a fall so catastrophic that it required a massive rescue plan quite outside the scope of man, a plan that would lead to the calling of a man called Abraham, a family and a nation, through whom ultimately the heavenly Rescuer, the Saviour, Jesus, would come.
At the right time he was born of a virgin, taking on real human flesh, flesh just like our own – the writer to the Hebrews says, ‘he had to be made like us in every way,’ and Paul says he was ‘made under the law,’ and as the church father Gregory put it ‘the unassumed is the unhealed.’ It had to be the real stuff. God in flesh with man residing. Very God and Very Man. With us and for us.
Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and learned obedience by the things he suffered.
He ate and drank, he grew weary and slept.
He knew joy and sorrow.
He was tempted in all points as we are.
He lived close to the Father, talking to him and listening to His voice; He only did what he saw the Father doing.
He walked and taught and healed and delivered in the power of the Spirit.
He fought the devil at every turn, and beat him back and down all the way.
He lived your life, my life, the life we should have lived, and he did it completely.
Then he took our sin and it’s consequences…. this was to be no mere example of love, not just some moral influence, or just a victory over Satan, it was to be the death of death in the death of Christ. It was substitutionary. It was penal.
And for that reason the run up to Easter would be dark and full of passion. The devil had fought against it all the way, and he thought he had him….
The garden carries the aroma of death, it’s in the air…. God in Flesh sweats as it were great drops of blood…. this is real agony…. so much so that God in Flesh prays, ‘Father if it be possible let this cup pass from me…’ the weight and consequence of sin is huge…. though he knew that this was what he was born for, suddenly the weight of it bears down upon him in the weakness of human flesh….
‘Nevertheless’ he prays ‘not my will by Yours be done.’ The final act of surrender. The course is set….