Friday, 29 March 2013

Reflections for Good Friday: 1. The Body In Which God Dwelt

Talk 1: John 1:9-14, The Body In Which God Dwelt
9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Good Friday is, in many respects, the most important day in the Christian calendar.
The message of the resurrection proclaims the Christ, whom God raised from the dead, as king of kings and Lord of Lords. It calls not just for our belief in him but our obedience to him as one who is alive and reigns today.
But the righting of the world’s wrongs, the conquest of the powers of evil, and above all our reconciliation to God through the remission of our sins, depend on the events leading up to and culminating in Jesus’ death.
Our own Thirty-nine Articles have this to say about that death and about the one who died:
The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took Man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect Natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one Person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God, and very Man; who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.
The death of the Son is a sacrifice for sin, both the actual sins we commit and that problem of ‘original sin’ with which we are born, which is a fundamental feature of our nature.
But as the Article makes clear, all this relates to, and depends on, Christ’s own nature: the combination in him, as the Article puts it, of “two whole and perfect Natures ... godhead and Manhood ... in one Person”.
And this is the key to Good Friday. The death of Christ is only effective insofar as it is Christ who died. Being crucified was nothing special. Being fitted up by the justice system was probably not that special either, so being an innocent victim of injustice wasn’t unique.
What made this death special was the nature of the one who died. And the important thing about the one who died is what we read in John 1:14: “The Word became flesh ...”
John has told us about this Word in his opening verse, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It is this ‘God in the flesh’ who hangs on the cross.
But there is something else John tells us that is important in v9:
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.
The Word who hangs on the cross is both visible and invisible at the same time. You can see him — he is right there, hanging in front of you. And yet all you see is another victim of crucifixion. The Word is truly made flesh, and therefore becomes ‘invisible’ — this is the paradox of the cross.
You have to see with the eye of faith. But what the eye of faith sees hanging on the cross is the body in which God is dwelling. Therefore the eye of faith sees God differently. The human eye sees God in heaven and suffering on earth. The eye of faith sees God in an earthly suffering body.
And therefore the eye of faith sees everything differently.
Please give a full name and location when posting. Comments without this information may be deleted. Recommend:

No comments:

Post a comment