Saturday, August 17, 2013

Vindication For Joy & Rejoicing (part 2)

In a culture in which shame was very much equated with death, the message of the Resurrection is that death itself that is now to be ashamed.  In an ironic twist, it is death alone that now experiences its long held and once mighty power. 

Though it had rightfully entered into the covenant God’s creation along with its corruption and decay, death had been an over-reaching usurper within that creation.  The message of the Scriptural narrative is that the Creator God had long desired, through the use of those that He had created as and to be the wise, image-bearing stewards of His creation, to set that creation to rights and to redeem and restore it.  This would ultimately be accomplished through Jesus, and through those that would be brought into a believing union with Jesus by submission to His royal authority and allegiance to Him and His kingdom and its principles, as He was the one that bore the precise and exact image of the Creator God, as well as being the one who would share that image (and the precise knowledge of the Creator God) with His brethren. 

In what is said to be the work of the Spirit, because of a trusting allegiance to Jesus as the true King, the Creator God would then work through His covenant people to deal with the corruption and decay and seemingly ever-present evil that represent death’s residual power and lingering effects in a world now ruled by Jesus.  With the Resurrection power of Jesus in the world, and with its being administered through the Spirit’s mysterious work of faith and the preaching and doing of the Gospel of Jesus, death, though real, was now to be considered little more than a roaring lion, lacking the absolute power and mastery over creation that it had once possessed. 

By means of the cross, death seems to have made an attempt to oppress Jesus and to rob Him of His victory and rightful messianic rule, and through that oppression, because Jesus stood as the King and representative of all of God’s people, death attempted to oppress and to rob those very people of the Creator God.  However, the fact of death being conquered by the Resurrection, which is believed to have redeemed mankind and the creation that humanity was intended to steward from its long exile, and ushered in the kingdom of the Creator God and an entirely new age of restoration and renewal and reconciliation through the very power of the Gospel and its declaration of the universal Lordship of Jesus in both word and deed, causes the Creator God’s people, in union with their Lord and Savior, to say “O Lord, who can compare to You?  You rescue the oppressed and needy from those who try to overpower them; the oppressed and needy from those who try to rob them” (Psalm 35:10b).    

As one continues to move through this Psalm, and continues to find that the one called “Savior” is able to take up the words of the Psalmist---not only as He endured the ordeal of His passion, but even before that, as He would search the Scriptures so as to better understand His vocation and what it was that He came to believe was in store for Him as He trudged the wearying path of Messiah-ship---the observer moves from a consideration of Jesus battle with the enemy of death, to His tenuous engagements with adversaries much closer to hand.  It is a relatively simple matter to discover Jesus, remembering His trial and reading “Violent men perjure themselves, and falsely accuse me.  They repay me evil for the good I have done; I am overwhelmed with sorrow” (35:11-12). 

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