Monday, August 19, 2013

Vindication For Joy & Rejoicing (part 4 of 4)

The crucifixion and vindicating Resurrection of Jesus the Christ, which (among a great many things) evidenced the grand defeat of death and the dawn of a new age, was a battle in which one could certainly find purpose to use the words “attack” and “shields” and “spear” and “lance” (Psalm 35:1-5).  Together with that, the words of the Psalm ask for the destruction of the enemy (35:8).  However, when it came to those who actually carried out the crucifixion---those who were temporary adversaries and very much a part of the world for which Jesus was going into a cursed death in order to redeem, all are again forced to consider Jesus’ words of forgiveness, and find displayed an altogether different demeanor. 

Rather than a request for attack and destruction to be visited upon those who brought Him harm, what is instead to be found is only a request by the Psalmist (again, with words that could eventually be understood to have fallen from the lips of the Christ as He endured the horrible ordeal of the cross) that “those who want to harm me be totally embarrassed and ashamed!  May those who arrogantly taunt me be covered with shame and humiliation!” (35:26)  This could be viewed in two ways.  In the first way, it can be viewed on the surface level, with the understandable desire for these adversaries to experience the same type of embarrassment and humiliation (35:4) which is requested for those who fight and attack (35:1). 

In the second way, one is forced to dig deeper, so as to remember Jesus’ intercession on the behalf of His tormentors and to consider the prevalent cultural equating of embarrassment, shame, and humiliation with going down into death, and thus quite possibly see a desire on the part of Jesus for these men to join Him in His death (exile) so that they too can be experience redemption (exodus).  With this, one is pressed to consider the words of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatians, and his being “crucified with Christ” (2:20), sharing in His shame and humiliation so that He might truly live. 

By the trusting allegiance of the gift of faith that makes Jesus the King and representative of believers and of all people, and enables those that cast their lot with Him to join with Him in His crucifixion, the same group of people is also enabled to join with Him in His Resurrection and in the expectation of the great resurrection and renewal and restoration of creation that is happening and is also to come.  As subjects of His kingdom, believers, and indeed the whole of the creation, awaits His final vindication, and find themselves poised as “those who desire my vindication” and in so doing “shout for joy and rejoice” (35:27). 

That shouting for joy and rejoicing can and should very well take the form of preaching His Gospel in both word and deed, and so proclaiming His present kingdom and His ongoing rule, though the presentation of that message may bring temporary shame and humiliation.  The believer, participating in that kingdom and its work, gladly endure such things, as through the Spirit of God, the glorified Lord Jesus mysteriously works through and in those that our allied with Him to create lights for the glory of the Creator God, as they confess through the entirety of their beings the desire to “tell others about Your justice, and praise You all day long” (35:28).           

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