Jesus: Our Brother, Our Savior, Our Lord

Yesterday, the Son of Man traded places with the son of the father (bar Abbas) so that we may wear the Father’s robe and live in His kingdom. Tomorrow Jesus does what all the big brothers of Scripture failed to do….  He completes the work God sent Him to do — to seek and to save we who are/were lost — the younger rules over the elder.  And yet Christ is both Adam’s younger brother, both being in the flesh sons of God, and His older brother, being begotten of God before all eternity.  And if you look at the track record of brothers in the Bible, you see the theme of older/younger played out.  Cain killed Abel.  Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah, and chosen by God over Ishmael.  Jacob ruled over Esau, taking his birthright.  Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt.  Yet it was Joseph who saved his brothers from starvation.  And David, Israel’s second and greatest king, was the youngest brother chosen by God over all of his brothers and anointed by Samuel.  Are you starting to see the pattern?

Jesus, the firstborn of the resurrection, came in the flesh to live among us.  God often told His children, “If you obey me and do all the things I have commanded, I will be your  God and you will be my people.  I will come to you and make my dwelling place among you.”  Well, we chased him away through our sin, our idol worship, and self-indulgence.  So He sent His Son, His one and only Begotten Son, to make us His people once again.  He sent our Big Brother after us to drag us out of the bars, brothels, wars, movie theaters, sports arenas, fast boats, fast cars, fast planes, internet, hotels, motels, highways, homes, gutters, jails, pits, darkness, blindness.  He sent Jesus to get us and bring us home.  And Jesus gave up His birthright as the first born from before creation, not counting equality with God something to be grasped, in order to bring us home.  He traded His life for ours, so that we may wear the white robe of righteousness, the robe of children of God, and stand with Him in His kingdom.  And because of the work of Christ, Jesus calls us friends.  He can call us that because He has entrusted to us as part of our inheritance, the work that God gave Him to do.  And so now, because Jesus has overcome death, because He has given us life, we are able to carry out the work of Christ on earth as His hands and feet.

The Gospels do not spend much time at the empty tomb.  In fact, the angels tell the disciples and the women who seek Christ at the tomb, you will not find Him here.  But Jesus always told His disciples to find Him at the Cross, for that is where we truly and finally meet Him.  The empty tomb remains our hope for eternal life, and our symbol of new life.  But it is a life that requires us to be as Jesus, and go after our little brothers and sisters and bring them home.  And we do that by taking up the Cross and bringing Christ to them.

Have a blessed, joyous, happy Easter.  He is Risen!

The End — The Cross: Good Friday 2011

This is the end of our existence as humans.  The Cross.  Christ came to fulfill the promise of God to redeem mankind and restore His creation.  Christ’s purpose was to die as a sacrifice for our sins.  And in so doing, God kills to make alive.  Our fate is the same as Christ’s.  We follow Him to the Cross, are crucified with Him, and raised to new life in our Baptism.  Unlike Christ, however, our glory remains in the future as the empty tomb shows us.  He leaves us at the Cross, to carry it in this world, and so to take Him, Christ to all people.

The Way of the Cross is a difficult path to travel.  But it is our path, the path of discipleship in Christ.  At this time of year, Christians show their devotion to this way by meditating on the Stations of the Cross and the events that occurred along the way from the judgment seat of earthy authority in Pilate, to the skull hill where Christ was nailed to a tree and died.  Click the link below to view a slide show that depicts the Stations of the Cross through Scripture, pictures, video, and song.  This was a Bible Study we did in our parish during Lent last year and is intended to be viewed by whole families.

Way of the Cross 2011

Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011

Today marks the beginning of Holy Week around the world, as our Savior and King entered Jerusalem riding on the humblest of work animals.  A beast of burden, Christ told His disciples to go into the city and obtain the donkey for what would be His grand entrance into the city of God.  It must have been a wonderfully strange spectacle to see the man haled King by these peasants who laid down cloaks and raised branches from the palm and olive trees along Christ’s path.  His following had swelled as the City began its somber observance of the Passover, a time of remembrance.  It was a high feast for the children of Israel that marked their deliverance from the bondage of slavery.  It was a time in the life of this people when God gathered them all in one place, in His Holy City, to enter into His presence.  They brought their lamb of sacrifice and presented it to the Lord who blessed it, made it Holy and returned it to the people.  They then ate this great feast in the presence of their God who consecrated His people, making them Holy.  Little did they know that this year, as Christ entered the Holy City through the procession of palms, that He was the Lamb being offered up, not by the people, but by God Himself.  And He was offered up for us so that we may be made Holy by His body and His blood, that we might be raised up as He would be for the forgiveness of sins.