Do you live in light of the crucifixion or resurrection?

https://i0.wp.com/robertfertitta.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/images/106610-611.32025820.jpg

I think it is good to have spiritual “checks and balances” in our lives. To examine our lives, and how we exude the love of God; are we doing “good things” or even “bad things” because we’re fearful of the wrath of God or are we doing good things because Christ was crucified, died…but 3 days later he rose again? Is that how we conduct our lives?

In my own life when I was younger life holistically was a bunch of do’s and don’ts. Even to some extent the don’ts, whether I don’t or we as a family don’t was a grotesque badge of honor. It set us apart, the “in the world but not of it” mentality that pervades some minds to this day. It was a bit of a wrestle for me personally because it limited my experiences, whether by fear or just the I-don’t-do’s, and in that kind of mindset I can imagine that it must be like living with Christ still on the cross. Christ still suffering and going through pain still suggests there’s this gap between God and man. There’s a train of thought that suggests that when Christ did in fact die that when the temple curtain was split, it showed that God was not contained to only the temple AND also that divide between God and man no longer existed. That, Jesus in his final words of “it is finished” did in fact make it so…

I also look at living in light of the crucifixion to be one of atoning for what we’ve done. Sure we’re no longer offering up grain and birds and livestock as a burnt offering, but thinking about prayers of “God if you do A, I will do / I won’t do B ever again”. To people who pray like this I ask this; why? Was not Jesus the last sacrifice mankind ever needed? Was “it is finished” not enough? Because such actions do point to “not enough” and for the person who lives under guilt- self-imposed or otherwise, lives a life of Christ still on the cross.

It is in light of the resurrection that I choose to live. That the gap between God and man has been restored, and if I am to take these theological extrapolations to the next level, it is in light of the resurrection AND the ascension that I live. That Jesus’ death on the cross brought healing to humanity, and so I must “go and do likewise” and so many other things that Jesus lived out in word and deed, so I too wish to conduct and live my life in BEing and DOing those things to best of my ability.

Granted you can’t have resurrection without crucifixion, you can’t know healing until you’ve been hurt, you can never truly admire the beauty of Spring without having gone through the hardships that winter brings. It is a difficult journey of faith for me at times, and yet one thing I keep in mind is that I will keep walking when I don’t see the road in front of me because God is there. I will keep enduring hardships because God is there. I will grow tired, lonely, disillusioned, and even doubtful…but God is there in the thick of it with me. I keep walking in light of the resurrection and ascension because I know with some of my heart some days and all of it at my end of days that because of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection AND ascension I can live freely and fully.

~Nathanael~

While I was teaching Sunday School…

I help teach Sunday School at one of my churches every 1st and 3rd Sunday, here’s something that gripped me this past Sunday…

***

Lately we’ve been teaching the kids the Bible as an overarching story, we’re covering events from creation in the OT to the birth of Jesus, death of Jesus and resurrection of Jesus in the NT. It’s not a bad curriculum, as it does give us time to discuss with our kids what they’re hearing and to see if they have any questions and/or we ask them questions. We started this curriculum to coincide with Easter, when we finish up it’ll be Easter morning, so kudos to the Sunday School powers that be at my church who thought that one through.

So last Sunday we were discussing sacrifice as how it was done in the Old Testament, where a lamb without blemish or disease would be prayed over by one of the rabbis and through the prayer the sins of the rabbi as well as all the Israelites would be put on to that lamb, from there the rabbi would slit the lamb’s throat and it would die and it would be the sacrifice for everyone for a year.
In the NT with Jesus, the ultimate and also the last sacrifice that was ever needed to bring restoration between God and Man, Jesus died on the cross, Jesus is our much needed sacrifice, so that through him we can have atonement and restitution made between us and God.

As we told this story, a boy who’s probably 10, a visitor to our church and Sunday School for the first time started crying at this point. You know what? I truly believe he was crying because he “got it”; that WE are the reasons why Jesus became a sacrifice, that WE are the reasons why Jesus suffered such a horrible execution…but thankfully by the grace of God that isn’t the other story, otherwise I’m just jabbing my jaw/typing my fingers off for no reason.

I wish I “got it” more often like that little boy did. That when I read “he was wounded for our sins” I actually think more than a flesh wound, but a metal to flesh, gory, horrifying scenario. I (even for a dark mind such as my own) make the crucifixion of Christ relatively tame. I do think of the implications at a deeper and sometimes darker level, but I don’t read into it like a copy of Frank Miller’s Sin City.
I need some time for self examination, and as an introspective person that is quite easy for me to do…why do I tame down the shedding of blood, the horrifying and death-taking and life-giving of the crucifixion of Christ? (I will get back to y’all on this later)

But back to “getting it”… My prayer is for God to use this in this boy’s life; by way of us Sunday School teachers but also his parents, to ask the why questions and to truly starting a relationship with God. He might be young, but even Jesus made known that children are important to him.

[n][v]