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Good Friday

Friday, March 21, 2008
Galatians 3:23, ' now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed' (NRSV).

Before faith came, as it were, we - being in the loins of Adam - were barred from partaking in the tree of life. We were cast out from the presence of Almighty God. 'He [God] drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life' (Genesis 3.24).

In Adam, and because of whom we are mortal, we lost our status as sons and daughters. We became bound to mortality - a kind of slavery. Our status became that of slaves.
Reigning from the Cross
But, thanks be to God, 'when the fullness of time had come, God sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children' (Galatians 4.4-5).

The Son bore the name Jesus. He was/is the Son by nature, for, He is what the Father is. The Son enjoyed a naturalis aequalitas (natural equality) with the Father. Yet, for the sake of a lost world, for the sake of lost mankind, He did not scorn participation in humankind's nature. For our sake the Son of God, one who was/is equal with God, one who himself was/is God, was paraded as a common criminal before the eyes of the entire world. Then, He was raised up on a tree born-naked. He was made a curse. For, it is written, 'cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'.

The devil and his little demons must have thought there is no way these human beings are going to get free now.

But, thanks be to God, the Father had something other in mind. When Jesus hung on that cross water and blood flowed from his side. As the Blood was flowing, the price for our redemption was being paid. 'He was handed over to death for our tresspasses ... ' (Romans 4. 25). That text from Romans goes on to say, and he 'was raised for our justification'. A justification that gives us access to the Father. Jesus' death swallowed up mortality and, in that death, we too can partake in that swallowing up of mortality. Thanks be to God.

John, the beloved disciple, said 'and just as Moses lifted up the serpeant in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up' (John 3.14). We know Moses lifted the serpeant as a sign for those who were going to die, that if they should have looked on the serpent they would be healed. In the same way, when we look at Jesus on the cross, freed from death, we are healed. Unlike the uplifted serpent, Christ uplifted is an enduring, eternal sign - ever-powerful.

Thus, Augustine was most right, when he said that if humankind were to forget that Christ died for humanity and it was effaced from the history of time then there would truly be dying.

Let us, therefore, look on Christ crucified.


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