‘The Easter Paradigm’

Professor James Nestingen, in commenting on the Lord’s Prayer, once wrote, “In teaching them to pray, Jesus did not teach His disciples to transcend themselves but to ask.” And asking, of course, is something we humans are not very good at. Why? Because asking is a form of dying, a recognition of our limitations, an admission of need and a direct threat to our most dearly beloved, self-reliance.

 

When Jesus spoke of the life of faith He said things like this; “If anyone would find their life in this world, they must lose it.” He spoke of denying self and taking up the cross. Dying must come before life can begin. When St. Paul wrote to the Romans he brought them back to baptism in order to make clear the dynamic of the Christian life; “Do you not know”, he wrote, “that all of you who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” The sinner, sickened by sin, is beyond remedy. The patient must die.

 

The Easter paradigm of the Christian life is not an invitation to transcend upward to ever higher heights of spirituality and success. This may be good humanism but it is lousy Christianity, what Martin Luther called the Theology of Glory. Jesus was not raised from the dead in order to prop up our projects, however we define them. He was raised, as the New Testament proclaims, “for our justification” (to establish sinners in a right relationship with God). It is for this reason that we can say with Paul, “It is no loner I who live but Christ who lives in me.”

 

Easter is not the occasion for a lot of empty religious barking about new life. Our lives and the world are not progressing they are coming to an end. The life we do live is a life of faith – not faith in what we have done or believed, but faith in Christ Jesus on whose cross my sinful self has met it’s end, and out of whose empty tomb reverberates the promise of eternity.

                       Grace to you,

                                       Pastor Mark

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3 Responses

  1. This is so so good!

  2. I think it is the unvarnished truth.

    Thanks, Petra.

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