The Christmas story and the Easter story have always intrigued me as the focal points of the Christian faith. My sense is that many people treat them as singularities, to be celebrated in grand fashion, but wholly separate from one another. This has always given me pause. I keep asking myself… “How can you have a cross without a manger? How could there be a man without a baby?”
The two images are more like a microscope and a telescope.
Looking back through the microscope of a manger scene where Jesus lies wrapped in “swaddling clothes” we see the creation of life as God intended. Adam and Eve were perfect people, and God intended when they procreated, they would have perfect babies. Not perfect in the “oh how beautiful a child!” but one that is born with a perfect relationship with God. This is what they enjoyed, and without that one awful decision when they listened to the Father of Lies, it may very well have been our reality today. But that didn’t happen did it?
From the manger looking through the telescope of the cross where Jesus hangs on a Roman instrument of torture and death, we see a glimpse into God’s answer to the awful decision by Adam and Eve. We see the great I AM giving His own life, so that we might be restored into that perfect relationship with our Creator. We also see the truth of heaven revealed above the Savior’s head, there on a plaque was written, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” He was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, and is a King, but not just of the Jews. The great I AM is King of the universe!
What grabs me is how fickle the hearts and minds of people can be at times. One gift given to all mankind, in the form of a baby destined to become Savior of the world, is not enough for some. We have turned the story of a Savior into a gift-giving madness where bigger is better, and more is better, and regardless of what we do receive it is never enough.
We watch the Easter vids, or we listen to the stories of people lining the streets waving palm branches and throwing their outer cloaks on the ground as Jesus makes His way into Jerusalem and we too have a sense of celebration. But these first-century folks were fickle too, they went from shouting “Hosanna!” to “Crucify Him!” in a short minute. We buy new outfits, new dresses, to gather in a place of worship and shout “Hosanna!” After which, our lives go back to normal, whatever normal may become these days.
But here’s the thing.
There is a third part of the story. Life in the manger didn’t end on a Roman cross. In a garden tomb, the light of the world overcame death in a final victorious resurrection. Jesus the man, was transfigured into His true identity – Jesus the LORD – for the final time. He rolled away that stone from inside the tomb and walked out the other side. Or did He?
My question is not whether or not Jesus Christ is alive today. My challenge is to get us past this idea that as the transfigured LORD how He could have been held by any tomb or any boulder across its opening? Why would He need to roll away the stone to leave the tomb, if later that day He would appear in a locked room without having come through the doorway? Yes, the stone was rolled away. Maybe just pause and think for a moment, that happened for YOU as a SIGN of the resurrection… not to facilitate His leaving!
The microscope of the manger and the telescope of the cross will have no transforming effect on your life today if you don’t believe then apply the empty tomb and resurrection of the Savior. Here it is, and you know you’ve heard it a million times from me in the past couple of years.
Jesus is LORD.
The Lordship attributes of Jesus are:
Jesus is in Control
Jesus in sole Authority over all things
Jesus is present with us, right here, right now
This Easter we are sheltered in place and not meeting at the House of Worship. You think it’s hard being cooped up where the kids are screaming, you’ve gained 5 pounds eating snacks all day, and watching more TV in a few weeks than in your entire life?
Imagine being dead, and in a cold, damp tomb for just three days! Jesus didn’t “want” to be there any more than you want to be at home right this minute.
But He did it to save mankind. Because this was God’s will. He said “yes” to God’s will.
How about we do it for the same reason? For just a few more days, weeks, or whatever it takes…
Can we do it? I really think so.
Because I believe in Jesus as LORD, and He has got this!
Happy Easter ya’ll! Praise the LIVING LORD JESUS for all He is doing … that we can’t even see!