Easter is the commemoration of Resurrection Day, the day that Jesus rose from the grave thus breaking the power of death.
1 My child, keep my words [the account of my coming] and store up my commands within you.
We were encouraged Sunday night to read John 12-18 this week. John 12 holds a particularly strong statement made by Jesus that defines the wrath of God. It is,
31 Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.
The first half of the verse tells us what: Judgment; the second half tells us who: The prince of this world, i.e. Satan. From this verse, we can derive the definition of the wrath of God. That wrath is directed toward anything or anyone (namely, Satan) that deceives, damages or destroys His children. Jesus destroyed death so that we will not longer fear it (Hebrews 2:14-15).
Athanasius of Alexandria (296-373 AD) talks in his book, “On the Incarnation,” about how Jesus allowed his enemies to choose the form of death for Him (pg. 75). That way, when He won, no one could say that Jesus set the whole thing up. Just like a wrestler who takes on all opponents in whatever style of wrestling they desire, Jesus took on the cross, mankind’s worst torture/death tool. From Athanasius,
“…but he [Jesus] accepted and endured on the cross that [torture and death] inflicted by others, especially by enemies, which they reckoned fearful and ignominious and shameful, in order that this [way of death] being destroyed [by Christ’s resurrection], he might himself be believed to be Life, and the power of death might be completely annihilated.” Page 74-75
He goes on to say that the cross became “the trophy of his victory over death.” Jesus really was on a rescue mission to save His creation, mankind. Remembering that the Trinity was present at and on the cross with Jesus, Athanasius posits that the Trinity became flesh and blood in Christ so that death could be experienced and subsequently dealt with.
Athanasius continued, “that by the grace of the resurrection [Jesus] banished death from them [us] as straw from fire. For the Word [Jesus], realizing that in no other way would the corruption of human beings be undone except, simply, by dying, yet being immortal and the Son of the Father, the Word was not able to die, for this reason he takes to himself a body capable of death, in order that it, participating in the Word who is above all, might be sufficient for death on behalf of all, and through the indwelling Word would remain incorruptible, and so corruption might henceforth cease from all by the grace of the resurrection.” Pg. 57-58
Put plainly, love wins. From now on, we see God as the merciful and hospitable Father, who wins by love, whom we don’t have to fear, who accepts and adores us while we’re still a mess, and sees us as we are and heals us with hugs and Fatherly affection. He’s particularly fond of us, you know! His kindness, forbearance and patience lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4), and by His grace we have salvation and His direction in our lives (Titus 2:11-12).
What a joyous time of year it is as we remember all that He has gone through for us!
Abba, thank You for going to so much trouble for us! I am both humbled and lifted up knowing that we humans, Your creation, are very valuable to You. Thank You for saving us. May we make known the marvelous mysteries of Your grace to each other and to those who don’t know You (yet). Amen.