Our message today is in many ways a flip of the coin. In many ways—and bear with me—the Easter message is the message of the human Jesus. Jesus was a man who was found guilty by trial, was crucified, rose again, and then came among his followers. Of course, simultaneously, he was fully the Son of God and fully divine, but we cannot deny that there is a very human element to the Easter story.
Think of it this way, if Jesus had not been a man, he would not have been able to die on the cross nor defeat death with his resurrection three days later.
It is his beautiful paradox—full human yet fully divine—that makes him so fascinating of a person to try to understand, because he is both understandable within the concept of his geography, society, and time as a person and yet so unknowable as the Second Person of the Trinity.
A Different Take on Jesus
Of course, with this beautiful paradox comes different ways to approach Jesus and one of those ways can be found in the opening of our sermon text this week in 1 John. 1 John approaches Jesus firmly on “the flip side of the coin”—as fully divine. But what does that mean?
Well, first, Jesus existed “from the beginning”—which is the beginning of time, as we (as humans) know it. In other words, Genesis 1. John 1 asserts that Jesus was “life revealed”, and as Jesus is the Word of God, we know this to be the case. When God spoke—and God spoke the Word—life was created.
I know that for some this image is difficult to grasp. But just know that through Jesus all life was made, and 1 John 1:2 with the words—“this life was revealed”—affirms that.
While the author of 1 John affirms and testifies to this, he reminds us that “eternal life” with the Father came to us through Jesus, a reference to Jesus’s death on the cross.
Finally, the author of 1 John writes this so that we may be “complete.”
What should we take from it?
Well, firstly, it’s very elegantly written.
Secondly, we are reading the Easter story but just through a very different point of view. In fact, we are reading all of human history from the beginning of creation in Genesis 1 & 2 (including Adam and Eve although they are not specifically mentioned) to Jesus’s death on the cross, which brings about our salvation. The lens is simply set on Jesus’s divinity instead of his time as a human on earth, here with us.
But that doesn’t make it any less important. It makes it a little harder to relate to, we are (after all) human ourselves, but there is something important we can take away from all of this.
Thirdly, we are part of the grand design—and this should be comforting. We are part of the cycle of creation, exile from the garden, and then salvation. God has a plan and we are part of it. We cannot see it because we live short lives here on earth and we have short memories that barely reach back a hundred years in living memory.
Jesus, however, as the Second Person of God, remembers all time. He remembers Creation and all that comes after it all the way up to what was the “present” (his crucifixion and resurrection). He knows it all, he remembers it all, and he sees the patterns and how it fits into place.
His plan is centuries upon centuries in the making, longer than one person can remember, or one family can recall. He sees the pieces and knows their individual places and has a plan to put it all to rights.
As the author of 1 John says, “we are writing these things so our joy may be complete.”
May Your Joy Be Complete
There is a saying, “Let Go, and Let God,” and it is rather difficult to do. Now, for a quick disclaimer, it doesn’t mean to let go of everything and negate personal responsibility. But it does mean, when you’re in a bind or you’ve reached the end of a particular path, that you just put your life and your will in the hands of God—and allow him to take over.
We, in our busy “pandemic lives”, can’t see the big picture from the beginning of creation to the present to the End of Times, but Jesus can. There are certain moments when we have to just trust that our God—that Jesus—has our backs.
Sometimes, we just have to close our eyes and give it over to Jesus, because no one loves us and knows us better.
When I was in college (and, yes, I know I’m giving away my age), a Carrie Underwood song became rather popular entitled, “Jesus, Take the Wheel.” Sometimes we are in situations, just like that. “Jesus, Take the Wheel” is just a modern translation of “Live and Let God.”
Often, in the stress of this past year, I’ve tried to take a step back and “Live and Let God.” I can’t say I’m so perfect a human that I can always see it working, but I can say that allowing Jesus to take the burden has allowed me to feel less alone, more connected to my Creator when I cannot feel connected to my friends or my church family, when I couldn’t even go anywhere outside of my own apartment or even hug my nephews.
But Jesus is more than a catch-all for human distress. Jesus has been with us since before time itself. He sees the entirety of human illnesses, the whole of human wellness patterns, all of human conflict and wars, human migration throughout the centuries, and further back and back before we were separate races and people and all were just one tribe living on one continent. He sees everything, and through him we were created.
It is truly awe inspiriting that him, knowing us, our mistakes, our flaws—he still came to us as a human child and grew into a human man, sacrificed himself on a cross and rose again so as to save us from the worst of ourselves.
Think About It
Jesus sees all of time and all of us, and still loved us enough to come.
Think of the enormity of that action and the greatness of that love he feels.
And then, for a moment, consider that all he wants in return is to be loved back?
Do you love Jesus?
Have you considered it?
You don’t need to be perfect. None of us are! But have you accepted Jesus into your heart?
Think about it.