Easter Sunday: ‘The Curse and the Crown’
Glory be to Jesus Christ who has rescued us from sin and death.
Today is Easter Day, it is the greatest…..
- Day in world history.
- Fact of world history.
- Benefit of world history…… Jesus was dead but he is alive.
And Christians today are the witnesses that stretch back nearly 2000 years.
But how is it the greatest and most provable thing?
Using the same historical method for anything else we go to manuscript evidence first.
The average Classical writer from ancient time has a pile of manuscripts 4 feet high.
History is constructed, reported, propagated, understood, researched by this method.
All good historians use the historical method to engage in research.
This is a good way to ascertain factual from myth and legend from likelihood.
OK. So the average ancient writer left us a stack on average 4 feet high.
And almost without question, these manuscripts a many centuries after the events they record.
Therefore, it is prudent to apply the same method to the Bible manuscripts right?
And when we do, we find something utterly breathtaking (report can be provided):
It’s called ‘The Bibliographical Test’ – easy to search online.
Not only are many NT manuscripts within the lifetime of the original Apostles.
The number of manuscripts is not merely dozens or hundreds (as are all the others).
But the Biblie total is 66,362 manuscripts.
This is not 4 feet high.
It’s not 1,776 feet high (World Trade Centre)
It’s a staggering 2 and a half MILES high.
And we haven’t even addressed the impact on history.
On nations and people and empires and kings.
Nor have we yet factored in personal testimony, powerful and unlikely conversions.
Miraculous interventions, the strange warming of the heart, the subduing of a rebellious soul.
The conversion of convicts, the setting free of addicts, the miracles and healings.
The testimony of honest people in every age to the presence of God by his Spirit.
A Holy Spirit that bears witness in us to the Risen Christ – hallelujah.
So when I say and when we say ‘Jesus is Risen’
It’s not ‘Pie in the Sky when you Die’
It’s ‘My chains fell off, my heart is free, to rise with Christ and follow Thee’
When Christians declare the Resurrection of Christ – we speak a profound truth.
We declare God’s reality: The Bridegroom has come for his bride.
And he will do no matter what it takes.
He will get us to the church and he will marry us.
Whether we are lazy, foolish, wicked, wayward, obnoxious, petty, arrogant, or a swindler.
How do I know that?
Remember the curse of the Fall in Gen 3?
That thorns were the sign and symbol of Adam and Eve looking in the cupboard upstairs.
They had everything but they wanted the one thing.
They had freedom, but they misused that freedom.
They desired wrongly; they took aim, and missed the target of God’s best for them.
Not only did they miss God’s best, in aiming high and reaching out and up;
In defiance of God’s word – their sin proved that they really aimed too low.
All sin is misplaced desire.
And when we sin, no matter how grand or banal – it’s always too low as far as God’s concerned.
And so the thorns come and dang don’t we know it when we stand on one eh?
In the Gospel accounts of the torture and murder of Jesus Christ;
Part of the State humiliation was to mock Jesus: Purple Robe, staff, crown.
But what do we see here?
We see Jesus, taking the curse of God in Genesis 3 and placing it on his head.
The very sign of the curse is now the Crown worn by the King of Kings.
The only way humanity could ever be free is to reverse the effects of the Fall.
So the ‘Sign of the Curse’ is placed on his head as a ‘Sign of his crown.’
But because Jesus is the sinless Son of God;
The Redeemer who was tempted in every way as we are yet did not sin;
The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Jesus fulfills God’s passionate love for humanity perfectly.
He full-fills it. He is FILLed with the FULLness of God in every way. 100% God. 100% Man.
Jesus – is therefore the most perfectly free human being ever.
In perfect alignment and obedience to God’s will, God’s desire, God’s purposes.
So when God commanded Adam and Eve: “Any tree but that one!”
Well, that’s the one they wanted. Original Goodness is usurped by Original Sin.
So the inevitable happened: Judgment, curse, banishment. Alienation.
And when Jesus, the Son of God became the Son of Man;
He took the curse and they made a crown.
And although the whole world was his and all things were made through him;
And although he was the freest most loving/powerful(meek) person in History;
Although he could go anywhere and do anything.
He chose the only tree that no human being would ever want: The Tree of His Cross.
Any tree but that.
Not my will, but yours.
And so Jesus becomes: judgment, curse, banishment and alienation. Jesus became sin for us.
- The curse is over-ruled.
- The crown is transformed.
- The judgment is exhausted.
- The alienation of forsakenness is shattered.
- And death itself is sentenced to death.
This is what the Bible means when it says: Jesus atoned for our sin.
Is it too much to ask that after spending 3 days scaring the Hell out of Hades;
That he would rise as Saviour, Redeemer and Lord of lords?
Where O death is your victory? Like Adam, we’ve all been victorious in sin.
Where O death is your sting? Like Eve, we’ve all been stung by the thorny curse!
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor. 15:54-57).
Beloved, the Church is a witness to these things: this Outrageous Grace.
We are witnesses and have experienced the earthquake that shakes the world’s foundations;
And turns the world upside down.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is God’s:
- Wedding invitation to the world.
- Enlisting into His Army
- Call to follow the Risen Christ: come hell or high water
And we know hell doesn’t stand a cat in hell’s chance, and Jesus walks on water
To all the Adam and Eves out there – Come on home.
The kettles on.