People often talk about why God allowed certain things to happen…how could God allow Tsunami’s or extended violence against the innocent? How can God allow babies to get cancer…where is he and what is he doing!?
In our economy, if God has all the power and is loving, why would he allow all this stuff? It makes no sense.
This had to be what people where thinking and how they were feeling during the days around Easter. Jesus was kind, giving, compassionate…how could God allow such a miserable thing happen to him?
What would happen if God did interrupt tragedy? What would happen if God suddenly cured all cancer and flattened the oceans or brought peace to war torn countries all in a moment’s notice?
Can you imagine people trying to describe that? There was this huge tsunami coming and it just stopped…or there was a tornado that was going to destroy us and it disappeared. The cancer ate itself, the grief is gone, no more pain, wouldn’t that be amazing!!!
If God acted in that way, it would be the focal point of their lives. Everything after that would be changed. The Jewish people reenact the Passover every year, telling the story of God’s action on their behalf over and over again. For them, everything is in light of God having acted that way before and he will do so again.
When I am asked why God doesn’t intervene like that I usually say I don’t know, because I don’t. If pressed further, I ask “where the line should be drawn?” Should it be natural disaster or anything involving children? What about spilling Starbuck’s delicious coffee when you need it most?
When and how should God intervene? If he did in the way we would want, wouldn’t that be what heaven is supposed to be like? This isn’t heaven is it? So is God absent? Does he care? Is he sitting there with all the power and all the knowledge but does nothing or what?
Well Easter is about celebrating God intervening. Easter is about God acting on behalf of humanity because there is something so much worse that needs to be dealt with, worse than cancer and natural disasters and other ills that befall humanity.
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” 8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
Young man dressed in white telling them what happened
Jesus was gone!
They were totally freaked out! Trembling and bewildered…that is what happens what you experience something unbelievable! The words for trembling and bewildered leave you with the sense of being shaken to your core and you believe you can’t do what is required because of it. Earth shattering would be the way we would put it. It’s the kind of thing that happens when you get news that life will never be the same again.They were completely blown away.
They ran away from the tomb like it was Ground Zero. Ground Zero it was. It was the exact moment and time when a major earth shattering, life altering, history shaping event took place. Jesus was resurrected. God had acted. God had intervened in human history and it shook them to the core.
God was keen to address human needs in a way they never anticipated.
Let me ask you this…if God stopped every natural disaster, every evil that would befall children or even cancer…what good would it do if he did nothing about sin? What good would it do if the heart of mankind could not be changed? In a world where ‘nothing bad happened’ you would still have to deal with the nature of mankind and our propensity towards evil. Sinstill exists. The fracture with God is still there. How can Jesus’ death heal that wound?
The moment we act imperfectly, we reveal the fracture, the wound. We do not live up to the perfection God has for us…we fall short, we wander away, we willfully go on our own.
Jesus, by living and dying and rising from the dead, defeated death…its power to destroy forever has been forever destroyed. There is new life in Christ.
Jesus by being sinless, broke the power of sin over the lives of humanity. It is by his life in us, by his holy spirit and his covering we are free from the bondage of sin and death. God in Christ has provided a way free of guilt and shame. He has made us free to participate in his life…we were buried with Christ, crucified with Christ and have been raised with Christ…the same way that we celebrate being set free in the Passover, we celebrate being set free in Christ Jesus.
We are not set free to our own devices. We are freed to be God’s people now…not our own. Some people have said, “if that is the case, why are Christians so mean or judgmental?” I say, we are not perfect. We are learning to walk in love and forgiveness.
Others say “if Jesus defeated sin, why do I keep doing it?” Sin happens more easily when we walk away from Ground Zero. When you walk away from Jesus and what he has done for you and you focus on other things, it is far easier to lose your freedom.
The Resurrection has the power to change human hearts, not just our circumstances! Just like dealing with ground zero, our lives are never the same after it, God changes us! . …over the course of human history, no institution has done more to help the poor, the needy and the marginalized than the Church.
Why? Because the resurrection makes us agents of change, ambassadors of the most high, to represent Him on the earth…we are changed and how we relate to creation and other people is now to reflect what He is like, revealing His goodness, grace and love to a world of Tsunamis, Terrorism, cancer and pain.
…Will you allow the power of the resurrection to shake you? Will you allow the power of the resurrection to make you tremble and bewildered? Will you allow Ground Zero to free you from your chains to live a new life? Will you cooperate with God in what He is doing in this world? Will you live your life as if God HAS acted in Human History?
These are different questions that what we started with are they not? God is present, he has acted, and acted in a way to truly free us from evil…the question is, what will you do about it?