This Sunday we will celebrate the Day that changed the world forever. It’s the Day that brought our freedom and restored us to our original identity. In John’s account, we see Jesus talking about what He’s about to do, giving Himself to God as a sacrifice for us, to glorify His Father and accomplish His eternal purposes. Here’s what happens next.
“Then suddenly a booming voice was heard from the sky,
“I have glorified my name! And I will glorify it through you again!”
29 The audible voice of God startled the crowd standing nearby. Some thought it was only thunder, yet others said, “An angel just spoke to him!” (John 28b-29 TPT*)
I had never really thought about this particular event this way before. Just imagine everyone hearing this booming voice from heaven, for the shock and awe of Pure Light had suddenly broken in on their darkened world! It’s a significant sign because Jesus speaks of it as a wonderful portent to the most significant event in human history!
30 Then Jesus told them, “The voice you heard was not for my benefit, but for yours—to help you believe. 31 From this moment on, everything in this world is about to change, for the ruler of this dark world will be overthrown. 32 And I will do this when I am lifted up off the ground and when I draw the hearts of people to gather them to me.” 33 He said this to indicate that he would die by being lifted up on the cross. (John 12:30-33 TPT*)
What was changing? Jesus was about to turn the world on its head! The evil one who had held humankind captive since the fall was about to be overthrown! Freedom was about to become available to anyone who would trust Him, for Jesus goes on to say…
44 …“To believe in me is to also believe in God who sent me. 45 For when you look at me you are seeing the One who sent me. 46 I have come as a light to shine in this dark world so that all who trust in me will no longer wander in darkness. (John 12:44-46 TPT*)
Beloved, this is the Easter message! Jesus didn’t come to appease an angry deity like some pagan sacrifice, but to rescue us from bondage and darkness! The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus was a rescue mission!
Early Church father, Athanasius (298 -373 AD), also gives us a brilliant analogy of Christ’s redemptive purpose, using the illustration of the subject being repainted for a new portrait when the original becomes disfigured:
“You know what happens when a portrait that has been painted on a panel becomes obliterated through external stains. The artist does not throw away the panel, but the subject of the portrait has to come and sit for it again, and then the likeness is re-drawn on the same material. Even so was it with the All-holy Son of God. He, the Image of the Father, came and dwelt in our midst, in order that He might renew mankind made after Himself, and seek out His lost sheep, even as He says in the Gospel, “I came to see and save that which was lost.” (Athanasius, On the Incarnation, 3:14*)”
What was lost was our true identity. It had become marred by the corrosive nature of fallenness. Jesus came, not only as our blueprint design with His incarnation, but also to restore our union with Him in God forever (I talked about this in more detail in my post, “Our True Identity Revealed.”)
It was God’s great love and good pleasure to do this, in accordance with His eternal purposes. Basically, He wanted His kids back!
4 And in love he chose us before he laid the foundation of the universe! Because of his great love, he ordained us, so that we would be seen as holy in his eyes with an unstained innocence.
5–6 For it was always in his perfect plan to adopt us as his delightful children, through our union with Jesus, the Anointed One, so that his tremendous love that cascades over us would glorify his grace—for the same love he has for the Beloved, Jesus, he has for us. And this unfolding plan brings him great pleasure!
7 Since we are now joined to Christ, we have been given the treasures of redemption by his blood—the total cancellation of our sins—all because of the cascading riches of his grace.8 This superabundant grace is already powerfully working in us, releasing all forms of wisdom and practical understanding. 9 And through the revelation of the Anointed One, he unveiled his secret desires to us—the hidden mystery of his long-range plan, which he was delighted to implement from the very beginning of time. 10 And because of God’s unfailing purpose, this detailed plan will reign supreme through every period of time until the fulfillment of all the ages finally reaches its climax—when God makes all things new in all of heaven and earth through Jesus Christ. (Eph.1:4-10 TPT*)
To celebrate this momentus Day, I will end this with a ballad by John Mark McMillan, “Death in His Grave.”
On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave
He has cheated
Hell and seated
Us above the fall
In desperate places
He paid our wages
One time once and for all!
He is risen…and so are you in Him!