11th Apr, 2009

The Love of a Father

I found this sermon excerpt at Kingdom Grace while trying to wake up on this Saturday of Easter weekend.

Jesus’ coming and his death are the living expression of the unwavering and single-minded devotion of the Father to His dreams for our adoption. The reality that drives the coming of Jesus Christ, and pushes him even to the cross, is the relentless and determined passion of the Father to have us as His beloved children. He will not abandon us. It has never crossed the Father’s mind to forsake His plans for us. Jesus is the proof.

It is precisely because the Triune God has spoken an eternal “Yes!” to the human race, a “Yes!” to life and fullness and joy for us, that the Fall and its disaster is met with a stout and intolerable “No! This is not acceptable. I did not create you to perish in the darkness, not you.” The Fall of Adam was met by the eternal Word of God. The love of the Father, Son and Spirit is as tireless and unflinching as it is determined and unyielding.

Why did Jesus Christ die? What happened in his death? Jesus Christ died because the Father would not forsake us, because the Father had a dream for us that He would not abandon, because the love of the Father for us is endless and unflinching. And Jesus died because the only way to get from the Fall of Adam to the right hand of the Father was through the crucifixion of Adamic existence.

Jesus Christ did not go to the cross to change the Father; he went to the cross to change us. He did not die to appease the Father’s anger or to heal the Father’s divided heart. Jesus Christ went to the cross to call a halt to the Fall and undo it, to convert fallen Adamic existence to his Father, to systematically eliminate our estrangement, so that he could accomplish his Father’s dream for our adoption in his ascension.

In the incarnation, the fellowship and life of the Holy Trinity established a bridgehead inside human alienation. In the life of Jesus Christ, the fellowship of the Holy Trinity began beating its way through the whole course of human sin and estrangement and alienation. The faithful and beloved Son entered into Adam’s fallen world, but he steadfastly refused to be fallen in it. For 33 years he fought, moment by moment, blow by blow, hammering fallen Adamic existence back into real relationship with His Father.

What we see in Gethsemane, when Jesus falls on his face, the gut wrench of it all, the pain and overwhelming weight, the struggle, the passion, the agony, all of this is a window into the whole life of Christ. His whole life was a cross. From the moment of his birth, he began paying the price of our liberation. His whole life was a harrowing ordeal of struggle, of suffering, of trial and tribulation and pain, as he penetrated deeper and deeper into human estrangement.

On the cross, Jesus Christ made contact with the Garden of Eden, contact with Adam and Eve hiding in fear, contact with the original sin, with the original lie and its darkness. There the Son of the Father plunged himself into the deepest abyss of human alienation, into the quagmire of darkness and human brokenness and estrangement. He baptized himself in the waters of Adam’s fall.

There on the cross, he penetrated the last stronghold of darkness. There he walked into the utter depths of our alienation. There the intolerable “No!” shouted by God the Father at the Fall of Adam, found its true fulfillment in Jesus’ “Yes! Father, into Your hands I commend my spirit,” as he took his final step into Adam’s disaster. Jesus died–and the Fall of Adam died with him.

The darkness that infiltrated the scene of human history and wreaked such havoc upon the human race, on this day and in this moment, met the light of Trinitarian life in Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. How could the darkness win? As surely as the flip of a light switch dispels the darkness in our homes, so surely the light and life of the Triune God conquered darkness, and death itself, in this moment, in the very person of our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God.

It is not called dark Friday; it is called good Friday. Amen.

Remember that Jesus said He did nothing but what the Father told Him to do. God’s love nailed Jesus to the Cross. That is how much God loves us. We must know that and never forget it. His love will compel us onward.

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