When you read this, Easter weekend has arrived. The time in which, more than any other week, we reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus. Just this week my wife and I had the 20 week ultrasound last Monday. We are expecting our first child in August; NEW LIFE.
‘because everyone, from big to small, already knows Me’
Last Sunday Anne and I visited Base Church in Utrecht. Here a woman (hallelujah, mega supporter of speaking women) spoke about the new covenant. She read a text that is so familiar and dear to me. And yet the text touched me in a new way this Sunday:
Jeremiah 31:33 But this is the covenant that I will make with Israel in time to come, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and write it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they will be my people. 34 They will no longer have to teach one another, saying, “Learn the LORD,” for everyone, from the greatest to the smallest, will already know me, declares the LORD. I will forgive their sins and never remember what they have done.
Wow. Read this text again, focusing on the last two sentences. This is the core of the finished work of Jesus. This is the new covenant. He died on the cross, rose from the dead on the third day and this opened the way to God. The veil has been torn, everyone can now know the Lord. In fact, these verses teach us: everyone, from great to small, already knows Me. What a grace. Anne and I can raise our child in this truth and reality.
The mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus
For Paul, this is the heart of the Gospel: Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and was raised on the third day – 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Boom, no explanation from Paul about the ‘how’: How exactly are our sins forgiven through the cross? How were the powers of death overcome by His resurrection? How are we bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus? None of this, no charismatic jargon. Just black on white. These are the facts and because of them we have unlimited access to God. For a long time I struggled with the cross. The people who know me know that I am a teacher. Someone who likes to give words to the theology of God’s Gospel. At the same time, I am increasingly discovering that the cross goes so much deeper, is so much more beautiful and so much bigger than my words can describe. Jesus’ sacrifice saved me and his resurrection isthe day the revolution started – N. T. Wright. Do I understand? No. Can I explain? No. Do I believe it? Yes! Is Jesus the hope for you and for all creation? 100%.
From silent Saturday to wonderful Sunday
You will receive this blog in the newsletter on Saturday. In this case, silent Saturday. The day that Jesus’ death was mourned. The day we pause to mourn the miserable things in this world. Because this too is reality. Jesus’ Kingdom has arrived with his coming 2000 years ago . His Kingdom isnow He is present in us through His Spirit and we may bring this Kingdom just as Jesus did. In addition, we expect the full breakthrough of His Kingdom when He returnsfuture . In the meantime, we may see glimpses of the Kingdom of heaven, we may already taste the powers of the coming age – Hebrews 6:5. And we must acknowledge reality, the reality of life, which so often still resembles Holy Saturday. Jesus knows your pain, your sadness, your mourning like no other. But know this: the third day is coming. Love wins and not even death can stop her.
The last sentences of the previous paragraph are the thoughts that continually come back to me this Easter week. Four years ago my wife and I lost a child due to a miscarriage. Silent Saturday. But the third day has arrived. We are expecting a healthy son in August, already my boy of whom I am so proud. What a grace that I can welcome him, love him and point him to the God he already knows through Jesus. Thank you Jesus for silent Saturday, thank you Jesus for your eternal wonderful Sunday, thank you Jesus for the new covenant.