Friday, April 18, 2014

Reminder: My Good Friday Post of 2011

For Good Friday 2011, I put up this post analyzing the differences between the Gospel of John and the Synoptic Gospels in dating the Last Supper and Jesus' crucifixion. It remains timely today, and I cannot improve on the analysis, so I would commend it to your attention as we observe Good Friday today in preparation for Easter.

Do not let all the historical analysis sidetrack you from the main point: the Crucifixion and the Resurrection are two sides of the same coin. The one cannot be understood without the other. That is why all those who say today that the Resurrection was only a metaphorical, or even mass hallucinatory, event are missing the boat. If Jesus did not physically resurrect from the dead, the human part of him remains dead and buried, i.e., nonexistent corporally. And crucifying a mere human -- even one who was morally blameless -- could not propitiate the Father's wrath at human sin.

God sent His own Son that we humans might have eternal life (John 3:16). A dead Jesus who rose only "metaphorically" (or, still worse, as a temporary hallucination in the apostles' minds) could never be said to have eternal life in his resurrected body; instead, his body would long since have decayed into dust. To claim other than a physical resurrection for Jesus Christ is to mangle the Good News of Easter, and to render pointless the spiritual agony, physical suffering and excruciating death of Good Friday.

The human nature of Jesus (which, along with his divine nature, is combined into one person of the Godhead) remains eternally alive in a resurrected body. Jesus is still both Man and God, now, eternally, for ever and ever -- Amen. The Incarnation was an irreversible act that allowed God to become at one with his fallen creation. And the physical Resurrection is the seal of God's acceptance of Jesus' ultimate sacrifice for us, and for our salvation.

But in between Incarnation and Resurrection there has to be the Crucifixion. As you observe its meaning today, in relation to the entire Good News of the Gospels, take heart that we have the eternally God/Man, Jesus, as Our Savior and Advocate.

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