Monday, March 24, 2008

Promised Land

This is Easter weekend.

How many of you fully appreciate what that means?

In true Shakespearian fashion there’s a story within a story here. The redemption of the Children of Jacob (Israel). And the redemption of Mankind.

In both stories redemption comes from the Hand of God, working through the hands of a man.

Let me tell you what I mean.

Moses, a man who means well, kills an overseer who was abusing a slave. Knowing what he has done is wrong, albeit done for the right reasons, he takes off to go into hiding, spending forty years in the land of Midian, and building a new life.

God gets his attention and sends him back to rescue the nation of Israel from bondage to Egypt and Pharaoh.

Pharaoh isn’t having any, considering the impact of the loss of labor on the Egyptian lifestyle.

God visits a number of demonstrations on Egypt, leading up to the killing of all the first-born in the land, except for those who have chosen to follow Moses’ instructions in a ritual that has come to be known as the Passover, because the Angel of Death passed over the houses marked with the blood of a lamb.

Pharaoh sends them away, but has second thoughts, and tries to capture and/or kill the Children of Israel by main force. Moses, directed by God to stretch out his staff, parts the Red Sea, the Children cross over and Pharaoh’s army drowns in the sea when it rushes back into place.

(A little side note: there’s a story about a man who asked a Jew, “Do you really think that God parted the Red Sea to let you cross over?” To which the Jew replied, “Well, here we are...”)

Now, fast forward a millennium or so. Jesus, a man who has made something of a name for himself by generally doing good deeds, has also managed to raise the hackles of the religious leaders of the day. They scheme for a way to eliminate him and return to a comfortable (for them) status quo. That’s their view of things.

From Jesus’ standpoint of being a man, but also the Son of God, he sees it as the reason He came to earth: to become the Passover lamb for the world, allowing anyone who would to take His blood upon themselves, and thus escape the eternal death.

He proved it, not by dying, but by returning from the dead.

Thus Easter is a second Passover, writ large on the canvas of the entire world, and for all of time.

Satan, like Pharaoh, is not content to let his captives go, even after the battle is over. He continues to strive against us, lying to us, turn us one against another, causing us to try to harm each other.

That’s the only way Satan can get his licks in.

Like Pharaoh, Satan will meet his end when the portion of the human race that chooses to passes through the Red Sea of death into the Promised Land of eternal life at the end of time.

Do I really believe this?

Well, He rose. Eleven men, plus Paul (formerly known as Saul the Persecutor), staked their very lives on it. If Jesus had not risen, the scattered followers would have remained scattered, and this would have been a curious blip in history.

Can you believe it?

Yes, you can!

(Will you believe it? Only you, and God, know.)

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