Friday, 2 April 2010

Easter Meditation: Jesus Ain't No Rambo In Hell

Have you ever come across Rambo Jesus, like the one in this bit of drivel?

Of course, we can all watch that clip and laugh at how ridiculous it is, but when we aren't saturated in the words of the Bible, we can fall into the worldly kind of assumption that the real battles between good and evil go on somewhere else in an unseen spiritual realm.

You're that kind of Rambo-Jesus Christian if you think that after Jesus physically died, he then had to endure a second battle: going down into Hell for round 2, being beaten up by Satan and his cronies, before eventually getting his head together and wrestling his way out smack-down style. There are two dangerous and related assumptions in this view:
  • Salvation was not won at the cross but at the cross + huge cosmic battles in the unseen realm.
  • That the primary reason Jesus suffered was to ransom us from the power of Satan.
The first statement is untrue, because Jesus said so. His declaration from the cross: It is finished means exactly what it says... It's finished. Nothing left to do. Had it not been finished, he could not then have said Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit. The curtain of the temple was torn in two as he died, not some time after he had supposedly Rambo-ed out of Hell. The only reason Satan had power over humans was because humans rebelled against God, as soon as Jesus had dealt with the offence of that rebellion, Satan's power was gone and he was ridiculed - at the cross.

The second statement is untrue because Satan is not the human race's biggest problem, the wrath of God is. Jesus did not suffer to release us from Satan's clutches, but to release us from the awful prospect of the judgment of God falling on our heads for not obeying him. The cross is primarily a work of God for God.

The Father, Son and Spirit have all been monstrously offended by human rebellion, but rather than wiping out all of creation, they, all three, go to work to make amends. At the cross, the community of God lovingly and justly deal with human wickedness between themselves.

The outcome of this is that they can now freely declare armistice and show mercy and kindness to all who come humbly to them...

Both of those views are wrong because the primary reason Jesus suffered was to save us from the wrath of God. Satan and the occult are not mankind's biggest problem. The wrath of God is for our spurning of him.

When Jesus was in anguish in Gethsemane, it wasn't because he was about to go one on one with the Prince of Darkness, rather, he was about to experience the full fury of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for the sinfulness of the human race.

The Cross is an event in the life of God where God the Son soaks up the wrath of all three of them - Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so that all three of them can enjoy fellowship with a redeemed humanity. The ransom is paid to God, not Satan, because was God who had been wronged not Satan.

Once he had born that wrath on the cross - a place of both physical and spiritual torment (in the bible there is no division between spiritual and physical they are one) he cried It is finished. It was done and he could sleep in peace, and wait for Sunday morning...

It was ALL finished at the cross.

And as the Jews rested on the Sabbath after Jesus died, so too Jesus the ultimate law keeper, rested from his travail.

Like a seed planted in the ground waiting to sprout and multiply, so Jesus was laid in the tomb in peace waiting for resurrection morning, the first day of the Jewish working week, when he would begin gathering to himself a people who love him and then one day to renew the whole universe.

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