A N O M A L Y : Hero [Expanded]

 

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Everything about our being and all that is associated with our existence has absolutely no meaning and worth, for all of it fades. It is all finite; On a long enough timeline, the smallest details of our lives up to the greatest empires we build would amount to absolutely nothing. 1 times zero is zero, as one hundred billion times zero is zero.

That is how I understand death. It is not just the end of our physical lives, but the totality of the end of all that we are. It’s the zero. Diving into the etymology of the word, 'death', we see another perspective to this claim:

Old English deað "death, dying, cause of death," in plura, "ghosts," from Proto-Germanic *dauthuz(source also of Old Saxon doth, Old Frisian dath, Dutch dood, Old High German tod, German Tod, Old Norse dauði, Danish død, Swedish död, Gothic dauþus "death"), from verbal stem *dheu- (3) "to die" (see die (v.)) + *-thuz suffix indicating "act, process, condition."

Death is the addition of the condition of death, reducing the condition and quality of life to an inevitable zero.

As early as the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, God blessed man and woman, allowing them to be fruitful and to multiply - to fill and subdue the earth and to have dominion over all life (Genesis 1:28-30). I see this as God giving man and woman natural authority over all that is.

Think about this, as we recall that Man was brought to the one tree he was not allowed to eat from; Thinking there was more than having God, he was led to think that the fruit from this forbidden tree was enough to be like God. Unfortunately, what man did at this point was to take in what only God could handle; Creation took on what only the Creator could take - the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

The deception of the serpent (Genesis 3:1-5) had him representing humanity and everything he had authority over, in insisting that he could do all that God could do without God, who, sadly, was Life itself. In wanting more than infinity, man and all he had authority over became zero.

Sin is the acceptance of work to avoid death - the insistence to earn life and, consequently, the rejection of true Life as a gift. It is any and all acts that try to add value to zero. Many would like to say that as a consequence of our sin, death entered the world... But to be precise, the condition of death was placed upon all creation and all reality as we perceive it. From then on the stars in the heavens down to the tiniest cells were subject to entropy.

Because of this, I believe the Preacher in his claim - that everything is meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12:8)... Indeed, everything is nothing... NOTHING. If God had not intervened, all would have become nothing. Imagine - left unencumbered, humanity could just grow more and more proud, more insistent in its ‘progressing’, reaching the pinnacle of arrogance just as it joins the rest of the cursed reality in a crushing defeat, an absolute end. The only perfection guaranteed was a perfect zero.

Descent

But the thing is, God intervened. The fact is, He never left. We may never know in this side of what we call reality, why Christ came at the moment He came, but we simply cannot believe that God was not with us before Christ. No, He has always shown Himself as faithful to us. In fact, right after man and woman ate of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Bible says He was the one who went about looking for them (Genesis 3:8-9).

We also know what was said by the Creator immediately after confronting who would eventually be named Adam and Eve. See, the problem was that man's choice pitted us into futility over eternity, and as such, God would lay out the immediate consequences (Genesis 3:14-19). However, He did not stop there, for subtlely mentioned in all He said was such a precious promise which hinted the death of death and the return of Life; a promise of reconciliation, and vindication, in the fullness of time (3:15).

God, who I imagine could have flinched at the unspeakable horrors which birthed out of sin, was actually lovingly demonstrating His true character of grace and truth. As early as then He was straightforward in telling Adam and Eve the sheer magnitude of what they have done - but, more importantly, He did not hesitate to tell them the greater glory He would eventually do. He presented the facts but placed emphasis on the Truth.

As the Word progresses we see, again and again, how God acted and responded, showing us how He was with us, through it all. God was there when He stopped Abraham from plunging his knife into Isaac. He was with Isaac's servant as his audacious prayer was answered down to the smallest detail when he found Rebekah. He was with Jacob - wrestling with him, and eventually birthing forth who would eventually form the nation of Israel.

By God's faithfulness, He encouraged Moses, the stuttering, runaway murderer, to stand up before Pharoah, the pinnacle of human authority at the time. Through Moses, God granted two-fold freedom to His people: (1) freedom from slavery, through supernatural and miraculous wonders, a humiliating blow to each Egyptian deity, and (2) freedom into living their true identity as His people, through the Law, which caused His people to remember the character of the one true God, who was Holy, Holy, Holy.

At this point, it is important to note that it was also by the grace of God that there were provisions in the Law for sacrifices to be offered in case the people made mistakes. It was implied and proven that they will definitely make mistakes. Through this system introduced, atonement can be gained, if only for a temporary time; the finite cleanliness of the sacrifice would be transferred to the offender, and the sins of the offender would be transferred to the sacrifice.

In the Garden, God walked with Adam and Eve. After the fall, mankind beheld the glory of God through great signs and wonders; He spoke, and Abraham heard. Moses and the people of Israel obeyed, and not only did they hear, but they SAW God's glory in the pillar of cloud and fire. They heard, they saw, and they felt God's presence through the Tabernacle, which was built according to the Law's instruction.

And even with Moses gone, God's faithfulness remained upon His people. By His grace, Joshua and Caleb conquered the land promised to the Israelites - and in spectacular fashion too, beginning with the stopping of the Jordan river and the fall of the great walls of Jericho! As time passed, God showed His significant influence and favor over the nation of Israel through the Judges (Samson, Gideon, etc.); and even when Israel wanted to be like her neighbors, He remained faithful to her in the time of the Kings (Saul, David, Solomon etc.).

From the Tabernacle which inspired the Israelites to take over the land wherever they camped, God's faithfulness continued to be evident, as His glory and power shifted from a tent to a glorious structure, the first Temple constructed by Solomon.

Over the centuries, and through the many generations which lived under kings, God remained faithful. Even if these kings didn't exactly measure up to the absolute holiness of God, or rejected Him completely to go for idols instead, He remained faithful. By His grace, we see the nation of Israel completely destroyed by the Babylonians, then the Persians, then the Greeks... only to be literally resurrected and brought back, flourishing greater than before.

God drew closer and closer, but as you would have it, the people grew weary of the Law. We see in Malachi, the final book of the Old Testament, how Israel became absolutely complacent with the ritual sacrifices and offerings. They were giving flawed sacrifices, and they were working out of obligation as if the memory of God's greatness had completely faded.

We see in the accounts of the Old Testament that the people of Israel were brought to the kingdoms of their conquerors to be assimilated; but between the Old and New Testament, Israel was brutally introduced to another form of conquest - a fate worse than destruction and exile, they were dominated by the Roman Empire, conquered not only in sovereignty, but also in identity, being forced to renounce their very identities in their own land.

Israel was at her absolute lowest.

Event Horizon

It was at this time where God's love and mercy refused to relent any further and came so much closer to us.

For in the fullness of time, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, would be born. Who we used to hear, then see and hear, then see and hear and feel, we would literally touch, and He would laugh with us, cry with us, eat with us, walk with us... God-made man, yet fully God AND fully man. Emmanuel, He was WITH us!

Countless teachers and theologians of the past would point out the wisdom in the sayings and responses of Jesus. Many still would also emphasize the absolute authority and power He has through His many miracles. Controversy would arise, and many will claim that this man was stupid, insane, contradictory. Indeed, Jesus Christ was fully God and fully Man - He was fully engaged, and certainly got a lot of people talking... But beyond demonstrating His boundless sovereignty over time and space in this reality, we cannot overemphasize that He operated out of perfect love, in all things showing the Father's love for us through all that He did.

To the majority of those afflicted and forlorn, He would love them by teaching them, feeding them, healing them; He would protect them and even raise them from the dead. In one strategic move He would love the adulteress AND the Pharisees at the same time, standing in the gap for her, and rebuking the elders - yes, to those who openly sought to end Him, He would (1) demonstrate that He alone has the authority to lay down His life, and (2) lovingly rebuke them, when nobody else dared to do so.

He spoke to Nicodemus the way He did, out of love for him. His rebukes to the Pharisees in offense and defense were performed with precise intention, out of His perfect love for them. In overturning the tables of the money changers and those selling clean sacrifices at the temple at exploitative prices, He actually demonstrated even more love. For in every single instance when Man attempted to add upon the grace of God made freely available to us all, He lovingly rebuked him.

...and in a world where the curse of death has us predisposed to a futile scrounge for meaning in an equally cursed, ultimately meaningless world, callously ignoring the sheer love who was Christ, He demonstrated the greatest love of all, in a manner which cannot deny (1) the infinite greatness and eternal glory of our God, and (2) the equally perfect and everlasting love God has for each and every one of us.

Zero

Who we used to hear, then see and hear, then see and hear and feel, who we literally touched, who laughed with us, cried with us, ate with us, walked with us... first, laid down His godliness by being born as one of us, now, being literally alive with us.

Not satisfied, He then offered up His life; a body of flesh, infinitely cleaner than any spotless lamb. He offered up His own blood, eternally superior beyond compare to that of bulls and sheep, ensuring the forgiveness- the erasure of our sins, our cleansing, forever!

What's more, and actually more important is this: Paul says we have been crucified with Christ. At the cross, Christ offered His body for us; He drank from the cup down to the dregs, taking the unimaginable pain and the overwhelming anxiety that we deserved.

Oh, and to see how Jesus Christ was treated, sheds light on what was in store for us, had nobody stepped in! He was falsely accused, and wrongfully tried; the same One who came to proclaim the Good News of God's love was accused of blasphemy against Him, and the same One who would be known to usher in the Ministry of Reconciliation was then being condemned for treason!

Pontius Pilate set a deserving criminal free and washed his hands as the mob, blinded by hatred, would ask for so much more than imprisonment, exile, or even the swift execution of Christ as a common lawbreaker - They would have nothing less than His crucifixion. They demanded His humiliation as His half-naked body hung on a wooden cross, slowly but surely expiring, each and every second thereafter spent in the greatest physical pain the mind could conceive at the time.

A transgressor under the Old Covenant was subject to judgment; Christ became the transgression. To emphasize, unlike the sacrifices offered under the said covenant, Christ did not merely 'alleviate' transgression - He BECAME transgression. Furthermore, He did not become transgression for a fixed period of time; and no, He did not just take all our sin for ALL time - no, the sheer perfection of the sacrifice who was Christ, the Lamb of God, implied that ALL of Christ became all that sin is, so as Christ died, so sin died. So since we've been so infused and united with sin, we can say that as Christ died, so we died. As it was with the sacrifices offered at the temple, we have been united with Christ in His death.

By Christ's sacrifice, the perfect Law which came through Moses was satisfied to the fullest. By this perspective, we are able to say that Christ was true to His word when He said that He came not to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.

"For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." - 1 Corinthians 5:7

(Interlude)

Judas' lifeless body was hanging in an unremarkable location. Peter was probably still sobbing, astonished at the absurdity of Christ's prediction that he would fail Him, and/or crushed that it came to pass, thrice. I would imagine that one admirer of this 'King of the Jews' was watching and waiting to see if a miracle would happen at the last minute, only to be disappointed as the legionaries pierced the side of his torso, blood and water gushing forth from a body confirmed dead.

What a ridiculous scene, equally pathetic and ironic. The sign which read, 'This is Jesus, the King of the Jews', remained fastened to the top of a cross, where a lifeless, cursed body hung. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus had to move fast, risking their reputations, to ensure that this corpse would be properly processed and buried in a tomb, so no body was hung as the observance of Passover continued.

The disciples were in hiding. These were men who saw the miracles of One who couldn't just have been a teacher. These were those who saw the sheer life exuding from the identity and actions of One whom Peter called the Son of the Living God; these were the same witnesses to His betrayal, humiliation, torture, and execution. In a short period of time (in a succession of events as quick as it was brutal) they were witnesses to the Hope of Glory - who I would like to believe was their own hope in one way or another - suffering hopelessness, in the form of absolute pain and death!

The veil in the temple was torn! Darkness fell, and the earth shook! Yes, prophecies were fulfilled, but Reality was still wondering, and wondering.. The One who said, 'It is finished', was now in a tomb... He said, 'It is finished', but then, He died! Was it finished? What WAS finished? What gives? What now?

One

And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease.  He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. - Flavius Josephus

Alas, by Christ and His death, so much said by the prophets who walked the earth ages before was fulfilled...

...But there was so much more prophecy to come to life.

Literally.

After 3 frantic days and 3 silent nights, Jesus Christ, who boldly proclaimed to the Pharisees that He would 'tear down this temple', gently called out to a mourning Mary.. alive.

He walked with a couple of followers along Emmaus, fervently and passionately elaborating to this discouraged duo how Christ was the fulfillment of prophecies; He gave thanks with them for a meal.. alive.

He showed the holes in His hands and feet, and on His side, to Thomas, and to the rest of the disciples.. He called them out and had them pull in a boatload of fish, then serving them breakfast.. alive.

In the Beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. This Word that was flesh lay down His life, died and was buried... and, being true to His Word, has come back to life, the Living Word.. alive.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived, died, and now lives again. The One who tasted death trampled death by death. The One who became sin proved that we are His righteousness, affirming that it was indeed finished; that it has all come to pass, and that it's all true... by coming back to life. By His resurrection, He demonstrated how finite sacrifices stayed dead, serving as a temporary propitiation, and that only an infinite Sacrifice could fully satisfy a perfect Law. Indeed, if the sacrifices in the temple were enough, then we would have seen the bulls and lambs come to life - how preposterous, for a finite creature to have an infinite bearing! But now we see that by Christ's death He took the death we deserved, and by His resurrection, we have been served with His life.

He rose from the dead, so did we, as new creations. We no longer have the condition of death, but we don’t just have a ‘condition’ of life either - Who we used to hear, then see and hear, then see and hear and feel, who we literally touched, who laughed with us, cried with us, ate with us, walked with us - He died for us, and now, He is now alive IN us, and we are alive IN Him. The sin which once separated us has lost its grip on us. Death has been overturned by the life we now have with Christ. The only reason we have life, and life abundant, is because He lives. We are alive. God is as close as He could ever be with us - closer even than Adam and Eve were close to Him in the original Garden - in that we are alive, and alive in Christ!

To reiterate: When He died, we died, and because Christ is alive, so we live! The resurrection of Jesus Christ communicates how Christ has us, and how we have Christ. Therefore God is as close to us, and we are as close to Him as we could ever be, for by Christ, now we are together as one, forever!

Infinity

Our faith in the Righteous Son of God, the faith which was authored in us by Him and to Him who is Faithful and True has been attributed to us as righteousness as well... Our old self was nailed to the cross and killed, and this life we now live is a life abundant, for Christ is our life, and He is our righteousness.

Once, sin had us doomed to hell - degeneration, and death unto entropy. Christ became sin and bore its consequences, effectively negating our fate, bringing us beyond an even zero; no, there was not just a cancellation in the equation, but there was an exchange! The moment He rose, He overloaded and overcame death by life, confirming that we were no longer slaves to sin, but the literal righteousness of God in Christ, bearers of eternal life, ushered into infinity.

We could only go as far as we could as finite beings attempting to reach infinity. Christ came from the infinite heavens and lived as a finite being, and even laying that down, just so that His nature as the infinite Son of God would be proven, and, consequently, that our reality would shift - for from finite beings who could barely comprehend, much less trust in infinity, we became new creations, seated in the heavenly places, with infinity as our prevalent perspective, even in this finite reality.

The work of an infinite Savior infinitely overlaps the condition of that which is finite. In other words, the results of Christ’s birth, life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension are infinite compared to our finite perspectives. Consequently, the promises of an infinite and eternal Savior are not just fulfilled for a finite time, but they remain fulfilled for all eternity; and as we are in this finite world we can never hope to fully comprehend, but only to trust in the infinite.

This is the rest we labor to enter in - our primary work now is to understand the Truth of Christ and His finished work, as it is a full demonstration of our obedience to behold the obedience of the Son of God. See, by now it should be clear that this Salvation that we are so passionate about have is not an idea, not a concept or a technique, not a possession to sell (as Simon the magician presumed he could buy from Peter). The Salvation we have is literally Christ Himself. He paid such a price for us to say now that we are one with Him, 100% of the time, for all time.

The more we feed on this Truth, the more this Truth just manifests in us, and the more those within our sphere of influence see that we have more than membership to a sect, more than knowledge presumed to be exclusive. As we behold infinity, so the finite world beholds infinity, who is Christ alive in us, with us, through us. This everlasting peace is not just something we have, but is literally alive in us and with us forever! It's something that we actually could not hide, much less keep from sharing, for it just overflows!

Epilogue

This is so much more than a mind that meditates on the Law of God, as elaborated in the Psalms. For back then, we were as trees planted along the streams of water, but when we believed in Christ, we do not just have streams, but rivers of living water gushing forth from our bellies! I imagine these rivers that come forth from our bellies are representative of the literal life we speak, as we allow more and more of our senses to appreciate Christ, our abundant life. perfect yet ever expanding.

And that’s just one perspective. I may have had inaccuracies with everything else here, and anyone and everyone is welcome to present me with what they have in mind... but one thing I do know is that there are endless perspectives to and from this life we have, which is nothing less than Christ Himself, alive in us, right here, right now.

With that said, we’re not saying there is nothing left to do.

On the contrary, through Christ, everything comes alive.

‘It Is Finished,’ so believe.

Enjoy, for ‘He Is Risen!’

- end? -

 

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