Today’s passage: 1 Corinthians 15
There’s an exercise that one can do to try and come to a better understanding of who you are as a person. On a piece of paper, drawn a straight line, representing time. On the left hand side, mark a line for your birth. Above your straight line represents good, and below the line represents bad. The exercise is to think back over your entire life, and to graph your life. When things go really well, you’re graph will head way into the north. When things go really badly, it’ll dip into the chilly south. It’s an interesting exercise to do, not least in part because in drawing out our life, we don’t draw in every instance in our lives. We pick and choose the most important events; the events that have most shaped us. Some events mark dramatic shifts in our fortunes – the kind of event where we can say, “This is where everything changed…” whether for good or for bad.
If we were to do the same task again, but this time not for ourselves as individuals, but for humanity’s relationship with God, there would also be valleys and mountains in our graph. The incredible high at the start, as we enjoyed the garden and worked to spread it across the earth. Reaching even higher when God- God!!! – walked with us, smiling at all that we were doing. Then a huge dip, almost beyond the paper, when we were caught choosing to do the one thing God had told us not to. From there, the graph would quiver. Tumbling at babel. Climbing as God connected with Abram and made him promises. Rising as Israel is invited to stay in Babylon through drought. Tumbling as they suffer for 400 years. Rising with Moses’ leading the people out. Falling as the people kept forgetting God. Rising again with each new judge. Rising with King David’s arrival, and God’s promises to him. Falling as David has his moral failures. And so it continues. Rising and falling… but never reaching the heights of the start.
That collapse at the start was the turning point for humanity. It’s where everything changed.
And then Jesus was born. And the graph rises. And He preaches the nearness of God’s kingdom, demonstrating it with incredible power. And the graph rises. It looks like things are on the turn. At least some come to understand that He is God. God walking with us. The graph spikes upwards.
And then Easter happens. And everything turns.
Betrayal. Arrest. Trial. Execution. Darkness. Death. The lowest point in our relationship with God as human beings. Not just rebellion, but Regicide.
This is, surely, the turning point for humanity. From bad to worse.
This Friday, as we gather together, we focus on this turn for the worse. But we find that things aren’t exactly as we expect them to be. Jesus, God become man, isn’t surprised by the turn. In fact, He came with explicit authority to allow Himself to be turned against. He came with the authority to lay down His life. Easter Friday looks like it’s about robbing Jesus of His life. But it’s not. It’s about Jesus letting us take His life.
For those who loved Him, Easter Friday seemed like a turn for the worse. All their hopes of reconciliation with God were dashed. When things are dark, we struggle to see. All they saw was the dive into darkness. But Jesus had planned this dive. He’d long foretold it. But He’d also spoken of a dramatic turn in the other direction.
The day when everything changes. The day the graph doesn’t just inch up, but flies off the graph to the good. The day when Jesus rises from the dead; taking up His life again. Defeating death. Alive. Our hope for today and for tomorrow. Our sins dealt with, our rescuer forever standing before God’s throne speaking on our behalf. Our sins dealt with, our life His.
This is where everything changed…
And this is where it changes for us as individuals, too… if we let it; if we put our trust in Jesus. Sure, our personal timeline will still waver. But Jesus’ life – from God’s presence, down to the depths of hell, and back into God’s presence – is tethered to ours. And His draws ours ever closer to His; in preparation for the day of His return. His line becomes the line that ultimately determines ours.
Will we let this be where everything changes?