And Can It Be
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” Genesis 1:1-5
“Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” “ John 8:12
It seems that every story in the Bible casts the shadow of Jesus. Again and again we see reflections of what was to come in the simple stories of the Bible. God has always been putting these “templates” into history, even into the pagan cultures of antiquity, so that when the Light of the World comes, He would be seen that much easier. Darkness has no power, never did. Darkness is simply the absence of light. As soon as light enters a dark place, the darkness has to recede. The light has all the power. Long before God created the light of creation, the eternal Light of the World existed within the triune God. And yet even at creation we see the shadow of Jesus, the template of the Light of the World.
It Is Well
“Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish. But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you…” Genesis 6:17-19
“But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:22-23
A theme that occurs through Scripture that people don’t want to contemplate is judgement. People don’t want to try to reconcile a loving God with a judging God. They think that judgement is wrong, and don’t want any standards to be placed against their life. It’s simplistic and selfish thinking, and it negates any benefit of the cross – we mock the cross when we say there is no judgement. We saw judgement in the Garden of Eden, and again in the story of Noah. God’s standard is His character, and the world was failing miserably at it, and so judgement was coming. And yet, in that judgement, there is grace. God chose Noah because he was righteous; there was something about him that set him apart from the population – holiness. He pursued God’s character. And so in the waters of the flood God used Noah to save his family from judgement. The book of John (1:11-13) tells us that “Jesus came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” The story of Noah shadows the greater vessel by which all God’s children are saved.
All in All
Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.” Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” And he said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.” Genesis 22:5-8
“The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” “ John 1:29
When have you ever sensed something wasn’t quite right? Abraham’s son had one of those feelings. There were four things needed for a sacrifice: rocks to build an altar, wood to burn, fire to start the burning, and something to sacrifice. Isaac knows they have two of the four, and that there would be rocks to use when they got to where they were going. But where was the lamb? Something wasn’t right, but his father assured him that God would provide, and God did. An angel stays Abraham’s knife and provides a ram caught in some branches, and Isaac was spared. Abraham’s faith is an example for us of walking in obedience to God.” As we go through life we hear from the wilderness beyond a voice crying, “Behold the Lamb.” The story of Abraham and Isaac on that mountain foreshadow the coming of a Lamb that would be the last sacrifice – the final sacrifice, because it was sufficient.
Lion of Judah
We could spend a long time walking our way through the pages of this book, the Bible. The shadow of Jesus falls across all these stories. For a thirsty people, just as Moses struck the rock in the wilderness, there is a Rock whose living water satisfies forever. In the battle against Goliath where an unlikely teen becomes a champion for his people, we see the shadow of a greater king who defeats Satan, sin and death to claim our victory. In the long exile of a people, Isaiah’s eyes were open to a vision of salvation and the journey of God’s people to a Promised Land that was not of this world. He saw the suffering servant, and saw His ultimate victory through that suffering. Ezekiel saw the stone cold hearts of people being changed to hearts of flesh, a people pursuing the righteousness of God. And finally, in a humble manger lay, the Hope of the world, the King who rules from a throne of straw to Calvary’s cross to the deathless tomb of eternal Easter. The Lion of Judah had arrived.
And so we celebrate today. We remember the resurrected Lord. We remember the work finished on our behalf. Even today we experience the salvation of Jesus. Many years ago snakes ran amok through the nation of Israel because of disobedience (Numbers 21:5-9). We wander like them so easily, but God calls us continually back to Himself. As the people died Moses cried out for grace, for salvation, and God answered. The bronze serpent was raised up so that those who would look on it would be save. Jesus said that he Himself would be raised up and all those who would look on Him for salvation would indeed be saved (John 3:14-15). The snakes today aren’t the kinds that run around on their bellies on the ground. They are the things that try to steal the joy of our salvation; that try to upset the peace that passes comprehension; that try to steal the love of God from our hearts. We languish about spiritually and even emotionally and all of life because we have been bitten by sin and selfishness; hurts and pains try to control our lives so that we are like the walking dead. But God has so much more for us, and so He calls us to look up and gaze upon the risen Christ. Raise your chins and witness the empty cross, the empty tomb. Walk with Him and talk with Him along the way. For of all the things Jesus is to us, He is our peace.
He is Our Peace