“…As he is the Beginning,
he was first to be born from the dead,
so that he should be first in every way;
because God wanted all perfection
to be found in him
and all things to be reconciled through him and for him,
everything in heaven and everything on earth,
when he made peace
by his death on the cross.”
Colossians 1:18-20 (Jerusalem Bible
For so many years we have been taught the dead and suffering of Christ as a bitter and hard sacrifice for our sins. But I have come to a new understanding, that it was not the suffering that we should be lamenting but the Joy of the Atonement. Christ came for one purpose, to be a joyful offering to The Father for our reconciliation. Every thing about his life reflects that he joyfully, willingly and deliberately went to the cross for this singular purpose; that we be reconciled and be made one with God.
From the words of the angel Gabriel to Mary, “Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favor. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son…. He will be great and will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:31-32) to every action of Christ, every miracle he preformed. All that Jesus did was to share the Joy of God for the people. And we know that it was God’s plan from the beginning of time that man be reconciled with Him. Jesus came for that one purpose. Ephesians 1:3-14 clearly states the divine purpose. And in verse 4 is revealed,”Before the world was made, He chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in HIS PURPOSE,” (Jerusalem Bible). Verse 5 says it “Was for his kind purpose TO MAKE US US PRAISE THE GLORY OF HIS GRACE.” Verse 9, “God has now revealed to us His mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill His own great pleasure.”
Why would God cause Jesus to suffer? Because to Jesus as God it was not suffering but JOY. As a mother suffers bringing a life into the world, Jesus, suffered bringing us into eternal life. As a mother is joyful in this suffering because she understands that the suffering is in bringing life, so did Christ willingly and joyfully go to the Cross. This is how we should see the crucifixion, as a mother giving birth. Not as death, but birth pains. We speak of being born again, but without the pain of the Cross where is the New Birth? Jesus said at the Last Supper, “This cup is the new covenant between God and His People – an agreement confirmed with MY BLOOD, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.” (Luke 22:20 NLT.) Remember this is why Christ came to us, to pure out his life that we may have eternal life. Look also on the cross as opening of a door shut before under the Old Covenant. Look how the Jews offered Atonement Offering without receiving Grace. See how they carried the guilt and shame with their constant sacrifices and still the Atonement was temporal. While the Sacrifice of Jesus is eternal. The moment he said, “It is finished”, the New Covenant was completed, and the New Birth was started for man.
As this New Covenant is eternal, the reconciliation is everlasting and complete, Jesus willingly went to the Cross, He joyfully went. This is why God,the Son of God was born. He told Judas, “Do what you MUST do.” He did not say, do what you want to do, but what must be done. He said, “The son of man must die, and in three days rise again.” Christ is God, He did not have to do anything, He did not have to suffer. So why did He? It was for His great pleasure, His Joy that He should die in the form of Man that we might be born again into eternal life. The JOY of the LORD, was not that Jesus was born, but that by His Sacrifice, we are born again.
And this brings me to the Eucharist, the Great Thanksgiving, offered up for the Atonement, not to offer up a new sacrifice but to rejoice in the one of the Cross of Jesus. So that when we partake of the Elements of Communion, we take part in the Same Sacrifice of Jesus, becoming as He desired in the Garden One with Him as He is One in God the Father. That in partaking of the Eucharist, we are made whole with the New Covenant, the same covenant of the Cross. The Joy of the Cross is that we are reborn in Christ, united by the Holy Spirit, one with God. There is no sorrow, their is only Joy in the rebirth.
John 6:43-51 (NLT) tells us why this must be. “Stop complaining about what I said. For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and in the last day,I will raise them up. It is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to me. (Not that anyone has ever seen the Father; only I, who was sent from God,have seen Him.)
I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life. Yes, I am the Bread of Life! Your ancestors eat manna in the Wilderness, but they died. Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever, and this bread, which I offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
Where then is the sorrow? Here is the Joy, that by the New Covenant, given in the Sacrifice of the Cross, is the New Life. And by the Eucharist, we share in the New Covenant that is permanent and everlasting. It is not a new sacrifice, it is the same sacrifice,the continuing offering of the Cross, the Joy of our Salvation. The reason Jesus came from the Father, not as a sorrowful suffering, but the pain of New Birth for us, that we may never suffer the Loss of Heaven! Do not linger at the Cross, the Crucifix as a symbol of pain and death, but as the Sign of our Rebirth in Christ, to be one with the Father. Take Communion, not as a simple memorial of death, but as the continuing Covenant of Peace and Grace as New Creations in Christ. There is not longer death, because we are now reborn into Eternal Life for this was God’s Great Pleasure, that we be one with Him.
There is no sorrow in the offering, it was an offering to bring Eternal and Perfect Joy. Weep no more, there are no tears, no more spiritual sorrows,no more guilt, only Joy, for Christ Joyfully died that we might have New Life in Him. Look upon the Crucifix with thanksgiving and great joy, by it we are born into Salvation and Grace. Without it there would still be shame, guilt and no true repentance and still death without grace. By the Cross, Jesus grants us God’s Great Pleasure, and we are a New People, New Life and New Hope.
Be with Eternal Joy with the Cross of Salvation, the offering of God for perfect Atonement. Christ willingly and joyfully offered Himself for our Rebirth in the Eternal life. Live in His Perfect Peace.