In one of his letters to the Corinthians the apostle Paul summarizes the bedrock of our faith: Jesus died for our sins, was buried and was raised on the third day.
Death runs in the family, that is to say – everybody must die at some point. That is all we know and can remember; still, there was a brief time in the history of mankind when there was no death. At the dawn of creation death was absent. Earth was Paradise on the day we were born. God was connected with mankind. We walked and talked with Him. This season ended when we left God and went our own way; as a result, all of creation was put on death roll. “Why?” you may ask – “Animals and plants had nothing to do with our decision to leave God, why would they suffer alongside with us?” The Trinity is a community and so is His creation. When one part of creation is affected, all are affected.
There are all kinds of issues arising from death. One is separation anxiety. I went through separation trauma when I lost my Dad through divorce. I was two years old at the time. If I could have voiced my confusion back then, I would have said something like this: “Dad, why did you leave me? I thought you loved me!”
My Dad really didn’t leave me. He was divorced from me.
Death does the same thing. Death divorces people from us.
Death divorced Jesus from the Trinity. For a while the Trinity was reduced to two. It is one thing when families are torn apart; it is quite another when the Godhead is torn apart. Here is what Jesus prayed when He went through the agony of separation (Psalm 22:1):
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
God did not leave Jesus. He was divorced from Him.
The pain of separation has scarred all of creation. “It is finished” Jesus prayed shortly before His physical death on the cross. What is finished? Is Jesus finished? Obviously not, otherwise His last word would have been: “I am finished.” How about: “Death is finished”? Well, He is about to die, so that can’t be it. How about: “My punishment is finished?” Still, this doesn’t ring true to me because His punishment was the death sentence, and He was not dead yet. How about: “My mission is accomplished?” I believe this with all of my heart. It is His mission to save us from death and bring us back to God.
God hates divorce. He sacrificed His Son to bring us back together. The door to reconciliation is wide open and Heaven can’t wait to welcome us home.