1 Corinthians 15:1, 3-4: “Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

Death runs in the family. Everybody dies.

There are all kinds of issues arising from death. One is separation anxiety. Separation is a trauma we’re all dealing with at some point in our lives. For me it happened for the first time when I lost my Dad through divorce. When my parents divorced I was 2 years old. I couldn’t voice my confusion back then. If I could have, 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. Talking about trauma here: It is one thing when families are torn apart; it is quite another when the Trinity 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 because his punishment was the death sentence, and He was not dead yet. How about: My mission is accomplished? I believe that with all of my heart. Jesus finished what He was set out to do.

Our souls are housed in our bodies during our lifetime on Earth. Death eventually separates the two. A soul without a home is the greatest agony imaginable. Rootless, restless, hopeless, empty and lost our souls roam without a home. Divorced from God, our souls are drifting gypsies. But praise the Lord! – Jesus has saved us from homelessness. He is currently in heaven preparing a place for us.

God hates divorce and did everything in His power to overcome separation that goes beyond death. Reunited with our Maker, we beat futility. Life on Earth is not business as usual with Jesus in our midst. We get a foretaste of eternal life while we’re still here.

Yes, Jesus is in our midst because His expiration on the cross lasted less than three days. On the third day He rose from the grave. His mission is indeed accomplished. We now have a place to go to, and Heaven is waiting for us to come home.

Isaiah 1:18: “‘Come now, let’s settle this’, says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.’”

I love how God interacts with people! “Come now, let’s settle this,” is a very gracious and inviting manner to address a serious issue: human selfishness. A selfish life will do a number of things:

  • We get dirty. Crimson red is a strong color. You would have to use a lot of bleach to turn a crimson red shirt into a white one. We all know that it’s always easier to stain a shirt than to get the stain out.
  • We break up. Divorce is a nasty word; it represents brokenness. What formerly belonged together is now broken apart, and this is what happened between God and mankind. It’s a tragedy.
  • We lose our roots. Besides having an actual roof over our heads, the term “home” represents so much more. Home is where our heart is. Home is where our roots are. Homelessness is devastating.

The consequences of a self-absorbed life are listed above, and we all suffer from it, one way or another. However, somehow – and only God knows how – Jesus’ capital punishment became a stand-in; representing all men who have ever lived and yet to be born, Jesus took their punishment upon Himself when He went through a torturous execution. Even though He was completely innocent and did not deserve to be executed, Jesus was not a victim. He chose to die that way. Jesus’ life and mission on earth was to create the antidote to our separation from the Trinity.

In Jesus God became flesh and blood. We could touch Him with our hands. He moved from Heaven into the neighborhood and became as involved in the mundane and ordinary life as can be – like growing a beard and cutting finger nails. He rolled up His sleeves and worked in a wood shop. The last three years of his life He abandoned his trade and traveled around the country. People were drawn to Him. He became a celebrity. Speaking publicly about the Kingdom of God, He filled these words with meaning by living out what He talked about for everyone to see. Whether He walked dusty desert highways, the streets of Jerusalem, or entered somebody’s home, everywhere He went He profoundly touched people, gave them hope, and taught them God’s values. And even though people loved and admired Jesus, He experienced firsthand how it feels to be singled out, rejected, misunderstood, ridiculed, tortured, and killed. Facing an unjust trial at the end of His life, he left an amazing legacy: the cure for sin.

God’s invitation still stands: “Come, let us settle this”, He says to you and me. What an extraordinary effort had to be made behind the scene for this almost casual-sounding invitation! Quite an understatement isn’t it? And what about God’s question – ‘let us settle this’? Isn’t it God who ultimately does all the work and cleans up our mess? And yet, He seeks our approval first; He genuinely reaches out and gently asks us if we’re up to it. So here is the Million Dollar Question: Are we willing to settle the issue that came between us and the Almighty? The answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind. The answer is inside of us, the battleground of all battlegrounds: the human heart.

Homeless, homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake”
Ladysmith Black Mambazo