Part 5 – What did Jesus die for?
What Jesus represented to the Jews, either in his conquering hero outfit or in his death, was the saving of their skins and the hope of a secure and glorious future for their nation. But the picture of Jesus being presented by much of Christianity today is remarkably similar, that he’s the Saviour of our skins from Hell, and the provider of a one way ticket to a secure and glorious future in Heaven. In other words, just like Caiaphas and the Jews (in part 4), Christians can be into Jesus for selfish reasons too.
Missing in this picture is the great victory Jesus won over the dark forces, how he won it by dying on the Cross, and what new and wonderful things began to happen on this planet because of it. The focus of much of Christianity by contrast is on our sinful bodies and this troubled Earth being such a mess that God is going to burn the Earth up, pack all the bad people off to Hell, but whisk the souls of all the good people off to Heaven to live forever with Jesus.
Fortunately for us humans that’s NOT what Jesus died for. He didn’t die to get us OFF the Earth; he died to give us victory ON the Earth. He died to give us a great political victory over the dark forces ruling Planet Earth, because everything on this planet comes down to rulership. It’s not about dumping our responsibilities of ruling this Earth and disappearing off to Heaven; it’s about getting back to the business of rulership that God created us and this planet for, and that’s why Jesus died.
Jesus died to win back rulership – or sovereignty – of this Earth for us humans again. We lost it in a cunning political move by the dark forces that offered us instant self-gratification and self-fulfillment off a tree. And we fell for it. We happily handed over the reigns of our sovereignty to a serpent in exchange for chasing our own dreams of grandeur. We were just like Esau, trading our birthright for a bowl of soup.
From that point on our focus has mostly been ourselves and what this planet and our God-given abilities can do FOR US. We became utterly and horribly selfish, and like leopards we haven’t changed our spots much since. Even Christianity has largely become a quest for self, of saving our skins and feathering our nests with the best reward and position we can get in Heaven, much like Jesus’ disciples wanting the best positions in his Kingdom (Mark 10:35-37). But is that really what Jesus died for?…(continues tomorrow)