Are we going backwards, or forwards? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
I once had a job as an arcade attendant. On my breaks, I would often play some of the games I was watching as when times were slow, we had our regulars come in and we would watch them play games. One game that was our most popular was Tekken and all the sequels and such of it and when I played the game, I was quite good at reversals. For those who don’t know, Tekken is a kind of street fighting game like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat. Only certain characters could do reversals and it would involve stopping your opponent in his attack and instead taking him down with one of your own.
It was an effective way to deal with an opponent and would follow with my taunt of “Bad X” with X being whatever character they were playing.
What about the resurrection of Jesus? If anything would count as a reversal, it would have been that. We need to step back and realize the shock that took place on the cross. The cross was not just a painful way to die. It was a shameful way to die! Consider for instance today we have the idea of Darwin Awards. In these awards, someone wins the prize when they die from some act of idiocy on their own part. Their death is said to further improve the gene pool. When reading the Darwins, one can quickly be amazed at how dumb humanity can be.
In a crucifixion, one sees a death of a person who is totally rejected by society and told in no uncertain terms “Do not be like this person.” For the Jew, such a person was a blasphemer to YHWH since they were hung on a tree. For the Greeks, they were dying a form of death that is not even one that will be mentioned in polite company. This is not the way any king of any type would die. Yet when it comes to Jesus, we contend that this is exactly how Jesus died. In fact, this is unavoidable! Throughout the NT, one finds references to the cross or the crucifixion of Jesus. That which should have been the ultimate embarrassment and death knell of Christianity became their proclamation.
Throughout the gospels, we find dark powers at work against Jesus using the Pharisees, Sadducees, and chief priests. We are told that satan enters into Judas for the final betrayal. All along, the plan had been that if Jesus wants to come here and the devil sees that, well let’s just see what happens to the plans of God when He dies. The idea was that this would bring the ultimate shame to God and destroy any plan that He had. The reality was that this was what was expected all along.
Then, at the moment of the greatest conquest, we get the ultimate reversal.
My wife often corrects me when I say something about this in a message. It is not that the world was turned upside-down at that point. It was turned right-side up. We are on the up and up now. We have reached the climax point and now we’re moving towards the denouement. We have reached the crescendo in the symphony and now we’re moving towards the conclusion. Shame has been turned into honor. Death itself is being undone. Creation is being restored. The gospel of the Kingdom is spreading.
Today, we live so much in the time that has seen Christianity that I doubt any of us fully understand what the change is that Christianity has brought to us. Many think that if you remove Christianity from the society and all other religion, that it will improve, but I will contend that nations where this is tried for the time being still have a latent Christianity in the background with its moral framework and when that finally is forgotten, we will see the real face of atheism emerge from that.
When Christ comes and brings about the Kingdom of God on Earth, nothing remains the same. We are living in the age of the reversal and we can expect that as we spread the Kingdom, we will only see more of this reversal taking place. Let us go and turn the world from a state of shame and death to a state of honor and glory.