April 2022 Letter
It is hard to believe the cruelty shown to Jesus at the first Easter. How could the authorities commit such injustice in the plain view of large crowds? How could the people be manipulated to that extent? The atrocity of a cruel execution for a person admired and loved by so many, it seems inconceivable.
How did Jesus’ death on the cross happen? Some consider it so unpalatable that they prefer to say it didn’t happen (that’s the mainstream Muslim position)! It is hard to get your head around. But the events in Ukraine this month have made us see how such evil acts are not so rare. Such inhumanity is not so inconceivable when our eyes are opened.
Our eyes force us to believe the cruelty shown towards the Ukrainian people, sheltering in their homes, fleeing in their cars, wondering why the leaders of their neighbouring nation are bent on such killing and destruction. How could such injustice be inflicted in the plain view of the rest of the world? How could the Russian people be manipulated to that extent?
The Russian military and political top brass illustrate how inhumane can be those who wield unwieldy power. Maybe now we have a newly appalled appreciation of the callousness of the Roman authorities and Jewish leadership in 1st Century Jerusalem. And the way in which the crowds were swept along with it.
Don’t let anyone tell you that God is unaware of human depravity like this. Don’t let anyone tell you that God stays arm’s length from such cruelty. Jesus is so very aware of such inhumanity, and from his own experience. He chose to face the worst that humans throw at their innocent fellows, who (like Jesus) are so often soft targets for thugs clinging to their idea of power.
Jesus faced the paranoid powerbrokers by using his powerful position to meekly boldly sacrifice himself. Power games don’t solve the warring of the world. But timely sacrifice does. Jesus paid the ultimate price to win the hearts of onlookers and warmongers.
I notice our leaders are starting to call for war crimes trials for Putin. There is a right anger, regarding the aggressor’s actions in Ukraine, which ought to be assuaged.
God has a right anger for those who share in humanity’s sinful depravity. Jesus achieved salvation for the humble believers of the world, by taking upon himself the right punishment for this right anger.
Jesus knew how to catch the worst which humanity can throw, and receive it’s just deserts. So that he could respond to all with an open outstretched hand. And give us the chance to take his hand, receive his salvation and follow his way. I implore you: believe the cruelty and most of all believe the Saviour.
With heartfelt Easter joy,
Main photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash