This week's sermon is about resurrection. First-century skeptics used Deut. 25:5 to create a hypothetical "dilemma" to show the absurdity of human resurrection. These Sadducees reject the Prophets and the Writings, then reduce the Torah to moralistic principles devoid of a supernatural Creator. In short, they were first-century secularists. Their strategy with Jesus wasn't to outright deny God, but to "put him on the reservation" by raising "questions" about Theocentricity. "It's fine for you to have God," they say. "But he must be YOUR God. A god who is tame." So today, I'm pushed to believe in the "god of my values," not the President of presidents and Prime Minister of prime ministers who rules over all -- including the public square and the government schools. Ah, how delightful a benevolent, religiously free, Christian state would be!
I can't decide if I like the above picture or not. It pushes me to think how the Firstborn of the Dead marched into this old creation in a resurrected, glorified body. It entices me to think in terms of the dominion of the Promise over the enslavement of the Curse. It reminds me that Resurrection Day is coming.
I think the picture of Jesus is a little cheezy. I wish I could see Jesus, but He has gone away. He tells me that is better, because now He dwells in power in the hearts of ALL His people. It's no more teaching just the Twelve. Now it's the Twelve Million whom His Spirit comforts and leads into all Truth. So the Icon spoils that teaching.
But I still like it. It reminds me that Jesus is the first to bust out of the Grave. Someday it will be my turn, because "if I have been united with him in death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his" (Rom 6:5).
Easter is coming. I heard a robin this morning. The snow is nearly gone. This picture causes Hope to stir in my veins, like the sap starting to run in the maples. Someday the world will be green again. Forever.