It was Easter this last weekend; Spring has come out in force. It’s the time of year when flower start to bloom and new life begins after the cold and dampness of winter. Well in the UK, we move into the dampness of Spring and Summer but that’s a side note. Easter in the Christian Calendar is probably the most important marker, I have spoken about the significance of Advent and Christmas, how there would be ‘no Easter’ without Christmas.
I discussed in an earlier post this year on Salvation; Jesus came to live on earth, He went through the same struggles of life, He gives us grace knowing that we will mess up (Hebrews 4:16). Christians celebrate at Easter, the sacrifice and power of Jesus who gave up his life for the world he created that has rebelled from his guidance and direction.
This is a great description of Jesus. It blows my mind every time I read it. It’s from ‘The Mystery of the Incarnation: A Scriptural Tapestry of Jesus as Man and God by Gregory of Nazianzus’.
He was baptised as man (Matthew 3:13), but he destroyed sins as God (Matthew 9:6). He himself was not in need of purifying rites, but [he was baptised/he came] that he might sanctify the waters.
He was tempted as man (Matthew 4:1), but he conquered as God; not only this but he even encouraged [us] to be courageous, since he had conquered the world (John 16:33).
He was hungry, but he fed thousands (John 6:10); not only this but he is indeed life-giving and heavenly bread (John 6:51).
He was thirsty (John 4:7; 19:28), but he shouted, “If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37); not only this but he also promised that those who believe would gush forth [with water] (John 7:38).
He was tired (John 4:6), but for those who are tired and heavy laden he is rest (Matthew 11:28).
He was heavy with sleep (Matthew 8:24), but he is light upon the sea; not only this but he even rebukes winds; not only this but he even makes Peter light when he is sinking (Matthew 14:25, 29; Matthew 8:26).
He pays tax, but [he does so] from a fish (Matthew 17:24-27); not only this but he is even king of those demanding [the tax].
He hears himself called a Samaritan and demon-possessed (John 8:48), but he saves the one who went down from Jerusalem and fell among robbers (Luke 10:30); not only this but he is even recognised by demons (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34) and drives out demons (Matthew 8:16), and he sinks a legion of spirits (Luke 8:33) and sees the ruler of demons falling like lightning (Luke 10:18).
He is stoned, but he is not caught (John 8:59).
He prays (Matthew 14:23; 26:36; Hebrews 5:7), but he hears [prayers] (Acts 7:59).
He weeps (John 11:35), but he causes tears to cease.
He asks where Lazarus [is laid] (John 11:34), for he was man, but he raises Lazarus (John 11:43), for he was God.
He is sold, and very cheaply, for [it was] for thirty silver coins (Matthew 26:15), but he buys back the world, and [it was] for a great price, for [it was] for his own blood (1 Peter 1:18-19).
He was led as a sheep to slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), but he shepherds Israel, and now, indeed, the whole inhabited world (John 10:11). [He is] silent like a lamb (Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 26:63), but he is the Word (John 1:1), being proclaimed by a voice of one shouting in the desert (John 1:23).
He has been weakened, wounded, but he heals every disease and every infirmity (Isaiah 53:5).
He is lifted up upon the tree (John 12:32), he is fixed [to it] (Acts 2:23), but he restores by the tree of life (John 6:51); not only this but he saves even a robber crucified with [him] (Luke 23:43); not only this but he darkens everything that is seen (Luke 23:44).
He is given cheap wine to drink (Luke 23:36), he is fed bile (Matthew 27:34). Who? The one who changed the water into wine (John 2:1-11), the destroyer of the bitter taste (Hebrews 2:9), the [one who is] sweetness and all desire (Song of Solomon 5:16).
He hands over his life, but he has authority to take it again (John 10:18); not only this but the curtain is torn apart (Matthew 27:51); for the things above are exhibited (Revelation 11:19; 15:5) not only this but rocks are split; not only this but dead are raised beforehand (Matthew 27:51-52).
He dies, but he makes alive, and by death he destroys death. He is buried, but he rises. He goes down into Hades (1 Peter 3:18-19), but he brings up souls; not only this but he goes up into heaven; not only this but he will come to judge the living and the dead…”
(Gregory of Nazianzus Oration 29.20, translation by Rodney A. Whitacre. Format adjusted for this post)