“For God so loved the world…”
In the spirit of the Easter season, allow me to present the following excerpt from the book Why the Universe Is the Way It Is by astronomer, pastor & apologist Dr. Hugh Ross. It’s a familiar story to many of us, but I found this to be a unique encapsulation of Jesus Christ’s purpose & ministry on Earth, ending — or does it? — with His death and resurrection. I hope you get as much out of it as I did.
“Through the early millennia of human history, God told of his promise and plan — available to everyone who places trust in him alone — to rescue humanity from an otherwise hopeless situation. He spoke through the voice of nature, through unmistakable interventions in nature (miracles), and through words he gave to human spokespersons (prophets). Then, at the moment of his choosing, he entered not just the confines of the cosmos but also the confines of a human body.
Fully human yet fully divine, Jesus of Nazareth accomplished what Adam and Eve (and we) could not. He resisted every enticement to act on his own, to depart from perfect obedience to the Father’s will — even when suffering fatigue, hunger, ridicule, torture, rejection, and the horrible anticipation of carrying all humanity’s sin into the moment of execution on the cross.
To assure us of his identity as Creator, Jesus demonstrated his power over nature’s elements and laws — turning water to wine, walking on water, multiplying food, calming storms, restoring sight, curing disease, and even reversing decay and death. Jesus demonstrated his power over the supernatural as well, commanding demons (fallen angels) to do his bidding. He used Satan as a pawn, allowing him to incite religious leaders and corrupt politicians to carry out Christ’s execution. In death Jesus fulfilled his ultimate purpose in coming — to suffer the full penalty for all humanity’s sin, throughout all time and space, once and for all.
And the story doesn’t end there. It continues because Jesus, God the Son, proved he is the door between the cosmos — with its space, time, matter, and energy — and a greater realm beyond. He passed through the grave clothes (cemented with at least 75 pounds of embalming spices; see John 19:38-40), through the sealed tomb (see Matt. 27:62-66), and into the Father’s presence, not as an invisible spirit but in a tangible body. For seven weeks afterward, Jesus came and went from place to place among his friends and followers, sometimes hundreds at a time, physically real but unbound by space-time dimensions and the laws of physics (see Matt. 28:1-20; Luke 24:1-53; John 20:10 – 21:23; I Cor. 15:3-8).
Jesus could eat, but he didn’t need to. He could walk, but he didn’t need to. At his physical farewell, Jesus showed that gravity had no hold on him (see Acts 1:1-11). By his resurrection, Jesus triumphed over death and ascended into heaven to be with the Father. In that barely imaginable realm he prepares a place for us.”