There is a temptation to view Easter, the whole story of Easter just as some sort of job lot. We forget about the details, the personal anguish of Jesus , what happened and we immediately move to the big picture. What does it all mean? How do we locate this death into the broad sweep of history; into our broad understanding of who God is for us.
So with the promise of Jeremiah to the exiles in Babylon that there was still a future for them back in Jerusalem; that is there would actually be a new covenant – different in nature to the one that Moses entered into with Yahweh at Mount Sinai – Christians have claimed this new covenant to be actually sealed in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The new covenant written on our hearts is for us to believe and follow Jesus. Or in our passage from the book of Hebrews today – without delving into any real particulars of the story of Jesus and his passion, our writer simply concludes
“Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect , he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Heb 5: 8ff)
The story of Jesus almost just becomes a cipher, a means of telling another story about God and how God relates to us.
Now that is an important task, however, we need to be careful we do not miss some of the nuances and subtleties of the actual story itself – nuances which are both significant in the overall story of Jesus of Nazareth; but also relevant to how we live our lives and endeavour to follow as a disciple. If you like the big picture.
The passage from John’s gospel today I believe is one of those passages which could be easily missed. I suggest that it is a turning point in the whole of Jesus’ life – certainly of his journey to the cross. In fact it could be the climax of his whole story. Now in part I say this – because the reading from John tells the story differently to the other gospels – which by and large follow the same script. This incident just does not appear in Matthew ,Mark and Luke. Read more →