Spoiler Alert: God Wins

Easter

Isaiah 25:6-9
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
John 20:1-18

 

The prophet Isaiah described the ultimate victory of God over the false god. He anticipated the resurrection of the Son of Man, the Messiah.

The Lord of Hosts will make on this mount

For all the peoples

A banquet of rich viands,

A banquet of choice wines—

Of rich viands seasoned with marrow,

Of choice wines well refinedJSB

 

Isaiah often uses the mountain image. In 2:2 we read,

In the days to come,

The Mount of the Lord’s House

Shall stand firm above the mountains

And tower above the hills;

And all the nations

Shall gaze on it with joyJSB

 

Notice the addition of the Temple, the Lord’s House, present on the high mountain. As we continue to read the next couple of chapters, Isaiah pictures the tearing down of the mighty, leaving only God and the Temple lifted up.

Writers should note the use of imagery. A mountain is an easy symbol to use. How about a swamp? Desert? Flatland? Do what Isaiah does and bring in the symbol several times to reinforce the meaning of the symbol in your story.

John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath used several images to symbolize the struggle of the Joad family. The most puzzling is the turtle struggling through the dust. Like the Joads, the turtle seeks water and a new life.

His book reminds us of the importance of truth in storytelling. The book was burned and banned because people thought it was communist inspired. The truth is easily twisted in the minds of our readers, just as the Word of God is twisted today. The Bible says, Judas went out and hanged himself. Go and do likewise. A little research will expose the lie, and yet people choose to believe statements just as absurd. All we can do is write the truth and know that God is pleased.

And He will destroy on this mount the shroud
That is drawn over the faces of all the peoples
And the covering that is spread

Over all the nations: JSB

 

In 2 Corinthians 4:3-6, Paul describes the veil placed over some people. His meaning is that people refuse to see what is right in front of them. In today’s Gospel reading, John describes what he saw. He was so shocked by the empty tomb that he did not dare to enter.

It should be easy for a writer to place a veil in front of the antagonist—make him unable to see the obvious. But why not the protagonist as well?

He will destroy death forever. JSB

John and Peter looked at the empty tomb but dared not hope. They may have remembered Jesus telling them he would rise again, but still…. They came around, gradually. Within days of rumors and reports, they must have been giddy. Our Master defeated death.

My Lord God will wipe the tears away
From all faces
And will put an end to the reproach of His people
Over all the earth—
For it is the Lord who has spoken.
 JSB

Lest we doubt, God made it happen. Jesus never claimed he healed the sick and fed the hungry. He always credited God. Any story we write should leave no doubt that God is the source all that is good, even our bumbling efforts at the goodness thing.

There is a reason Jesus called himself the Son of Man. For thirty-three earth years (no idea how that translates to Heaven time-frame) the baby-boy-man named Yeshua lived a human life and died a human death. Like the rest of us, he depended on God. Unlike the rest of us, his connection with God was 100%. Two thousand years later we still debate just how that worked.

In that day they shall say:
This is our God;
We trusted in Him, and He delivered us.
This is the Lord, in whom we trusted;
Let us rejoice and exult in His deliverance!
 JSB

As Paul put it, By this gospel you are savedNIV

 

Read my earlier comments on this theme here.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

The Weak Rule

Photo by James Douglas on Unsplash

Palm Sunday

 

Philippians 2:5-11 
Non-Christians ignore the Gospels. Most consider them to be fabrications. They may accept Jesus as a great teacher, but they believe his followers dreamed up the notion of resurrection and built a false religion out of it.

The key detail is the resurrection. Is it to be accepted?

As a historian, I see the Four Gospels as trustworthy sources. They differ in their accounts, which is common. It is the nature of the differences that matter. If, for example, one source told us George Washington was 6-2 and another put him at 5-10, we would ignore the difference while accepting each source as equal. But if one said he was white, and another put him down as black, serious study would be required. Multiple sources always have differences. We cannot throw one away because it does not read the way we want.

Forty to sixty years after Jesus left earth, the Gospels were written. There was limited communication; record keeping was expensive, oral histories dominated. Historians agree the four authors received their information from different sources, with some overlapping. That alone accounts for discrepancies.

Even so, accepting the four detailed accounts of the execution and resurrection as history, as the Truth, depends on Faith. The Christian Scriptures consists of 27 documents. The authors of most are in question (including the Four Gospels). How can we say they are authentic?

As a writer of Christian fiction, how do we deal with the Faith issue? I think we must allow our protagonists to doubt, even to disbelieve the fantastic tale of the resurrection. I choose not to accept the beliefs of Hindu and Buddhist people about reincarnation, often as lower life forms. Why can’t I have a character who believes it? Why can’t he be my protagonist? I reject Mohammed is greater than Jesus, but my character might accept it.

We read in verses 10-11 of Paul’s letter, so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the FatherNJB

Paul uses the all-inclusive language used by Jesus, all beings, those in Heaven, but also those in Hell. How can we implement such inclusion in a story?

Verses 5-11holds the key: Let Christ himself be your example as to what your attitude should be. For he, who had always been God by nature, did not cling to his prerogatives as God’s equal, but stripped himself of all privilege by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born as mortal manPhillips

I read few stories where the protagonist is an example of Christ. We make sure they win by being the biggest, strongest, smartest, or most beautiful. What about winning through weakness?

The other scriptures for today are:

Isaiah 50:4-9a
Psalm 31:9-16
Mark 14:1-15:47

 

Read my earlier comments on this theme here.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence