Do you believe in redemption?
In many ways, our society has a problem with redeeming
. Redeeming coupons and special sale codes, no problem! But what about the real kind of redemption? Redeeming situations, redeeming mistakes, redeeming people, redeeming humanity. This is Jesus’ kind of redemption. And Christianity is a religion about this kind of redemption.
Even for us Christians, redemption can seem foreign or abstract. Sadly, Christianity is often seen as a religion about moral purity – “doing this and not doing that” or keeping yourself scrupulously spotless. But that’s not the Gospel; it’s puritanism. It’s a distortion of Christianity. Christianity is not about never sinning or staying far away from those who are “sinners”.
In Jesus’ day, that was called being a Pharisee! Sadly, modern day Pharisees still exist, both inside the Church and out. Cancelling
people has never been Jesus’ policy. In fact, He rebuked those who tried to cancel others. Jesus’ path is forgiveness, healing, reconciling, and redeeming. As He put it: “God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him
” (John 3:17).
So how can we learn what real redemption is all about? How can we receive God’s redemption in our lives?
We are able to realize what redemption means when we look at our Redeemer.
As we journey through these holy days, our role is simple: Watch Jesus.
Watch him die. Watch him give His life for you, for me, for us. Then, see Him rise! And let Jesus watch you.
Let Him see your struggles, your weaknesses, your wounds. He knows them already, and He wants to turn them into springs of goodness in your life and in the lives of others. Just tell Him: “Jesus I give this to you – transform it into a source of grace and blessing.”
So often what we most try to keep hidden from God is exactly where we need Him the most. Jesus can redeem us because He has experienced what we are going through. And He comes to experience it with us. No matter how difficult the situation, He is always there to open up a way forward.
On the evening of Holy Thursday, Jesus is there in the Upper Room
. It is the place where we feel love, intimate friendship, belonging. It is where Jesus comes to be with us and to draw us into his loving friendship. The love that saves the universe comes to us through the heart of Jesus. Like John, rest your head against His heart
. Hear the beat of His heart for you. For others. For the world.
Later that night, Gethsemane
is where Jesus is torn, conflicted. The world is not as it should be. Injustice lurks all around. The shadows encircle and threaten to suffocate the light out of life.
The next day, Calvary
is where Jesus reaches the heart of darkness. He can barely see with all the sweat and blood that runs down his forehead into His eyes. Life blurs as it meets its end. There is the sense of being abandoned but also enough trust to totally surrender His life into the hands of the Father.
On Saturday, the Tomb
is dark. Silent. Still. Yet something incredible is happening under the surface. It is like a seed that is growing in the heart of the earth, not yet visible aboveground. These are the times when we must persevere, knowing that God is doing something in our midst: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”
Finally, Easter morning
is when a new path opens up. Jesus has conquered. The victory is accomplished. A new day dawns for the universe. The earth sings the glory of the Lord! Resurrection is a new lease on life that does not cancel what came before but lifts it up and transforms it into something totally new.
Jesus experiences with us all of these moments when they happen in our lives. He knows our Upper Rooms, our Gethsemanes, our Calvaries, and our Tombs. And He is constantly at work to give us experiences of His resurrection in our lives! Those times when everything seems impossible, pointless. When we feel empty, dry, discouraged, desperate. Jesus wants to make a path open up where there is none.
That’s His specialty. That’s what we celebrate at Easter: God who comes out into our darkness and sows the seeds of light. God who makes living waters flow where we are parched with drought.
What does God want to redeem in you?
How is He already at work, leading you to the freedom of His sons and daughters, like the Israelites that He led out of Egypt?
Our Redeemer died and lives. Keep your eyes fixed on Him. Resurrect with our Saviour.
“We are an Easter people and ‘Alleluia’ is our song!”
– a favourite phrase of Saint John Paul II, attributed to Saint Augustine of Hippo
Julian would be happy to hear from you, with any questions, insights, or suggestions you may have regarding this blog series. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.