Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The League of Extraordinary Justice : The Business of Christian Education LII

16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:16-21

On that day, Jesus was hanged on a cross, suspended between heaven and earth.  The brutal injustice was outpoured in him like a never ending rain.  The hatred and jealousy and fear of man, all lined up to compose the saddest and most horrific song of the ages.  Even the heaven and earth went bizarre that day, for they protested the strange picture of an innocent man, and more, a holy God, being sentenced the most grotesque capital punishment ever known since the foundation of the world.  The mystery of the death of Jesus Christ is never fully understood even by the most brilliant minds.  For on that day, even God the Father had to forsake his beloved son to succumb into eternal judgment.  The sun went dark, the sky was black, and the earth trembled when the Son of Man was judged.  But, while the justice of man failed, the justice of God prevailed.  On that day, God made
his one and only Son, even though sinless, sin for the people he loves, so that in Jesus Christ we, his people, would become the righteousness of God.

Yes we settle at that.  The mystery is unfathomable.  For God is certainly capable of great works.  He wields great powers.  He created the heavens and the earth.  Remember when he decided to wipe out the entire world with water?  He merged the water above and the water below, so that the space in between, where our land was, was thoroughly filled with water.  And so he wiped out all living beings that were walking on the land.  Only those he saved in Noah’s ark that survived.  Remember the time when God opposed Pharaoh in Egypt?  A mighty nation with soldier ready for battle was made powerless when God unleashed his power.  He changed the water into blood all over Egypt.  He punished Egypt with frogs, millions of frogs, crawling into Egypt, into their houses, into their beds, and even into Pharaoh’s palace.  He brought devouring and irritating bugs to swarm the land of Egypt.  He caused boils to break out for the Egyptians, and nothing they could do about it.  He thundered from the sky and hailstorm swiped the land that all animals left in the field died.  Then he made a distinction between dark and light.  Darkness stayed with the Egyptians, light shone in the Israelites’ camp.  His last plague was the death of only the firstborn of the Egyptians, man or animals alike, in one night.  And Egypt was filled with terror, the greatest they ever experienced.  His last demonstration of power to the Egyptians was the splitting of the Red Sea and the drowning of all mighty warriors of Egypt, including their deity, Pharaoh himself.  God certainly had the power.  He controlled the entire world.  He showered manna to the Israelites for forty years in the desert.  He rained down quail for the meat supply for Israel for forty years in the desert.  Such great power no one has ever seen before.  Then when Israel was ready to enter the Promised Land, he conquered the giants for them.  Jericho crumbled down with an impossible battle strategy.  When his son was on earth, he too had great power.  Remember the first miracle?  Water turned into the finest of wine?  Remember the casting out demons?  The healing of the sick?  The raising of the dead?  Lazarus?  Remember the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand?  The walking on the water?  And you must remember when he rebuked the sea and the wind?  No one has ever done anything like that before.  God certainly had the power to wipe out the entire world.

Remember the night Jesus was arrested.  Peter took his sword and swung it to the guard who was about to take Jesus away.  Then Jesus said: 52 Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:52-53).  One legion is about six thousand.  Twelve legions equal seventy two thousand.  So, 72,000 angels were on the ready to obey Jesus’ command to defend him.  If one angel could wipe out the entire army, how much more 72,000 could do?  Jesus certainly had the power to wipe out the earth.  He could call the wind to form a tornado to wipe out those people who mocked him at the cross.  But he did not.  Why did he not?  Why did God the Father not merge the water above and the water below like what he did in the time of Noah in order to punish the wickedness of man?  Why did God the Father not destroy the world with plague for their wickedness of sin?  The wickedness of man in the time of Jesus was certainly at its peak, for they did not just conspire to kill an innocent man, but they did conspire to kill God himself, the author of life as Peter called him (Acts 3:15).  God had the power for sure.  But he refrained.  Why?

On contrary, in our world today, we who have power, even if just a little bit, tend to abuse it.  We exercise power to take advantage from the weak.  We tend not to defend the weak, but to exploit the weak.  In the case of Dudley, Stephens, and Brooks vs. Richard Parker, the strong exploited the weak in order to keep their life.  This is a famous case that has been used for discussion in the ethics and moral course.  Some would say that what Dudley, Stephens, and Brooks did was necessary to survive, but some disagree pointing out that what they did was morally wrong.  Killing and eating Richard Parker because he was ill and that they were all stranded on a lifeboat without food nor water might be considered necessary for survival, but still such action wouldn’t be considered as morally right.  Dudley, Stephens, and Brooks represent the strong of the world.  Richard Parker represents the weak of the world.  For the reason of survival, the strong of the world devour the weak.  And just like Dudley and co. killed Parker and ate him without his willingness to give up his life, the strong of the world also exploited the weak without the weak are willing to be exploited.  The powerful, many times, exploit the weak for reasons far less acceptable than survival.  A lot of powerful people exploit the weak for greed, for convenience sake, for jealousy, for anger, for pride, and so on and so forth.  The religious leaders of Israel plotted to kill Jesus for the sake of their own self interest and Pilate knew it (cf. Matthew 27:18).  Such is the way of the evil one.  Satan is always exploiting the weak for his own self gain.  He exploits humans in order to move himself forward.  He exploits humans in order to hurt God.  In the end, after he exploits humans, he destroys them without mercy.

But God did not exercise his power to destroy the world.  Certainly he had the power to do so.  And what is more, he certainly had every right to do so.  His justice is different than the kind of justice humans know.  God does not abuse his power and exploit man.  Even though man has been rebellious and thus deserve to be sentenced with death penalty, God did not exercise his power in that way.  But instead, he sent his son to redeem his people.  He sent his son to be the sacrifice and thus to appease God’s wrath on sin.  The holy Son of God must be made sin in order to make us righteous.  And so instead of punishing us, a mere dust who truly deserve to be thrown into hell, he punished Jesus Christ so that whoever believes in him will live forever.  This I call as the League of Extraordinary Justice.  God the Trinity is.  His sole purpose is to reconcile the world to himself.  Because being cut off from him means death.  In his great love and mercy, he wants us to live.  And so the justice he executes is an extraordinary justice that bestows upon us the greatest grace of all time.  God is the strong and we are the weak.  But God does not exploit us.  He saves us.  Unlike Dudley and co. exploiting Parker for their own interest, God sacrificed himself for the sake of us.  This is the highest ethics and the grandest justice.  He demonstrates who he really is and what justice is all about, not by exercising power through destroying the entire world even though he can and for sure he has the right to do so, but he exercises his power by refraining from unleashing his destructive power of punishment and instead he releases his power to defend the weak and becomes the martyr for the sake of our survival.

This is the ministry of reconciliation that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 5.  And he wants to include us in this ministry.  Not because we are competent to do it.  And for sure not because we have earned our worth in this ministry.  But because he desires to reward us even more.  And so he will enable whoever is willing to take part in this ministry.  He wants to join us with his son Jesus Christ and becomes agents of the League of Extraordinary Justice in his kingdom.  This is God’s wonderful grace for us.  Remember what God instructs us through Paul in Romans 5:8-10:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

God’s extraordinary justice is demonstrated through his love.  And thus we have within us the greatest gift, Jesus Christ.  We are now members of the League of Extraordinary Justice.  Praise the Lord.  Soli Deo Gloria!

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