I write this post looking at the computer screen through multi-focal lenses. Yes, needing glasses for the computer is a sign of age, but also, I like to think, of maturity.
As a child, I understood the profound truth which we commemorate on Good Friday through the lens of a guilt-innocence paradigm. Having lived in Asia for a long time, I have added a tinge of guilt-shame to my metaphorical glasses. As a modern Australian woman, there is now a distinct element of pain-pleasure in my perspective on life. And although I haven’t yet spent enough time immersed in an animistic culture to have a significant fear-power worldview, the events we remember on Good Friday are wonderfully powerful for those who do. (See footnote  to learn more about these ways of interpreting the world around us.)
That very first Easter, Jesus died for my sins. The Bible says so. And I am incredibly grateful.
I had broken the rules of what my conscience knows to be right. As such, I had rebelled against the Great Judge and deserved death. I was guilty.
Through faith, I have already been declared innocent because Jesus took the punishment I deserve when he went to the cross. Yet the ‘old me’ and the ‘new me’ still struggle to live according to God’s rules. One day I shall stand before him perfectly pure.
“But now … the righteousness of God has been made known … This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe…. for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:21-24 NIV
That very first Easter, Jesus embraced my shame. The Bible says so. And I am incredibly grateful.
I had not honoured Almighty God. He is emperor – king – Creator – and yet I had treated him with contempt. I could never approach him in my own right because of the shame my community has brought on itself.
Yet Jesus embraced our shame when he willingly went to the cross. Through Jesus Christ, we can already come into the presence of the Creator and King of kings. It’s true that I still dishonour him when I fail to live according to his ways. But oh, how I look forward to the day we shall stand before him in glory and worship wholeheartedly.
“As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” Romans 10:11 NIV
That very first Easter, Jesus took upon himself the pain that is mine. The Bible says so. And I am incredibly grateful.
We endure pain because of the curse placed on the world. Painful toil of the land was part of the curse given to the man, and pain in childbirth was part of the curse placed on the woman. I was unable to be in relationship with the powerful one who holds everything together, and relationships with those around me suffered too.
When Jesus died on the cross, he endured the pain of a broken relationship with God that should be mine. I already experience the joy that comes from being reconciled to God through Jesus. Yet I still live in a sin-afflicted world and endure the pain of broken relationships, unfulfilled hopes and decay. But one day, Jesus will destroy all pain.
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4 NIV
That very first Easter, Jesus defeated the powers of evil that afflict all creation. The Bible says so. And I am incredibly grateful.
We live in a world temporarily ruled by a prince of evil whom Christians call Satan. I think of animistic homes I have visited where amulets, statues, bowls and deer heads abound, all intended to ward off evil spirits. They don’t know the name ‘Satan’, but they know what it means to fear powerful evil spirits.
I already experience freedom from fear of the evil one because Jesus overcame the devil on the cross. Yet our enemy still has limited power and gives me no end of grief in terms of temptations and trials. One day, Satan and his followers shall be destroyed and then we shall know freedom in all its fullness.
“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Colossians 2:15 NIV
Whatever lens or combination of lenses we use as we remember the events of that first Easter, Jesus Christ has rescued us from a fate worse than death. He took our punishment, embraced our shame, suffered our pain and powerfully overcame evil. In a mysterious way, it is not just we individuals he has saved, but all of creation will be redeemed.
That is GOOD news. And we are incredibly grateful.
 There are good resources available on the three dominant worldviews – guilt-innocence, shame-honour and fear-power. See, for example, the very readable book ‘The 3D Gospel’ by Jayson Georges. The idea of a fourth worldview – pain-pleasure – is new. You can listen to an excellent presentation from a CMS conference early in 2018 introducing this pain-pleasure worldview here: https://soundcloud.com/user-648016639/summer-days-afternoon-talk-2-david-williams-the-promise-of-suffering-and-glory