There are those people, good people without doubt who say that the death of Jesus on the cross was somehow an accident, that what is important about Jesus is his ethical teaching, perhaps like those Greek gentiles who asked to see Jesus, to the exclusion of his death on the cross. They are wrong. Others want to focus upon the miracles, perhaps especially the healing miracles, of Jesus and so downplay his death on the cross. These too are wrong. Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God, ‘God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father’, came for this one reason, to die and to rise, that the Father might indeed be glorified and the cry of Hosanna might indeed be fulfilled
As Jesus taught in the Temple he knew what was about to unfold, that is that the Loving Father, God Most High, was about to break down all barriers to Unity with Himself, was about to tear in two the Veil of the Temple, in the death and rising of His Son, and so Jesus taught ‘ ... it was for this very reason that I came to this hour’; the very reason being his death and resurrection. As he sat teaching in the Temple Jesus looked upon the Place of Meeting built in wood and stone that was limited in time and space and bound to decay and knew that he was about to fulfil the Temple rituals in his own body and thus make the glorious and eternal Place of Meeting with God Most High in his own Body and Blood. Without what happened on the cross we would not be here, for what happened on the cross was consummated in the empty tomb and out of God’s death came God’s life for all who call upon him. As the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews wrote in the second lesson this morning ‘he’, Jesus, ‘became for all who obey him the source of eternal salvation’. The crucified and risen Jesus is the way in which ‘they will all know me’ as Jeremiah wrote in the first lesson this morning. They are us; me is God Most High.
In less than a fortnight we celebrate the death of Jesus, a death that was no accident for it is the only way to the resurrection, the only way that the cry of Hosanna might be fulfilled.
Our prayer must be that we cleave closer to Jesus this Easter, even more than before, and that we feel his necessary pain, so that we may feel and understand his new and eternal life. This new and eternal life that he brings us in our baptism and confirmation, in our confessions, and in our Holy Communion, which is, True Unity and Oneness with God Most High, not in a decaying Temple made by human hands but in the Temple of living flesh, who is Jesus our Lord and God.
By your help, we beseech you, Lord our God, may we walk eagerly in that same charity with which, out of love for the world, your Son handed himself over to death.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ .
Whoever serves me must follow me, says the Lord; and where I am, there also will my servant be