In the Christian calendar major three events stand out –
- Christmas when Christ was born of a virgin in an animal’s feeding trough,
- Good Friday when He took on the full punishment for the sins of all mankind for all eternity and willingly laid down His life in the process , and
- Easter when He rose from the dead and completely triumphed over sin, death, and the devil.
In all of this Christ is generally depicted as a handsome young man, a sheep willingly walking to the slaughter, or a man nailed to a cross and covered with wounds from a vicious whipping.
In essence, the Christ most people are familiar with is soft, safe, not threatening, and willing to do anything to save His people from their sins. A God you don’t have to worry about offending because Christ died for your sins so all is forgiven.
What you don’t see much of is imagery that shows how the lamb that was slain has become the lion that now reigns.
Nor do you hear much about how when He returns it will be to render judgment on all the nations, and that when that justice is rendered it will be absolute, complete, and final.
Why is that important?
Because that’s what God’s justice requires.
It’s also what Christ’s life, death, and resurrection saves us from.
This is how Scripture describes Judgement Day:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.
Then the King will say to those on his right,
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For
- I was hungry and you gave me food,
- I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
- I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
- I was naked and you clothed me,
- I was sick and you visited me,
- I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,“ you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left,
‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For
- I was hungry and you gave me no food,
- I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
- I was a stranger and you did not welcome me,
- naked and you did not clothe me,
- sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-36
Here’s another perspective:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’
Christ is the lamb that was slain, and His love for His people such that He did everything possible including making the ultimate sacrifice in order to save mankind from themselves. For this we should be happy, thankful, grateful, and celebratory.
At the same time we should also keep in mind that He is also the lion that now reigns and as co-creator of the universe when He returns it will be to call the faithful to His eternal rest, try and sentence the unbelievers to eternal separation from Him, and to destroy all creation with fire.
This passage from 2 Peter describes the two sides of the coin:
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:8-13
This Easter season I wish my readers every blessing of the Most High. I also wish you a deeper awareness of the magnitude of what He has done to save you from an eternity of separation from Him and the consequences of being found outside the faith when the time of Judgement comes.
Christ is Risen!
He is Risen indeed!