I think our cultural infatuation with heroes—from Superman to Harry Potter to Percy Jackson—comes from a deep place in us that knows we’re not what we once were and we’re not all we are meant to be. Likewise, I think our cultural fascination with the “undead”—shows like The Walking Dead and movies like I Am Legend or World War Z—come from some deep place in us that feels some deep disconnect with who we are and fears what we may yet become.
When God warned if Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, “you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17), He meant it. They “took and ate” of the fruit—choosing it over God. In so doing, they chose to disconnect themselves from God, the Light and Life of men. Without that connection, they ceased to be who God lovingly and generously created them to be.
God’s warning had not been to withhold something good from them, but a warning for their good. The man and woman they had been died that day. When Adam and Eve fell in the Garden, we all fell hard and far. What we know of being human now is far from God’s original design for being human.
Jesus came to rescue humanity from sin, and corruption, and death that binds it. The good news of Good Friday is that Jesus—fully God and (this is important) fully human—became on the cross all that was sinful, corrupt, and dead in us so that we could once again become fully human.
I remember hearing many times as people tried to explain the Gospel to me that faith in Christ means when God looks at me, He no longer sees me, He sees Jesus. That never felt like good news to me. Tolerable news, maybe, but hardly good news.
This version of the “gospel” gives the impression that Jesus just covered up how bad we are. But this comes from darkened eyes still running from the eyes of God, hiding behind fig leaves.
On Good Friday, Jesus let Himself be stripped naked and exposed. The Son of God not condemning human beings, but being condemned by them. Not beating us, but being beaten for us. Not destroying us, but being destroyed for us. All we feared about how God would treat us, He showed us we did not need to fear.
We need no longer hide before the eyes of God. We reverse the first Adam’s curse when he “took and ate” of the forbidden fruit, by heeding Jesus’ call to “Take and eat [of His body]” and to drink His blood “poured out for the remission of sins.” Where Adam and Eve broke union with God, we re-unite with Him, we enter into Communion.
In union with Jesus, we are remade and we are being remade, into fully restored, alive, seeing, loving, humans again, into and His “very good” creation again (see Genesis 1:31).
May God meet you in a special way this Holy Week.