By Raymond Tuvi, a Media and Development Consultant
“Prince of Peace ”, is perhaps the most well-known, widely acknowledged and directly appreciated of the five-fold names or titles of Immanuel, God With Us, given by the Prophet Isaiah in his 700-year old prophecy of the coming of the Messiah. Jesus’ main purpose for coming into the world was to repair the broken relationship between God and man, to bring peace on earth and goodwill to all. As if by design or accident, this peace was also restored among people in Northern Ireland on Good Friday some two decades ago.
So, it is refreshingly symbolic of that messianic mandate, that peace, in a political conflict that had religious undercurrents dating back to the Great Schism, or split in the Church, during the Martin Luther-led Reformation in the sixteenth Century, was restored on Good Friday. Good Friday, the day, nearly 2,000 years ago on Mount Calvary, Jesus, King of the Universe, was crucified – can only be described as “good”.
Why? Because, the blood and water that gushed forth from his speared-pierced side were so significant, that it bought our redemption and established the Church. Jesus gave up His Heavenly Glory and sinless nature to take our place of sin and shame to become the ultimate curse on the cross. For, as the Word says in 1 Peter 2:21- 25: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ‘Who committed no sin; Nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.’ “For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.’” The “sheep gone astray” metaphor occurs several times in the Holy Scripture. For, that is what we are till Christ rescues us. Originally, our first Parents, Adam and Eve strayed, when they were lured away from God by the deceit of the Evil One. Satan offered them false promises, arousing in them the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, which are the deceptive material benefits proffered then, and which today, still tempts people to stray from the path charted for us.
Those fleshly lusts sought to offer Our First Parents something more than the regular fellowship God came to have with them in the cool of the day. But, the consciousness of nakedness and separation from God that immediately dawned on Adam and Eve after eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, that is, ‘The Fall,’ was made worse by the curses that the Holy, Incorruptible and Pure God pronounced on them and the earth: The ground was cursed and through it also, the curse of work, through sweat and toil. Another was the curse of physical death, to return to the grave after life, because man had chosen to descend or fall to “Ground Zero ”, so to speak, having been separated from the Spirit of God which He had breathed into them at the very start.
That accounts for Spiritual death. The woman also had a whole raft of curses, mostly centred on her sexuality. Yet, the beauty of the unfathomable character of God is the true father-like love, with which He tends and spares his children. He very well knows we are feeble frames, because He made us and knows we are just dust.
As cleanliness and holiness bring us closer to Him, He is equally concerned about a drop of clean water falling at the wrong place at the right time, as He is about His children committing mortal sins such as murder, adultery and idolatry. So, the very moment, right after the pronouncement of the post-Fall curses, God Almighty made provisions and prescribed antidotes to the curses. It was the promise of the Son, who will crush the head of the Serpent – the chief “sponsor” of sin and death – and thus restore His most cherished and priceless creations back to fellowship with Him. That is a binding back to the original relationship God had with man, before the deceiver intervened with material entrapments and disrupted the peaceful, simple and idyllic relation man had with his Maker. As 1 Timothy 6:6 states, “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”
As we observe Good Friday today, may we remain ever mindful of the real reason Jesus came: that is, to bind us back to the Father, for restoration of that sweet, immaterial and never-ending fellowship with Him, here and hereafter, through the Holy Spirit, unforeseen or untold economic circumstances, notwithstanding. Again, as God is holy and a Spirit, our best fellowship with Him can only be through a righteous spirit, holiness and Truth.