The Sweetness of Paradise

To shatter the illusion conjured up by the serpent that camouflages the sweetness of paradise from us, revelation was necessary. Paradise is foreign to us. We are strangers to it. Paradise is outside of our experience. We are denizens of godlessness. The memory of Adam and Eve in Eden has faded.

Moreover, what better way to reveal the sweetness of paradise than by delegating the task of revelation to the sweetness of paradise himself? To reveal the sweetness of paradise to us, God paid us a visit at and about the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago. At Bethlehem, heaven delivered a love note to earth. Imagine that! A love note from God to us. The love note was unique. It came as a baby born in humble circumstances who lived and breathed. The love note was also a treasure chest that carried the knowledge of God to us. The love note was also an invitation to us to come back to our home with God and his holy family in paradise. The love note was also the escape route from godlessness to paradise. The love note was the hope of rescue for us who are stranded in the hostile desert of godlessness.

Furthermore, the revelation of the sweetness of paradise was delivered to us in a manner that was both dramatic and apocalyptic. 

A collision was arranged. At and about Calvary, a collision known as the Crucifixion took place between Good and evil. It was bigger than the Big Bang. it was larger than the Large Hadron Collider. What survived the collision? The answer is important because the byproducts of the collision unambiguously revealed the identity and nature of Jesus. 

Furthermore, at Calvary, God let us erect the greatest engineering project the world has ever seen. It is greater than the tower of Babel. It is greater than the pyramids. It is greater than the discovery of the curvature of space-time. It is greater than all of the black holes combined. It is greater than any project imagined by the most fanciful of science fiction writers and the most gifted of scientists. 

God let us build a telescope.

The telescope we built is his bloody wounds. 

God let us open bloody wounds in his body so we could see through the opaque illusion conjured up by the serpent that camouflages the sweetness of paradise from us.

The bloody wounds pierce the veil between heaven and earth.

Through his bloody wounds, we catch a glimpse of heaven from here on earth.

When we look through the bloody wounds, we see the glorious victory. What we see when we look through the bloody wounds shatters the illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise from us. We learn the answer to the question, 'What is the nature of God?'. The purpose of the bloody wounds was apocalypse - revelation. God shows us his nature through the bloody wounds. 

But be careful. When you look through the bloody wounds at the apocalypse, don tinted safety goggles. The light from heaven (Acts 9:3) that shines through the bloody wounds is blinding. It will knock you off your feet.

When we look through the bloody wounds, we see the following facts:

1)   we launched a freight train of evil at the Son of God. It charged at him as an angry bull charges the matador who waves a red cape. Remarkably, He stood in its path. He did not flinch. He did not cower. He did not jump out of the way. He took it on the chin. He stood firm and, by standing firm, stopped evil's progress dead in its tracks - short of its goal. Evil hit a wall. The wall that evil hit was Jesus. Evil went as far as his bloody wounds but no farther. It did not reach his heart. He refused to let evil reach his heart. That He met the freight train of evil head on is proof that Jesus is courageous - exceptionally courageous.

2)  To rescue us, the Son of God could have dispatched his subordinates. He could have sent His flunkies. But He did not. He did the job Himself.  The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself in the hands of the mud - proof of the humility of God and his willingness to get his hands dirty. Proof that he is the antithesis of aloof. Proof that he is hands-on, intimate with us.

3)  He paid an exorbitant price for our salvation. Moreover, he did not pay it from His limitless divine resources. He paid it from His limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for Himself. He has never paid more for anything or anyone else. The exorbitant price He paid to rescue us is the best evidence of our value to Him. It is an understatement to say that we are dear to Him. If you have doubts of our dearness to God, just look at the price he paid for us (John 15:13)! The magnitude of God's love for us is measured by the price that he paid for our salvation (Luke 12:6-7).

4)  We killed him but He did not stay dead - proof that Jesus is God,

5)  We tortured him but he did not stop loving us - proof that Divinity is love,

6)  We committed the sin of sins against him by torturing and killing him but he did not turn off the spigot of generosity. He did not cancel the invitation to follow him back to paradise and he did not confiscate the knowledge of God that he shared with us during his visit - proof that love is generous - radical and revolutionary in his generosity. Love has a face by which we can recognize it. The face of love is generosity. Oh! How recognizable is the face of Jesus!

Furthermore, the bloody wounds we opened in the body of the Son of God while he was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest here upon the earth are conduits. Through them God's love to us flows. 

The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place. How do we know? The bloody wounds tell us so.

He volunteered to suffer and die for sinners. Imagine what he is willing to do for saints!

That he volunteered to suffer and die for sinners tells us in no uncertain terms that there is nothing - nothing - that he won't do for us.

Where do I sign up? How do I enlist? How do I join the kingdom of this Jesus, the God who does not not stop loving me despite my wickedness?