Friday, February 10, 2017

A homecoming celebration

Jude 24-25
The benediction at the end of Jude is its most celebrated section. It is a celebration of our life in Jesus. He alone can keep us from falling into error and that’s a good thing because only a perfect sacrifice is good enough to be offered to God, and perfect sacrifices is what Jesus intends us to become, just as he once made himself a perfect sacrifice upon the Cross.
Even if faith in jesus has made us perfect and without blemish, entering God’s presence, and seeing his glory, is likely to provoke some anxiety and being made a sacrifice to God sounds positively daunting, if not terrifying. In the Inca Empire children from well-to-do families were sometimes selected for sacrifice. They were paraded through the country and then taken to a mountaintop, drugged and sacrificed. It was supposedly a very great honour, but there’s good evidence that they weren’t entirely happy about it when the time came to make the sacrifice, and that is hardly surprising. On a less morbid note, as Christians we promise in Holy Communion to be a living sacrifice, but even that implies self-denial, endurance and even suffering.
What is surprising, therefore, is that Jude talks about entering the presence of God’s glory with rejoicing. Jesus’ death for us makes that possible. It takes away the fear and foreboding that we might otherwise feel and turns the encounter with God into a celebration, a homecoming even, like the return of the Prodigal Son.

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