In Boy Scouts they taught us the rule of threes when it comes to survival. I’ll be honest I had to look them up again:
You can survive three minutes without breathable air (unconsciousness) generally with protection, or in icy water
You can survive three hours in a harsh environment (extreme heat or cold).
You can survive three days without drinkable water.
You can survive three weeks without food.
The vulnerable body
The vulnerable body
99 days ago we read this passage:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Tonight, that glory seems much less glorious. Tonight we see the reality of Just how much Jesus became like us to save us.
They say you can survive 3 weeks without food.
In the death of Christ it seems odd that He should die. He just ate a meal with His friends and yet He succumbed to the power of crucifixion.
In some ways the death of Jesus appeared like any other death.
It wasn’t from a lack of trying to live that Jesus died. He ate.
At the beginning of Lent I encouraged each of us to consider giving up just one lunch during this 40 day rite of learning. After all what is eating but staving off death?
How many of you have been by the bedside of a loved one and can recall that moment when they ate their last meal? From that moment on it becomes a more sincere wait.
Eating and drinking are our little acts of defiance against death.
Sadly, this last season, like at the fall- eating has been weaponized. If you eat with others you may put them at risk of death.
Yet, The body requires nourishment.
They say you can only last 3 hours in a harsh environment.
Jesus was sentenced at noon:
Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
According to Luke 23 Jesus died about three hours later:
It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.
They say you can only last 3 days without drinkable water
Presumably Jesus wasn’t given anything to eat or drink after he was taken captive in the Garden after the Passover.
After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
The Vulnerable Body
The Vulnerable Body
Jesus died. In Christ, in the crucifixion you and I must hold onto this terrible weakness. Our God died.
Faith is easy to do when it’s good stuff, when it’s a sign of strength. We hold onto weakness.
The now dead but still great 20th Century theologian Karl Barth reminds us that:
“Only where graves are, is there resurrection” - Karl Barth
This third day resurrection narrative is important for us in many ways:
In Genesis 1 the pattern of 3 days is established
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.
Out of the ground came new life. 3 days later God made man from the dust.
Thus we call today, the beginning of Jesus’ 3 days in the tomb - good. It is a calling back to creation. A world without sin. For on Good Friday sin and death die.
Those elements of sin and death are deprived of all they need to survive. They no longer have a host.
These last days - this last year, we too have seemingly not had a host.
At every table I have ever sat at; formal, informal, weddings, funerals, beach parties, and afternoon snacks there has always been a host. However big or small there has always been a host.
For the last year I have sat and worked in this church basement a stones throw from our church kitchen a place where we host the unfolding of life itself.
My roommate from college met his now wife in that kitchen
Countless funeral mourners have grieved and hoped and been nourished by the workmanship of wise hands and not a few casseroles made in those ovens.
They say you cant live without air, and water, and food but what about community?
This last year we have taken a pulse on what we really need. We need the body. Jesus was sealed in a tomb using a giant mineral stone. Cut off from the land of the living.
Some of us are still enclosed in our homes viewing life from behind LED screens made from those same minerals. I understand it, I stand with you.
We can eat, drink, and be clothed but what makes all of those things fruitful is the communion of saints.
The sharing of life is the living of life.
On the Cross. Christ shared His eternal life with us.
As Peter Leithart says, ‘we are more than mere biological machines that require nothing more than air, food, and water’
The death of Jesus is the death of isolation. He promises us, you and I here in this room, breathing this air that has threatened us all for the last year, and you at home. He promises all of us that He will never leave us nor forsake us.
Church, this night, this time reminds us that in the death of Jesus the whole breadth of human experience has been experienced and grieved by God Himself.
We wait for the day when the great host of life appears and extends His life and community to us all. Come quickly Lord Jesus. Amen.