Easter is the most powerful demonstration of gospel justice.
Think about the unjust trials that took place in the dead of night around AD 33. Like all injustice it took place under the cloak of darkness so others could not see. Numerous violations of the law took place in that trial as the only man who could claim to be fully innocent was condemned. Jesus willingly suffered the greatest injustice so we could experience the greatest justice. His grace poured out on the cross as a substitute for our sins, provides the hope of the gospel.
Have you heard about the Kenyan lawyer who is outraged by this injustice? He has filed a case as a “friend of Jesus” to have the verdict nullified as a gross violation of human rights. His case is pending before the International Court of Justice. I appreciate his fervor, but Jesus knew he would be led like a lamb to the slaughter. He willingly laid down his life so we could be a friend of Jesus.
I wonder which side of that trial we would have been on? The question seems ludicrous. We want to join the Kenyan lawyer in decrying the gross mistreatment of Jesus. But Jesus made people uncomfortable. He spent time with sinners. Healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, released the oppressed and challenged the church. His heart broke for the poor and hurting and burned against the proud and oppressive. He overturned the tables of money lenders and challenged the religious leaders for not seeing the injustice around them that oppressed the poor and turned the temple into a den of robbers. Would we welcome such a radical to our church? I wonder.
Maybe as Jesus talked about the suffering he must endure to free us from our blindness, we would be like the disciples and blindly go about our routine preparing for the Passover. Maybe in the great upper room discourse we would miss what Jesus was saying just as his friends did. We call Thursday, Maundy Thursday because Maundy is a Latin derivative of “command”. He gave us a new command that night – a command to love one another as He loved them. That love got in the dirt to serve others. That love washed feet. I’m not sure that’s always the Jesus we want to follow. I think maybe like the crowds on Palm Sunday we prefer a Jesus who is going to make everything better. We like a sanitized Jesus who promotes personal holiness which often can look a lot like the Pharisee.
Jesus gave up everything. Can we say the same? Will we practice the hope of Easter by loving others. Not just the ones easy to love, but our neighbor who is oppressed and needs our help. That is the ministry of gospel justice. That is what Christ called us to as He commanded us to
Go and Do Likewise!