No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man
By 6 pm on the first Good Friday something had changed, in fact the world had changed. Jesus’s death on the cross had caused the defeat of the Kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of Jesus Christ had begun (from NT Wright’s book, “The day the revolution began”). This powerful and self-giving event is the powerhouse from which we can work out our mission to “see lives transformed by the love of Christ”, first in ourselves, then in our Church community, then outwards into our neighbours in Lewes and on into the wider world.
On the cross, Jesus’s blood was poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins; it was the place where the power of all the evil forces in the world were destroyed, and it was the place where heaven and earth were reunited and the rule of the Kingdom of God came with power. He took on Himself all the power that death could throw at Him: humiliation, rejection, scorn, pain and the deepest sorrow. Having all this laid upon Him, he demonstrated His victory as the love and dynamic power of the Father raised Him to new life, showing that the final enemy, death, had been decisively defeated.
It was the place where the self-giving love of the Triune God was powerfully demonstrated by the suffering servant who poured out His blood to purify us from our sins, re-creating us as His witnesses on earth to proclaim that love, as we allow God’s Holy Spirit to work in our lives, to remake us in His divine self-sacrificing image.
The cross is the place where we can come on our knees in worship and adoration, wondering at the love and power of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. As we believe and trust in what Jesus has done for us, we find that our world has changed. We discover that “it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me”. Whenever we deviate from His rule of love, we can return in repentance to Jesus who is able to apply anew his redeeming blood on our lives, to purify us and renew us yet again in His image.
We have been transferred from the imprisonment of the kingdom of this world, ruled by the power of our own desires, and controlled by all the power structures which want to conform us to their own ends, turning us into consumers and users. We have been lifted into the freedom of the kingdom of Christ where we are being slowly transformed into the person Jesus created us to be, making us useful to Him, as we join with the rest of His redeemed people in His church, to bring the Kingdom of heaven into our lives and neighbourhoods, and hastening the day when Jesus will come to bring the transformed heavens and earth into a living perfect unity, fully conformed to His rule of love.