Gospel: John 18:1—19:42
Seven weeks ago, we gathered on another mountain – the mount of Transfiguration.
On that mountain top, Jesus was flanked by Moses and Elijah, and his disciples gathered at his feet.
From there we descended into the valley of Lent.
Into the wilderness, just as the Israelites were sent into wilderness to be found by God.
The wilderness was not the place of danger we imagine, but the place of renewal.
Rather the danger was found in the return from wilderness, in the journey towards human chaos.
It was on streets of Jerusalem where Jesus found the centre of chaos and struggle.
It is on our our streets and in our communities where Jesus meets human messiness.
And along the journey from down the mountain through the wilderness and chaos of Lent, Jesus kept coming back to God’s people, kept coming back to us.
He came and answered our big questions about life and suffering.
He showed us the prodigal Father, who sought out his lost sons.
He let himself be anointed with perfume like a body being prepared for burial.
And then Jesus rode up into Jerusalem again.
On a donkey, with a crowd waving palms, chanting Hosanna, save now…
filled with expectation that he was their new king,
come to take away their problems with power and might.
But by the end of the week, the crowds had turned.
As Jesus gathered at the family table with his disciples last night, he knew what was coming.
There would be no more rest, no more sleep, no more calm.
There would be betrayal and denial.
There would be sham trials and wrongful convictions.
There would be police brutality followed by summary execution.
And through night into today, the humanity that was so oblivious to him this whole time,
Who clamoured for him to perform like a side show,
to feed the bored and hungry, to satiate the crowds….
Today this humanity has woken up…
This humanity has become aware of just who Jesus is.
The baby born in a manger to peasant parents,
promised by angels, visited by shepherd, worshipped by Magi…
this baby who is God come in flesh, word incarnate.
This baby is now this man.
This man who is God.
This man who is God, which means we are not.
This man who is God, who threatens our claims to power.
This man who is God, who makes us feel small.
Jesus has come to centre, to the core of humanity. To our messy and chaotic existence and reminded us our limitedness, of our ungodliness, of our fallibility and imperfections.
And that just wont do for us.
And so we go back up the mountain to send the God-Man away.
We march up Golgaltha with murderous rage.
And we haul a cross along with us.
We who are the best humanity has to offer.
Religious leaders, political leaders, the educated and prominent.
We pick up the nails too, and desire to be rid of this One.
This One who is God in flesh and who brings God close.
This One who announces the Kingdom coming near.
This One who talks about grace and mercy at inconvenient times.
This One, the Christ, the anointed of God, sent to save…
We will put to death and be done with him.
And then we can go back to being in control.
Back to being in charge.
Back to being God.
Except this mountain was always where Jesus was going.
From the beginning of creation, from the moment God spoke us into being.
From the dirt and clay that formed the Adam, the first born of creation.
There was also a cross.
The cross was always the place where God’s Word in flesh would meet us.
Always the place where the Christ would confront our most God-like power.
The cross was always the place where the God of creation would meet the God we tried to create of ourselves.
The cross was always the place where God was going to bridge the gap to human chaos and messiness…
Where God would rejoin what was split apart in the fall.
Where God would reconcile creator with created, humanity and divinity.
Where God would remember and remind us that we were created in God’s image, in Christ’s image.
Here on this mountain, the skull, the place of humanity’s power of death,
God declares that we are not God once and for all.
And that sin and death are no longer in control.
God declares a new reality by reminding us of the first reality.
God declares that God is God
And God declares that we are God’s creation.
That we belong to the crucified one.
That our chaos and messiness,
Our human failings and fragility
Our questions and vulnerability
Our discomfort and overwhelming feelings
That all of us, including sin and earth
Belongs now to the one who hangs on the cross.
The one in whom all creation began
And whom creation put to death.
That we belong to this One, this Word, this Christ, this Jesus.
That we belong to this One who loves beyond all love.
That we belong to this Word of Life.
That we belong to this Christ who saves
That we belong to Jesus who makes us one.
Who gathers us into God.
Into God, who even though dead on a cross…
Who is life beyond all life.
Who is freely given love and salvation
Who is mercy and forgiveness for us.
This God, who even though dead on a cross…
Has come again to the mountain top
and finally shown us once and for
That we are now a new creation
That there is now
New Life in the crucified Christ.