The message of Holy Week and Easter: In Christ we are healed
We are not just healed through Christ, because of the work of Christ, but in and through Christ. Person and work must not be separated. That is why [the church] Fathers did not hesitate to say, as Edward Irving, the Scottish theologian in the early nineteenth century and Karl Barth in our own times have said, that Christ assumed "fallen humanity" (i.e., our humanity) that it might be turned back to God, in him by his sinless life in the Spirit, and through him in us. (p. 53)
What is at work in all of Jesus' life (including his death and resurrection) is a two-fold movement (relationship): God-humanward and human-Godward, which constitutes the atonement (the "at-one-ment", or reconciliation) of God and humanity.On Good Friday, Jesus was crucified on the cross as both God and man. In Christ, God tasted death, suffering with us and for us. In Christ, humanity died to sin. Then on Easter Sunday, Jesus rose from death to new, glorified life. In Christ, God shares with us bodily his resurrection life. In Christ, humanity is recreated. Through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of the Jesus Christ the God-man, God gives himself in holy love to humanity, and responds, as man, to God. He does so by coming to us as man; and as man doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. J.B. comments:
It is this thought of an all-inclusive vicarious humanity [of Jesus] which was developed by Irenaeus in his doctrine of anakephalaiosis or recapitulation... The Christ by whom all things were made is the same Christ who, for us and our salvation, assumed our humanity. In other words, the Son of God who created Adam for sonship and communion and immortality does not abandon his loving purposes for humanity, for every single human person. But in order to redeem humanity and to bring to fulfillment his purpose (his telos) for humanity, for everyone, he himself becomes a man that he might fulfill for us in his own person God's purposes of love and obedience and worship. Thus what is lost in the one man ("in Adam") - communion with God - is restored and fulfilled for each one of us in Christ ("the last Adam"), and held out for us by the Spirit in the Lord's Supper. This, of course, is the Pauline doctrine of Romans 5 and Ephesians 1 - that God's great purpose is that "he might gather together in one all things in Christ" (Eph 1:10). (p52)May we remember these stunning, life-transforming truths as we once again celebrate Holy Week and Easter.