Peace be with you!
On Private Practice a week ago (season 5, episode 17, “The Letting Go”), Erica Warner (AJ Langer) finds out that the cancer has come back and has spread throughout her body. Charlotte King (KaDee Strickland) and Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) have the unfortunate news that Erica only has a week to live, even though Amelia with the help of her brother, Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey from Grey’s Anatomy), got the brain tumor that was initially suppose to kill her.
The new is hard to accept since Erica has a son, Mason (Griffin Gluck), and it was a miracle Amelia and Derek got her brain tumor. Every other doctor said it was inoperable. Cooper, Mason’s father and Charlotte’s husband, was hopeful Mason would have his mother for a long time. Now it seems the miracle just prolonged Erica’s pain.
Erica has undying love for Mason, her son, who she refuses to allow to watch her die. All Erica wants is to have Mason remember her healthy and vibrate. The episode ends with Mason saying his final goodbye to his mother.
Like Erica, Jesus knows he has to die, and the news disturbs the disciples then and us now – or I am disturbed. The Son of God has to die. Why? He’s God for goodness sake! It just does not make sense.
However, Jesus explains why he must die to the Greeks – a group outside the Jewish tradition, which symbolizes that he came for the whole world (John 3:16). Evil is in the world, which separates us from God the Father. Evil is responsible for the deception in the world. Satan acts in the world to bring an end by forcing us to do his destruction. By doing this, he brings death into the world in an attempt to destroy God’s creation. Satan wants to bring an end to God’s goodness.
By sending Jesus, God is working to reverse Satan’s hold in the world, so we can enjoy fullness of life. Jesus brings truth, divine love, and life into the world, but it comes with a price: his crucifixion. Through his crucifixion, Jesus gives us the truth about Satan and God. God loves us without a second thought, because we are his creation; on the other hand, Satan works to deceive us and forces us to work against God. Jesus’ crucifixion is an expression of God’s divine love and liberates us from Satan’s deception. God’s divine love is self-giving as he sends Jesus to walk besides us to feel our pain, joy, and confusion. The crucifixion liberates us from the rare emotions Satan puts on our minds and frees us from his deception. Jesus wants us to join God, and God wants us to see him as a human, which allows us to feel his closeness to him. Jesus had to die for our liberation.
God has a greater purpose behind Jesus’ crucifixion than we could ever image. It is just part of God’s plan to liberate us from Satan. In order to liberate us, Jesus must die, but that is not the end of the story: Jesus will resurrect from the dead to overcome Satan’s end for us. Jesus gives us a new life in him to be in a relationship with God the Father.
We are called to follow God the Father and Jesus Christ through our liberation. With Jesus in our hearts, we bear much fruit for God through our actions and words. We give comfort to those still in Satan’s grip of deception, to those still fighting the darkness and cannot see the light, and to those still fighting death in the face of life. Satan has a powerful force, but Jesus knocks him down through his crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven. Jesus overcomes death to free us from the darkness.
God accomplishes our liberation through Jesus’ crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension to claim us as his children. He brings us back into a relationship with him. We could not do it on our own because of Satan’s power of deception and his will to bring an end to God’s creation. Therefore, God has to conquer death by sending his son, Jesus Christ into the world to die for us. Even in death, God’s plan is not done, because there is life after death.
Just as Erica will live on through Mason on Private Practice, Jesus lives on with the Holy Spirit and in us – drawing us to God the Father. We bear the fruits of Jesus Christ when we carry out God’s plan, but it requires us to first force Satan to give up his hold on us and second to walk along side Jesus. We must let our old selves under Satan’s deception die before we can live our new lives with Jesus. When our old selves die, the light can shine in and give us a new life with Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for coming into the world to fight against Satan’s deception. Help us to die in order to bear your fruit and to live along side you. Remind us that death is no longer the final say. Thank you for using us to bear your fruit. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. What does it mean to see God as human?
2. How do you force Satan out of your life?
3. How do you lift Jesus up? How are you lifted up?