Today is when we commemorate Christ’s death and Sunday, his resurrection. Jesus was ready but the anguish at Gethsemane shows that readiness does not mean ease. Although Jesus was always ready to do the will of the Father, he struggled to face the prospect of taking on the infinite penalty of bearing our sin. This penalty is the totality of the ugly and tragic miseries that humankind had ever and will ever impose on God, every human, and God’s creation. It all started with the disobedience with the fruit in Eden, the defensiveness in the confrontation with God’s presence, and the murder of Abel. It continues to this day and onto the future, until God comes to “bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (Ephesians 1:10).
The Resurrection was the Turning Point in human history. I’d say there had been multiple biblical turning points: the Flood, the Exodus, the birth of Israel as an earthly kingdom under Saul, and the Exile. The Resurrection, however, is the ultimate U-turn for humankind ordained by God. I wished I could be a scholar of biblical and human history and sociology to study the trend of compassion and see if the world as a whole made a U-turn at the time of the birth of Christianity, immediately following the Resurrection. Can we develop a “misery index” and its opposite, a “mercy index” and measure them by the century? These indexes may show that the birth of Christianity marks a turning point for the better, notwithstanding the ongoing horrors of war and other tragedies.
The birth of Christianity may have marked the start of a compassion-based social trend that started with 120 Christ followers in Jerusalem and proceeded to spread like wildfire around the Mediterranean and on to the rest of the world. Church history has been far from perfect and some have claimed that more humans have been murdered in the name of Jesus Christ than any other name. However, it’d be interesting to see that, on the balance, whether the birth of the Body of Christ started a growing trend of compassion and love in human history.