This Easter reflection will be preached on Easter morning in Michigan by a young man born in South Korea. He gave me kind permission to share it here. I really enjoyed his image of the charcoal briquette applied to the life of Christ.
I want to introduce one item, which is a charcoal briquette. Nowadays, few people use this item. However, 20 years ago, many Koreans considered it indispensable for their families during winter season. This is because it was able to make the room warm and therefore keep the body warm. But today we might think that a black, dirty, and ugly briquette is worthless.
However, the briquette has another meaning.
When the briquette catches on fire, it sacrifices itself so that the ice-cold room becomes a warm room. A chilled body becomes a warm body. Also after the charcoal briquette is used up, the ashes can be spread on an icy road or path to make them less slippery. In this way the charcoal briquette completes its mission.
Now, in our Bible reading, Paul described how God showed His great love for us through giving His only son Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus took on flesh like us sinners, was born in a manger and lived as the son of a carpenter.
We find that Jesus knew his mission on earth, and he did it.
This mission required Jesus has to sacrifice Himself on the cross, to die and rise up again!
His suffering on the cross shows us sinners His great love.
In Ephesians 2:4, it says, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”
What does the cross show us? We surely know "it is that through Christ’s death on the cross, our old nature is crucified, put to death, and buried with him so that the evil desires of the flesh may no longer reign in us, but that we may offer ourselves to him as a sacrifice of thankfulness" (Heidelberg Catechism Answer 43).
What does the cross show us?
In our greatest sorrow and temptation we may be assured and comforted that Jesus Christ, by His unspeakable anguish, pain, terror, and agony, which Jesus endured throughout all His sufferings but especially on the cross He has delivered us from the anguish and torment of hell (Heidelberg Catechism Answer 44).
We see that Jesus cleaned up our all sins, our all shame, our hurt and whatever pains we have.
Then Jesus accomplished His mission, died and came to life after 3 days!
Jesus Christ shows us through his resurrection life that he has overcome death, so that he could make us share in the righteousness which he obtained for us by his death.
By his power we too are raised up to a new life.
Christ’s resurrection is to us a sure pledge of our glorious resurrection. (Heidelberg Catechism Answer 45)
Just as Jesus shows us His great love with warmth like a charcoal fire!
His sacrifice for us like the briquette sacrifice to warm our bodies.
And Jesus Christ made a way in the world through the resurrection just as the briquette’s ash can assist people to walk safely on an icy road.
Brothers and sisters in Christ,
Through His resurrection, God raised us with Christ and seated us with Christ in the heavens: it is past, present, future, and forever.
Let us pray.
Thank you for your message. Your great love brings us from anguish and torments of life. And your resurrection changes us into your people. It’s all by your grace. Thank you for your great love. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen