Saturday, April 7, 2012

Resurrection Day Relief

It's a picturesque Easter Sunday (or, if you prefer, Resurrection Day) here in Tokyo: the skies are clear, the sun is shining, and the Sakura blossoms are in full bloom.

Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the scenery on this day is tempered somewhat by the discovery that I have 花粉症 (kafunsho; the Japanese term for hayfever). Many students and colleagues of mine suffer from Spring allergies and I'd heard that people develop it seemingly at random. I'd always felt fortunate that I wasn't among the sufferers, until this year. It started with an itch in my throat early in the week and by Saturday, I was sneezing constantly, my nose was running and my eyes were watering.

This morning, I took a Claritin tablet. Within an hour, my symptoms had eased up. I'm still snuffling and sneezing occasionally, but the intensity has ebbed from the way I felt when I woke up this morning (I actually woke up sneezing... first time that's ever happened to me). I don't feel great, but I feel some relief.

In a strange way, this brings me into reflection about the resurrection. With His resurrection, Christ ensured victory in the war against sin and death. In His earthly lifetime, Christ endured every possible type of temptation and even some kinds of temptation that we will never face. Not only did He endure temptation, but He did what we never could: He withstood; triumphed every single time He was tempted. Our willpower may occasionally win out, but more often then not, we have a breaking point; we capitulate... which means, we don't really have a clear concept of what it's like to be tempted with full force. Christ does because He endured every temptation to its fullest extent without caving. In doing so, Christ established the authority and ability to take on our debt of sin: only one who has never sinned could do so.

In dying on the cross and rising from the dead, Christ extends the promise of life without temptation, without sin.

Like an allergy, temptation is an uncomfortable reality that must be endured not just once or twice, but constantly. It diminishes the enjoyment of the good things that God has created and brings so much misery and distress. However, while for allergies we have only anti-histamines (which are great, but obviously have limits and side-effects), for temptation, we have Christ.

We will still face temptations in our lifetime and we will still buckle under those temptations with astounding frequency, but we can rest assured that Christ took those moments of weakness with Him to the cross. In Him, we find relief. In Him, we find the promise of a day when we will no longer face temptations, when sin will no longer even be a possibility.

Compared to this glorious hope, the promise of not sniffling or sneezing seems pretty trivial.

Hallelujah to the Risen LORD!

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