Greed is an apt description of much of what is happening in Hong Kong today. Both rich and poor are nevertheless trying to squeeze or swindle more from others. Some peddle drugs, sex, and other wasteful and harmful merchandize. Further afield, people lie, cheat, exploit, oppress, and kill to gain or preserve power and wealth. Women and children are trafficked for sex and slavery. Rich countries flaunt their wealth and power at the expense of those without even water, food and energy. Science and technology has progressed by leaps and bounds. But are we morally any better than our ancestors? Not really.
Some of us tried. But none have succeeded in redeeming humanity. How can we? No one can make himself or herself completely unselfish, totally magnanimous, and ultimately, overcome death and the fear of mortality. Even if, theoretically, one can save oneself by strenuous effort, or even to die for another, one can achieve the redemption of but one person out of the vast sea of humanity.
Two thousand years ago, Christ was mocked, whipped, and nailed to die on the cross, in an effort to redeem humanity. Trying to imagine His suffering at the Good Friday Service at our church this afternoon, I found the thought extremely hard to bear. The savage whipping, the nails puncturing his hands and feet, the pain, the humiliation, and the death. How could one person withstand so much?
On the other hand, the depth and breadth of human depravity, including my own, is such that redemption is impossible without the unfathomable suffering borne by Christ. Were He not the Son of God, even that would not have been enough. Because He is, it just could.
And to think that He did it for me. He died not just for a vague sense of humanity. He suffered and died specifically for me. We feel uncomfortable when we owe others favours. How much do I owe Christ now that He had suffered so much for me? How can I even pay Him back? But if I don’t try to pay Him back, what does that make me? What redeemed such depth and breadth of human depravity was unlimited love. I have to learn to love as God loves, as my share of the redemption.