By Michael C. Mack
Novelists and short-story writers create believable characters—protagonists and antagonists (that is, heroes and villains), sidekicks, instigators, love interests, confidantes, and extras. They also create the worlds in which all these players live. Context and culture are essential to tell anyone’s story.
Good fiction writers, however, will tell you that the word character is hollow. As an author writes and develops these characters and “lives” with them over time, they become real—they grow into friends, even family. It may sound odd, but a relationship is cultivated over time.
Authors, artists, composers, architects, landscapers, and car restorers are all creators who develop attachments to their work. Have you ever heard someone refer to something they’ve created as their “baby”?
God feels that way about us. He created each of us with individuality and flair. He created us for a purpose in this world he also created. As we spend time with him, and he with us, he cultivates a deeper and more intimate relationship with us. We are much more than mere characters in some narrative he is composing. He created each of us to be in a loving relationship with him.
And when that relationship was blemished by our sin, it broke his heart (the climax of the story). And he loves us so much that he entered his creation—right into the middle of the story—and (here’s the resolution), in the most dramatic scene ever recorded, he stepped in and “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
You see, this is not just the Author’s story. This is “our” story. God is the hero of the story, and we are the ones he came to save. “He was pierced for our transgressions.”
As we share this Communion meal together, we celebrate Jesus’ heroic act. We take the bread and eat it to remember that he sacrificed his body for us . . . and we drink of the cup to remember the blood he shed for us.
“By his wounds we are healed”!
Michael C. Mack serves as editor of Christian Standard.