Today, April 22, 2011, has been designated “Earth Day.”
Ok, I get it. I really do. Let’s take care of the earth because it is – for now – the only home we have (in this life).
As a disciple of Jesus Christ (what you might call a “Bible-believing Christian”), the first thing that came to mind when I was reminded that today was “Earth Day” was this Bible verse:
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein…. Psalm 24:1
It isn’t my earth, it is God’s earth. He has a claim to ownership by the fact that He made it:
1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. 3And God said…. Genesis 1:1-3
This is an interesting verse. It is how the Christian and Jewish Scriptures begin. Look at the verse again. There are actually three beings mentioned.
God is mentioned by name. He is the creator of the earth. According to my public confession of faith, He is “God the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth” (Apostles’ Creed, Article I).
Then the “Spirit of God” is mentioned. This would be the Holy Spirit, the 3rd Person of the Christian Trinity.
Trinity – “three in one.” So where’s the third being?
“And God said….” To understand that this, go to another beginning, the beginning of the Gospel of John.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. – John 1:1-3
John is talking about Jesus Christ. Jesus is the “Word” through whom God the Father created the earth.
So for me, “Earth Day” brings me to Jesus Christ who is the one through whom the earth was created.
Earth Day, April 22, 2011.
But April 22, 2011 is also Good Friday in the Christian calendar. It is the day that disciples of Jesus commemorate as the day that Jesus Christ died on a cross to save the world from sin, death, and the power of the devil.
It is a coincidence that Good Friday and Earth Day are on the same day this year.
Or is it?
In Matthew’s Gospel, this is recorded as happening on the first Good Friday:
…the earth shook, and the rocks were split. Matthew 20:51
This happened at the very moment that Jesus Christ died. Why did this happen? Because the one through whom the earth and the heavens was created was gone. He died. Nothing like this had ever happened before. The earth had – up to this point – always felt the power and presence of the “Word” through which it had its being.
But now that Word was gone. The Word died. The earth shook and the sun refused to shine when the Word died. It was as if the earth was saying, “Take notice you peoples! The one through whom I was created has died for you. You brought pain and death to the world through your sin. But the Word paid the price for that sin with His death. He did this for you! I shake to make sure you do not miss this tremendous outpouring of love!”
That is why this Friday is called “Good.” It is the day that God is reconciled to man because of the death of Jesus, the Son of God.
“And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.”