1–7 April 2018.
The world isn’t supposed to be this way. Goodness should win and evil should fail. That’s the way things should be. But sadly that’s often not true. What’s worse, often evil doesn’t just struggle along, it succeeds – and it even rises to power. In politics, society, and business we want to see our leaders doing great things, creating justice, goodness, and fairness for everyone. But instead we see corruption and the abuse of power spreading. Reading Psalm 58 we find that this isn’t a new problem. Do rulers do what is right? Do they seek justice and fairness? No. Instead the psalm’s author tells us they plan out violence and search for ways to boost their own power and benefits. As a result, society falls apart. The psalm writer describes how wickedness and lies spread all around us, people become like vicious snakes attacking us and each other, and evil runs out of control.
This isn’t the way the world is supposed to be. People who cheat and hurt and destroy shouldn’t win, people who use violence and hate shouldn’t have power to influence our lives. But they do. As a result, the psalm’s author prays to God to see some punishment. That’s because evil isn’t abstract or theoretical; the evil things that people do really influence our concrete lives – they really hurt us, and really make us suffer. So in vv. 6–8 the author cries out in despair and describes the types of punishment he wants to see. He wants to see God destroy the power of wicked people. He wants God to smash the fangs out of the evil snakes that surround us, to tear out the teeth of those lions who use their mouths to bite and hurt us. It’s wrong for evil and injustice to have power – and the writer knows the truth: that it’s God’s job to do something about all this evil in the world.
Today in the Easter event we see God’s answer to this prayer. God shows us that he agrees with us: the world is not supposed to be this way! Death and evil are not supposed to have the final word; they are not supposed to succeed, and they shouldn’t have power over our lives. And so in the resurrection of Jesus, God steps in and destroys the power of evil. In the resurrection, God shows that death will no longer rule over us, and evil will never win. Love, life, and goodness are eternal, but evil is not. That’s the wonderful news of Easter. And it’s a promise to us of God’s power to change this world, to sweep aside the fake successes of evil, and build here instead his kingdom of goodness and love.
Pastor Stephen Lakkis