Friday, April 18, 2014

The Real Noah Story (Part 2)

 Matthew 24:37-39

 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,  and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

1 Peter 3: 18-22

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison,  because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.  Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,  who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

The sad thing about Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" is that it misses the types 
and shadows by which Noah's story points us to Christ.  Focused on its ecological 
parable, the film distorts the New Testament reading of the flood narrative and its typological importance for Christians today, especially on this Good Friday.  
For as Noah and his family were saved from God's judgment through the ark, 
so we were brought safely by another human creation made of wood through sin, death, and the devil, when Christ was put to death in the flesh on a Roman cross, bearing the due penalty we deserved for our rebellion. Released from the condemnation of the Law, the cross brings us the eternal peace with God that Noah's ark hinted at but couldn't preserve, for though God promised not to send another flood on the earth, there is a greater "day of the Lord" coming, when God in Christ will return to judge mankind according to its works. Christ's voluntary sacrifice on the cross eternally releases us from the guilty verdict that is coming on the wickedness of men, which this time around will not be blotted out by "the waters of the deep" but instead cast into the eternal fires of second death that wait for those outside Christ.

Today the good news of the cross is applied to us through Word and Sacrament,
creating new life where before there was spiritual death.  None more so
than in the Sacrament of Baptism whose washing of regeneration through
water and the Word corresponds to the waters of the flood that washed
away the sins of the world.  This Baptism now saves us through the
resurrection of Christ, uniting us to his death that crucifies our
old self with its body of sin, and to his resurrection life by which
death no longer has dominion over us.  Through the flood waters of Baptism
we are raised from death to life.  Now called to walk in "newness of life",
drowning our sins and evil desires so that "a new man should daily emerge
and rise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever". Living
daily repentance in the sure knowledge that our salvation has already been won
by what looked like to the world as a defeat: a condemned Rabbi sentenced to
die who was actually God in the flesh, who by his blood triumphed over the
rulers and authorities that once held us in slavery.

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