"Eucatastrophe"

By Rev David de Bruyn

Linguists tell us that about 14 new words are added to the English language every day.  J.R.R. Tolkien, the writer of The Lord of the rings, felt there should be another word in the English language.  He took the Greek prefix eu or u which we see in words such as eulogy or Eucharist, which is good, or glad, or thankful and he added this prefix to the word "catastrophe", creating the word "eucatastrophe". Tolkien wanted a word that meant "a catastrophe that turns to good".  Something that looks like complete and utter defeat and at the last moment it turns completely around in an unpredicted, unexpected and unrepeatable way. What looks like a disaster is suddenly turned around into triumph.  When all is lost, unbelievably, victory breaks through.
 
There can be no greater example of eucatastrophe than the cross.  Nothing else in human history looks as much like defeat and failure and doom like Jesus on the cross.  But the Christian gospel is about eucatastrophe, that apparent defeat was a victory, it was the greatest victory over the greatest foes.
 
Mark 15 Verse 37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice and breathed His last.  Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, so when the centurion who stood opposite Him saw that He cried out like this, and breathed His last, he said, Truly this Man was the Son of God. Jesus cries out with a loud voice and then dies, but His cry was not a scream of pain, it was not just a yell, it was in fact an announcement. This announcement was what showed whether the whole scene was defeat or victory.  The gospel of John tells us what He said in that last cry.  John 19 v 29 - 30  Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there and they filled a sponge with sour wine and put it to His mouth so when Jesus had received the sour wine He said, It is finished and bowing His head He gave up His spirit."

Jesus had announced to everyone that what He had just endured had been a race He was running, a price He was paying, a battle He was fighting.  He could have come down from the cross.  He could have saved Himself, but then it would not have been finished.  He could have vindicated Himself, but then it would not have been paid in full.
 
Truly this Man was the Son of God. He was a victor. He had not been beaten, He had surrendered voluntarily so as to win.  Not far from there, as many priests were doing the Passover sacrifices they looked at the thick leather curtain separating the holy place from the most holy place and it was torn from top to bottom.  This was God tearing apart the veil that had barred access.  His Son had just paid the sin debt in full.  His Son had just turned the victory of sin, death and satan into defeat and turned the defeat of righteousness, life and God's glory into victory.  The Son shouted on the cross and the Father said as He tore the veil from top to bottom, Paid in full. That was the proof and the vindication and the evidence that it had been paid in full - the eucatastrophe.

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