Written by Rev. Sameul Leung (Senior Pastor, Ma On Shan Ling Liang Church)
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Believers should all say they have ‘died’, because we are united with Christ in His death and burial. When reading these scriptures, Christians emphasise being united with Christ’s death and resurrection but often overlook the word ‘buried’. By focusing on burial, it reinforces the fact of death and highlights that for Jesus, death was not just a passing event but a process. Jesus on the cross said, ‘It is finished’ and said to the Father, ‘Into your hands, I commit my spirit.’ It signified His death, but this was only the beginning of death. Afterwards, he went into a state of death from Friday night to Sunday morning when He was finally resurrected. The Apostles’ Creed mentions that Jesus was ‘crucified, died, and buried’ and then goes on to say, ‘descended into hell (or to the dead)’ which more clearly pointed out that He did not just touch death, but fully entered and participated in it. Jesus ‘might taste death for everyone’ (Hebrews 2:9), it was not a shallow experience but a complete immersion into the reality of death in full senses. Being scalded is uncomfortable, and even more uncomfortable is to maintain in the hot state. The true significance of death lies in the essence of the ‘journey’ it entails. That is the real deal!
Let’s talk about experiencing poverty. A few years ago, I was honoured to participate in the ‘CEDAR Barefoot Walk’ and experienced scuffed feet and the sensation of walking on scorching hot rocks. Living in an era of material abundance, I may consider this a little valuable experience, feeling a taste of poverty. Who knows that it was just a drop in the ocean, not the whole picture? Truly experiencing poverty goes beyond merely tasting a morsel. When it comes to places where the war just broke out or regions hit by a strong earthquake that’s still on the news, instinctively showing concern, making a donation is a kind of emotion, but it’s not a true act of mercy. The death of Jesus is the ultimate form of identification with humanity. Believers should be united with His death, an ongoing process rather than just for a moment.