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An Easter Key

In 1799, a discovery was made by some of Napoleon’s troops in Rosetta, a camel’s spit from Alexandria in Egypt. A stone bearing, in three languages, the decree of an old Egyptian king. The decree, actually, is underwhelming – basically the announcement of a tax-break to some rather impertinent priests. But the trilingual broadcasting of the decree, in Greek, Demotic and Hieroglyphs, is overwhelming, for suddenly a key was now available to unlock the ancient world of the Pharaohs.

But the Rosetta Stone is not the most important trilingual decree ever issued in the history of the world. In the days of Pontius Pilate, another decree was made in Gabbatha, a Pharisee’s spit from the Temple in Jerusalem. Not so much a decree, but more the statement of a crime committed by a person who had offended the Roman Empire. In Aramaic (the local language), Greek (the cultural language), and Latin (the imperial language), the following words, written on a wooden board and affixed to a cross, went forth to the world: ‘Jesus of Nazareth. The King of the Jews.’

But what were the mysteries unlocked by these simple words? This: the revealing of heaven’s-appointed King. And this: the revealing of the One promised to remove sin and establish righteousness. And this: the revealing of a powerful grace that could relieve the guilt of anyone on earth. And this: the revealing of an open doorway to heaven. And this: the revelation of the power, glory, and wonder, of the love that we celebrate at Easter.

DM 21st March 2017


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