Pen Points 3
The Stories of Two Heels
One is myth. One is real.
When Achilles was a babe, his mother, Thetis, dipped him in the river Styx to make him invincible. Her mistake was that she held him by the heel, which did not get bathed in the river. Consequently, at the end of the Trojan War, as Achilles stood looking at the beauty of Hector’s and Paris’ sister, Paris shot an arrow at Achilles’ back. Apollo changed the trajectory of the arrow, knowing Achilles’ weakness, and the arrow plunged into Achilles’ heel. Achilles died. Hence, we talk about a weakness as an “Achilles’ heel.”
There’s another heel, though. One that led to redemption and forgiveness.
When the serpent successfully influenced Adam and Eve to sin, he suffered consequences under God’s curse. The Lord told him, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen 3:15). Compared to the head bruise, a heel bruise was not ultimately fatal. Jesus died, but He rose again victoriously. Death did not have the last word, nor will it ever because of Jesus’ resurrection.
The weakness of Achilles’ heel brings salvation to no one; it just reminds us that we all have weaknesses. There was no resurrection for Achilles. His only glory is one of mythical memory, a story stained in the fury of merciless bloodshed backed by warring and pitiful gods.
The weakness of Jesus’ heel, however, was momentary. His heel was bruised, but in the process, the head of the serpent was crushed, and victory belonged to the Lord.
There is no religion of Achilles that redeems anyone of anything. Christ, however, will redeem us, for He ever lives to make intercession for us.
The Goal of Resurrection
Jesus bore our sins in His body (1 Pet 2:24), and it was in His body that He rose again. The body through which He died and by which His wounds heal is the body through which His resurrection provides hope.
Through the resurrection, Christ is the firstfruits of those who belong to Him (1 Cor 15:20-23).
We have sinned in our bodies and it is in our bodies that we will rise again. The bodies through which we have sustained the wounds of sin and death will one day realize the resurrection hope.
It is the body, yet a changed body, fitted for immortality, imperishable. Death is swallowed up in victory. What is mortal is finally changed and swallowed up by life (1 Cor 15; 2 Cor 5).
This brings into focus our great goal: “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Phil 3:10-11).
The living hope is real, and it is made real by the resurrection of the Son of God. Praise the Lord!
The leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations (Rev 22:2). If we wish to partake of the tree of life, then the healing of the nations should be part of our agenda and priority. Primarily, this comes in the form of restoration and reconciliation to God. Yet if we are all truly reconciled to God, we will be reconciled to one another as well. We will seek the benefits and blessings of all people. ““Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt 5:9).
God’s design was to bring in the nations (of which I am part). “And nations shall come to your light…” (Isa 60:3). This is why it was so significant when Peter proclaimed, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him” (Acts 10:34).
To think of Christianity in terms of one nationality or ethnic group runs entirely counter to God’s purposes. Christianity is not uniquely American. Or white. Or Southern. Or…? We are to love all, teach all, reach out to all: “make disciples of all nations…” Racial divides among the people of God do not fit God’s desire. He expressly says otherwise. We are to seek to be one in Him.
Seek the blessings of all the nations. Point them all to the tree of life where we all will find healing. “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise” (Prov 11:30).