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I’ve always loved secret messages. When I was a kid, my parents had an Encyclopedia Britannica set (it’s like Google in a series of books). Encyclopedias are arranged alphabetically, and in my various explorations of the books, I noticed that on the first page of each letter, the book listed the corresponding Greek letter. So on A, it showed an alpha. On B, a beta and so on.
?My spidey-sense started tingling and I knew right away this could be a code language. I copied down each letter, then began ‘writing in Greek’, simply writing English words with their Greek stand-ins. In case you’re wondering, this was not a very good code.
And of course it’s not real Greek – I had to learn that in college, and if you know any other languages, you know they’re much more than just using different letters to make the same words.
Codes are used to hide information in plain sight. The earliest code we’ve found is almost 4,000 years ago, in an Egyptian pharaoh’s tomb. Maybe the most famous is the code used by Julius Caesar to send messages to his generals. Caesar shifted the Latin alphabet three spaces, then wrote his messages. So A would be D, L would be P, etc. The Caesarian code, also known as a ‘substitution’ is one of the first codes you learn to do today.
Over time, codes got more complex, which led to the creation of encryption and decoder machines. And if you’re a spy movie fan like I am, you know about the decoder ring. It was for spies on the go, a way to decipher a secret message on the go.
With the right decoder ring, you have access to information the rest of the world doesn’t.
Why all this talk of secret codes and decoder rings? Well, because today is Easter, obviously.
Today is the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. Today, we explore what it means that 2,000 years ago, Jesus dead body came back to life and walked out of the tomb in which he’d been buried.
It’s easy to get caught up in the spectacle of the moment because hey, even in a superhero movie, the dead coming back to life makes us cheer.
But the thing about Easter is that it’s not just a cool thing that happened a long time ago. It’s not even mainly a cool thing that happened a long time ago.
No, Easter is the first day in a whole new way of being in the world, a way that’s hidden in plain sight all around us.
Not unlike a secret code.
What we need is a decoder ring, a way to find the hidden messages God has embedded in the world around us.
Fortunately, Jesus himself is that decoder. His resurrection makes that so.