The flock of birds came down to launch what would be the final assault. Ash bravely stood between Pikachu and the angry Spearow’s, telling them he wouldn’t give in and he’d take them all on. Pikachu then leapt up from behind Ash and did one of those thunder attacks and the rest is history. Truly electrifying stuff. Then the sun came out, the rain had finally stopped, and Ash and Pikachu shared a moment, it’s a wonderful happy ending, I am just waiting for the closing credits and then this gold bird appears out of nowhere. Ash’s Pokédex doesn’t even know what it is. Any Pokémanaic will be able to tell you who it is though. It was Ho-Oh. One of two legendary birds in the original series.
I always had a fascination with Ho-Oh, because we don’t see him again. It didn’t really make sense having him in there. So, while I should have been doing college work, I spent my time doing meaningless tasks such as discovering everything there is to know about this legendary bird. The story behind Ho-Oh is, he lost his gaf in a fire. He wasn’t home though. He now patrols the sky and apparently lives at the foot of a rainbow. I’m guessing the other end of the rainbow is where the leprechauns have their gold. The only way a trainer will be able to meet Ho-Oh is when he finds you. He’s actively looking for a Pokémon trainer, with one particular trait. A pure heart. Ho-Oh wants someone who is perfect, one who doesn’t use Pokémon for strength, who brings humans and Pokémon together. It would appear to be an impossible task. I think it is fitting that Ash never met Ho-Oh.
In the Old Testament, there are these ‘rules’ or ‘terms and conditions’ that the Israelites must follow if they wanted to be in relationship with God. He gave them the law. This law was intricate, very detailed and almost impossible to keep. Any time people messed up they could go to the high priest who once a year would make atonement for the sins of the nation. Even the high priest was involved in being atoned for. He wasn’t perfect, none of them were. But God still loved them. The law was perfect, but keeping it was a trial. Once one rule, one command, one decree was broken, atonement was needed, and the Israelites were on a never-ending cycle. Something needed to change for them. They needed someone so good, so just, so perfect that the law could be fulfilled through that one person.
Woven throughout the Old Testament like a thread was the idea of the Messiah.
The Jews look at some scripture and said ‘yeah, this Messiah is gunna be mighty, overpowering and defeat all of our enemies. He’ll live forever’. They weren’t wrong in what they were saying, but they missed the mark a bit. I wonder what it was like for an everyday Jew in the 1st century when Jesus showed up and turned everything they thought they knew upside down. I reckon their head hurt a little bit wrestling with it.
The Messiah in their eyes had certain things that needed to be accomplished. He had to establish a government in Israel that would act as the centre of all governments, rebuild the temple, restore Jewish law to Israel and many other things. Jesus rocked up and told the leaders he would destroy the temple, he told them to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. It’s almost like he was looking for trouble!
It never crossed the minds of the religious leaders of that time that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, what good has come from there? It never crossed their minds that this Messiah came to die to make ultimate atonement. They never would have looked to scriptures such as Isaiah 53 and associated it with the Messiah. The idea that the king would come from a lowly background, have a very questionable family history, spend his time eating and drinking with sinners and associating himself with the poor would have never been entertained. You would have been laughed at for even considering it. But this is what God did.
God loved the world so much that he sent His son Jesus to die for your sins and mine.
Jesus in dying the death he did on the cross and rising from the grave did something that no one else had ever done. Jesus Christ, defeated death, he sits on the right hand of the Father. Through rising from the grave Jesus inherited a new title, something which the author of Hebrews expanded on. Jesus is the Great High Priest. As I mentioned earlier, the high priest was a sinner, he needed atonement before he could atone for others. Jesus was without sin. The high priest was also a normal human, humans die, and the job just gets passed down to next in line. With Jesus, He lives forever. He conquered sin and death.
Unlike Ash, who only ever saw a glimpse of Ho-Oh and never again, we are invited to be in relationship with God. Through Jesus that is possible. And the beauty of Jesus is that when we mess up he’s there for us. He wants to be part of our lives, so involve him, run your race with him, learn the way He does it, learn His unforced rhythms of Grace. Know Him more, if you know Jesus, you know God. and finally let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.