He does not hunt to destroy, he hunts to release mankind from their terrible captivity, and he has been doing so since the first dawn of humanity. Many despise him, some fear him as the embodiment of their selfhood’s deepest nightmare, many hide from him under pleasure or philosophy. But those who have experienced what he can do for them, the ones he has “caught”, feel only deep wonder, abiding gratitude and tremulous, overwhelming love.
Each pursuit is its own story. Long ago there were two who hid in a garden, pitiably attempting to conceal their nakedness. He would not allow them to hide from him; ruthlessly he called them forth and made them own what they had done. And on the day that death entered the world, the promise of life entered also.
There was another, one who had bound up the deepest longings of his soul with lies, deception and the slick tricks of a shyster. Ah! that was a long pursuit, through years and across deserts, luring him with angelic dreams and the dismay of being bested by the sharp practices of another, until the time came when he could run no further, and the Hunter brought his flight to a standstill, appearing in the form of a stranger to wrestle with him and overthrow him.
And there was a woman, a heathen prostitute, whom he sought in a strange city. She saw him for what he was, despite the deceptions she lived under, and, being wise and discerning, she chose to cleave to him and to his people. And she was freed.
There was one who thought that he could flee the Hunter by taking a ship to the furthest reaches of the known world, but it was not so easy to escape. There was a mighty storm that threatened shipwreck, and a mighty fish that swallowed him whole, taking him down into a darkness where he could not escape the truth any longer.
There were so many of them: the shepherd boy of confident faith who had to pass through rejection and exile, then later the revelation of his own deep sin before he was truly free, the man who had to marry a faithless woman in order to understand the forgiving love at the heart of the universe, the young boy who was called in the middle of the night and whose heart was made captive forever.
But there was a greater prey that the Hunter sought – one that must be overcome in order for true freedom to occur. And prey’s name was death, and its power came from sin. But the Hunter knew that it was vulnerable, and how to overcome it. And he did it by becoming vulnerable himself. He was stripped from his power and glory, his might and dominion, and became a nothing. And in that lowly, helpless form he submitted to death and hell, and was taken into the very depths of their heartland. And there the one who was beaten and mocked, reviled and tormented, won a victory that was absolute and unimaginable. Death itself was overcome, and the Hunter returned in triumph.
And still the victorious Hunter hunts, that the souls of men may be rescued and restored. And still, until this earth shall end, he comes to set his people free.