I doubt I could really add much of value to the Resurrection weekend. What could I say that hasn’t already been said, and more eloquently? So I’ll discard any effort to impress either of my readers and simply offer what I’ve been dwelling on these last several days.
Jesus moved throughout Palestine announcing the onset of the Kingdom of God. Finally, after centuries of longing, Israel’s God was restoring relationship with His people (albeit in an unexpected manner) and sealing a permanent covenant. For those who saw Jesus’ plan and believed the Lord was truly working through this Galilean, this meant a welcoming back into the family of God, filled with great abundance and vitality, and a rescue from eons of oppression, both physical and spiritual. When the Resurrection event occurred, those who believed it saw in it the vindication of all that Jesus had been doing as he walked the earth. Truly, they were assured, Yahweh has restored Israel through this man Jesus.
Perhaps oddly, virtually all of Jesus’ work was among the Jews. His announcement, the imminent Kingdom of God, was a Jewish hope. And the restoration he offered – a kind of spiritual, though by no means non-physical, return from exile – was entirely in Jewish terms.
Yet, as Paul and the other New Testament writers (and certainly one gets the sense throughout the New Testament, not least in Acts, that this becomes a rather common perception among the early Christian community) ponder what has happened following that one eventful Passover celebration, they begin to realize that though Jesus was announcing that this quintessential Jewish hope had been inaugurated, in actuality, God had been restoring all of humanity in and through Jesus, the new Adam.
Still, the immensity of what occurred in that first Resurrection extends even deeper and farther. Paul writes to the Corinthian church a few decades after the Resurrection, and says, “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation” (2 Cor 5:17a). In other words, if you’ve believed that God was indeed reconciling the world through this Jewish prophet, then you realize that the whole world has changed. A new era has dawned, not just on humanity, but on the actual physical earth as well.
It’s a whole new world out there. If you’ve got the eyes to see it, it’s worth taking a look.