11 April, 2020
Christ is Risen! Happy Easter Sunday—the Day of our Lord. The Resurrection of Christ, the Lord’s Day, is celebrated every other Sunday, but perhaps with little understanding of the meaning of the day. The resurrection of Christ has a ring of finality to it, it is the end! Jesus Christ cried out aloud: ‘It is Finished!’ and breathed his last on the Cross (John 19:30). His work on earth was fully complete, but we came to know this only when he rose from the grave—resurrected—three days later, on Sunday. The finished work on the Cross would make no sense until the Resurrection happened. Resurrection reconciles and compliments the Incarnation and Crucifixion of Christ.
First century Jews believed the resurrection was the end of history. Resurrection is the event that occurs at the end of time; awakening those who have fallen asleep (1 Thess. 4:13-18). It is the consummation of history on earth. Therefore, since the ascension, the world lived in anticipation of the consummation of history, every single day. After the first fruit of the resurrection event (1 Cor. 15:12-22), believers in Christ have been ushered into another realm, the kingdom of God. Believers in Christ are in the kingdom already and yet, not yet entered the kingdom fully, until the very end of history. Christ’s real Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Jesus said: “In this world you will have tribulations (John 16:33), but gives his peace and encourages us to take heart, because he has overcome the world.
We live on earth with kingdom values as taught by Jesus Christ, and spend eternity with him in his kingdom, when we will be completely free from the forces or spirit of this world. In the meantime, we are all subject to the perils and forces of this world, in common humanity. As Christians, we are blessed and charged to give the rest of the world hope by pointing them to Christ and inviting them to enter his Kingdom.
Human history lived in anticipation of Christ breaking into our world and living among us, since the Fall. His task was to bridge the gap between lost humanity, groping in darkness, with God our Creator, to whom humanity is destined to return, in glory or in damnation. That task was complete and paid for in full by Jesus Christ on the Cross, thus he could proclaim; It is finished.”
As we all look back to Adam for the beginning of our earthly life, we look onto Jesus for the new life (v.22). Until that final consummation, in the resurrection, we live in the ‘end time’ era. Our life and times are subject to perilous times; whether this is war, death, persecution, hunger, plague, Tsunami, 9/11 or times of flourishing and economic prosperity etc. The one event we await is the second coming of Christ (consummation). Before then, we should be occupied with life’s purpose, entrusted to us by God (Luke 19:13). The great commandments and great commission are the imperatives; with the full implications, as God’s agents; light and salt and ambassadors for Christ.
End time does not necessarily mean the time we draw our last breath, as much as that ushers us into the presence of God; to eternal bliss or eternal damnation, depending on your relationship with Jesus Christ. End time is the period between the ascension of Jesus Christ and the Parousia—the Second Coming of Christ. I know the Church has talked about the end of time for over two millenniums and it would appear that any talk about end time today, is viewed with skepticism and doubt. Some others indulge in some spiritual analytics to block out the date on their schedule, with air of Gnosticism, about when the second coming will happen. Read my lips, Nobody knows and any speculation is in futility, in fact, it is an afront to Jesus Christ our Lord. These are the very words of Jesus Christ himself: “No one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows” (Matt. 24:36). In the previous verse, he said: “Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear”. With this warnings and clear statements from our Omniscient Lord, why should anybody think she has heard from God and knows the time and hour or even the year or decade, our Lord will come? When you think it has been long time since the world has been waiting for this, the Lord said: “A thousand years is like a day or a day like thousand years (2 Peter 3:8)…my thoughts are not your thoughts (Isa. 55:8-13)…..It is for the good of the people in the world that the Lord tarries, that all may have the opportunity to be sober and be saved (2 Peter 3). Let God be God; we cannot play God.
History of the universe, since the Fall, is sandwiched between the pivotal events of the Incarnation and Resurrection. The mind that unravels the full meaning of these doctrines must be greater than our Great God Himself. While, it is preposterous to attempt to explain the meaning of Resurrection, suffice it to say, resurrection helps us to understand the message of the Bible! The Bible itself does not explain resurrection, rather reports the event. Without the resurrection, the whole Gospel would make no sense. The mystery of God becoming human so, humanity can become God—through partaking in the resurrected body of Christ—making possible what we are to become at the end of time. No doubt, the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic may have apocalyptic implications and has changed our way of living, as people. As the people of God, we feel the impact on the Church and every aspect of human life.
The fundamental question is: what does this mean for us as followers of Jesus Christ? Has this changed our beliefs and feel the need to acquire new knowledge apart from what you know or at least, been always available to us? Here I stand: We continue to live with the imperatives of the Kingdom of God, to reflect the values of the Kingdom of God, in a perilous world; whether it is Ebola epidemic, Tsunami, Malaria, acts of terror or COVID-19. Our matching orders have not changed; we are to be prepared in season and out of season, in this era. The parting shot Jesus was: “Receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22),be of good cheer (John 16:33)—I have overcome the world (including COVID19) and lo, I am with you always (Matt. 28:20)”. Comforting and resounding words of Jesus our Lord.
Easter Reflections April 2020.