Thursday, March 25, 2010

Witnesses to the Resurrection

The first church was, to put it mildly, galvanized by what happened on the Sunday following Jesus' death. As the apostles put it shortly after Pentecost, they understood themselves called to be "witnesses to his resurrection." They understood this to include their bearing witness to an event in history... but there seems to be more to it than that.

What might it look like for us to live as witnesses to his resurrection? Are we seeking to communicate merely what happened two thousand years ago, or are we called to witness to what that event means today, in our here-and-now.. and its implications for our future there-and-then? The poet Wendell Berry has a great line in one of his poems ("The Mad Farmer's Liberation Front Manifesto"): "Practice resurrection." What do you think that "practicing resurrection" might, or could, mean for you and for us all?

50 comments:

Joseph Holbrook said...

"kuh-thunk" ... (the sound of a big rock splashing into a quiet, still pool of water ... can you see the ripples flowing outward gently in circles?)

Joseph Holbrook said...

maybe it was ker-plash! ... I don't have an answer for your question Brian. I need a little resurrection-life myself right now--in more than one area--if anyone has any ideas ...

I really don't know of any way we could work sex into this topic to generate more interst ...

Brian Emmet said...

Or just a dull "thud"? But thinking about the resurrection can't finally be dull, right?

Maybe the resurrection indicates that there are things that are actually more important than sex? Maybe sex points beyond itself to rsurrection realities?

If one day God will do for Creation what he did for Jesus on Easter, what does that suggest about how we live today?

Why do you think Christians ought to celebrate Easter?

steve H said...

The last few weeks have been quite rushed so I haven't been writing as much. But I have read along -- or skimmed along -- even when I have not commented. This week my daughter's twins were born. Most of the last several days we've had her other 5 here along with the 3 that belong to our other daughter's family, who have been living with us since August. It's a blessing but not a serene environment.

The resurrection has become a bigger and bigger reality to me the last several years. First of all, I have come to realize that Jesus' resurrection is the beginning of the age to come. It is the firstfruit of the restoration/renewal/reconciliation of all things. It is the signal that all things will eventually set right!

This year I have been focused on this matter of reconciliation of all things. I have been studying the New Testament use of "cosmos" or world - a word by the way, that John uses in his writings about 1/3 more times than all the other writers put together use it. "The Apostle of Love" is also the apostle who appears most aware of God's love for his world - whether referring to the whole of creation in heaven and on earth, or to the sphere in which man lives, or to mankind itself.

[Ironically, when many Christians think about the
"world," we tend to think about the system of thinking and structures that are opposed to the rulership of God the King of the universe. That is one use - but not the primary one.]

The fact that the eternally begotten Son of God, the second person of the One Triune God, became a part of his creation (incarnation), fulfilled obedience as the representative man, offered up his perfect life to pay the penalty of all disobedience (crucifixion, death, burial) is awesome because he provided for our complete forgiveness.

And it's even more awesome that his resurrection means that we too can have unending life - now and in the age to come; we too, those who put their trust in Jesus the Lord, are being resurrected: first our spirits regenerated; our souls (personality, chararacter) are being restored; and ultimately our bodies will be remade/resurrected just as Jesus' body was.

But it's not just us humans who benefit. Jesus came to give his life for the cosmos (John 6:35, 51). He became part of his creation and ultimately the whole creation will be "resurrected" / renewed / restored to its original glory and destiny.

Now that's a hope worth holding onto. And the resurrection of Jesus is the promise that it will indeed come to pass!

Laurel Long said...

Could we objectify the Resurrection?
We often speak in esoteric terms concerning theological basics. Do we really believe that Jesus actually raised from the dead, that He died, spent nearly three days in Hell, and then reembodied Himself in His earthly flesh and walked out of that tomb on Sunday morning that dear Joseph of Arimathea provided for Him? Why not?!!!!! Over time people have believed in more extraordinary and incredible things. We believe in something that is not only extraordinary and incredible- but TRUE.
Studying history forces me to realize that I believe "in" an event that is acknowledged by most, but its meaning is debated by all; my interpretation of this event would necessarily disqualify me from truly evaluating and interpreting historic events in the eyes of those who truly want it (the Resurrection) to go away.
We are told to believe in the evidence that has been produced by our fellow human historians on a variety of subjects, no, we are expected to believe in their discoveries because they often use their information to validate a certain world view. So why are we discouraged from believing those who were "eye witnesses" of a prophesied and unprecedented event in the history of the world? Because, if it is true, then what are we to do???????

Laurel Long said...

Congratulations Steve!!!!!

Joseph Holbrook said...

Hi, I agree with Steve that the resurrection is getting much bigger and more important to me … not that I feel that I understand it very much. Lets talk about it.

To Steve’s point about the word “cosmos.” Here is “This is my Father’s World” sung by Fernando Ortega.

This is my Father’s world

The music of the spheres …

♫♫ This is my fathers world, he shines in all thats fair… in rustling grass, I hear him pass, he speaks to me everywhere ….

Let me n’ere forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong … God is the ruler yet …♫

Billy Long said...

I do have a serious response, but first want to respond to Joseph's aside comment further back. I once heard the very elderly author of the book "The Late Liz" say, "If you think sex is everything, then you've never been constipated!

My serious comment will follow. I did not want to include it with this one.
Billy

Billy Long said...

Acts 8 says that Phillip went down to Samaria and "preached Christ" to them. That means he did not just talk about Him but presented Him alive and present right there with those people. The resurrection includes the reality that "the Lord worked with them confirming the word" that they spoke, by touching people, speaking to people, working miracles, etc... One of the most moving things I've heard in a meeting was a little 6 or 7 year old girls in tears saying, "Jesus is here. Jesus is here."
So the resurrection means not only what He did, but also that HE IS HERE NOW!

Billy Long said...

Peter said, "We are witnessess of His resurrection, AND SO ALSO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT." (Acts 5). The resurrection means that Jesus is present now by the Holy Spirit, and that the Spirit Himself bears witness along with us. That's dimension we need to see more of. The message of the resurrection should translate into the presence of God at work among, with us, and through us.

Billy Long said...

Laurel (my beautiful sweetheart, and wonderful wife), I like your comments about the historians versus the credibility of eyewitnesses.

Joseph Holbrook said...

me too! (the credibility of eyewitnesses part - although I agree with you that your wife is "sweet and purdy" as you would say).

Brian Emmet said...

I add my congratulations, Steve, on your being grandfathered again! I hope the reign of serenity is being reestablished in your home.

To state the obvious: without the resurrection, we would never have heard of Jesus. So we can see the resurrection as God's "certificate of authentification" or "guarantee" on the life, and especially the death, of Jesus. We can confidently live new lives in Christ because God raised him from the dead. "Living new lives in Christ" does not, however, promise an untroubled "life of success"; as we seek to live in a way that is aligned with Jesus and the kingdom he proclaimed, we should expect to get hit by some buses, as Jesus was.

I appreciate the connection that several of yuou have already made between the resurrection and hope... and the fact that, in some strange way, the "age to come" has already begun!

Brad P. said...

Hi Everyone,

I visited the blog tonight to read the section on "Hope." Joseph posted a link on facebook a while back and I have been excited to read it. To me, hope is one of the most beautiful things... However, I ended up reading your thoughts and questions on resurrection... which also happens to be an area of interest to me. (Interestingly enough, I believe that they are related, as Brian also pointed out).

Some time back I read Pope John Paul II's "Crossing the Threshold of Hope." (I liked it a lot). At one point he spoke of how the Western church tends to focus on the Cross (Christ dying for our sins), while the Eastern church focuses more on the Resurrection. I found this to be really interesting, and read a little bit more about the Eastern church at that time, but would still like to know more. Anyone out there have experience with the Eastern church? If so, any thoughts?

Either way, after reading that (as well as prior to it), I found myself developing a very strong desire to know much more about the resurrection... (I still feel much of this).

This led me to Eugene Peterson's "Living the Resurrection." (Anyone read that one?). I don't know that I found all of the answers I was looking for, but I did enjoy the book. It focuses on the resurrection moments, the historical vignettes between Jesus and the disciples after Christ rose from the dead and appeared to them. It also has what I have found to be one of the most graceful, loving, and hopeful scenes in the Bible, when Christ appears to the disciples after his death, on a morning when they are fishing (and most likely upset and with little hope, both because their Savior was crucified and also because they denied Him)... and He offers Himself, His strength, and His love to them again.

This has made me wonder (as well as also feel) from time to time if (that) we over-emphasize the death of Christ... and that perhaps we are lacking in our knowledge, engagement, and understanding of the resurrection (maybe it's just me, though). Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to downplay the death of Christ. I believe in it and understand it's importance. I just wonder if we're missing out on another aspect that is equally huge and important.

Just as a quick example, I think of the "Passion of Christ." There is great emphasis on the pain, suffering, and sacrifice of Christ, but what of his resurrection, his glory, God's fulfillment of His promises, the joy and the hope provided by the resurrection?

In the end, I find that the resurrection is an area in which I have felt that the Western church does not provide enough emphasis, and I would like to see more, and dig deeper in this area.

And in terms of sharing the story of Christ with others, I would think an emphasis on resurrection and redemption would be quite attractive to those who are searching for Something/Someone to redeem their lives, and that this might be able to reach some people who may not seem to respond so strongly to an emphasis on Christ's suffering... Just as in the same way the story of Christ's death and sacrifice may reach others who perhaps might not respond as strongly to the resurrection story.

Both are key of course. I just find myself so powerfully drawn towards the resurrection story, and want to know and experience more.

So those are several thoughts that I hope may contribute to the conversation.

I also resonate with Billy Long's comment quite strongly... that the resurrection means "He is here now."

Brad

Joseph Holbrook said...

good comments Brad. I am impressed that you found time to read Peterson's book while keeping up with your graduate study load. I try squeeze in a theological book here and there mostly between semesters. I have not read that but it sounds good.

There are several guys in this blog who are familiar with the Eastern Orthodox tradition. John Meadows is one, I think you already know John. thanks for your comments, I am looking forward to hearing more responses.

steve H said...

Brad P -- thanks for writing.

It was been the writing and teaching of Eastern Orthodox that has brought about my increasing emphasis on resurrection -- particularly Alexander Schmemann and Thomas Hopko. Anglican N.T. Wright has also helped me in that journey.

I think the West has been focused on sin and personal victory. The East, drawing from the early Fathers, puts emphasis on Christ's victory over the principalities and powers manifested in his resurrection. It not so much an overemphasis on the cross as an under emphasis on the resurrection.

My orthodox friend and author ("Common Ground") Jordan Bajis says that Orthodox doctrine is the most accurate but that there present day orthopraxy falls short. http://www.rebuildjournal.org/default.html?=

Anyway hope and resurrection are intrinsically linked.

Joseph Holbrook said...

thanks Steve, I am looking forward to reading some EO stuff when that magic day arrives and I finish. By-the-way, I am sitting in Portuguese class with Brad now.

On a practical level, I could use some resurrection life right now ... today. I feel like I have one foot in the grave, and the other in a deep pile of Horse manure. I have been intermitantly crying out to the father for help and grace.

Brian Emmet said...

I think one of the "hopes' provided for by the resurrection is that death does not have the final word; life does. But consider all the ways in which we so often act as if death does get the last word: we are fed a steady diet of death-news; we are, in ways conscious and unconscious, lovers of violence; we believe in the way of Jesus until push comes to shove, and then it's often us doing the pushing and the shoving.

But life wins, not because the universe has any preference for life, but because God does. The God of the living and the dead will bring to life all those who lie in their graves. Since this is so, what kind of people ought we to be?

John M. said...

Billy,
Perhaps regular sex would help relieve constipation? Just a thought.
John M.

John M. said...

Now for my serious comments. Great thread everyone. Good to hear from you Brad.

Steve, I like what you said about not too much emphasis on the cross, but too little on the resurrection.

Obviously, from a N.T. perspective (I Cor. 15 etc.) the resurrection is the hinge that validates the gospel. For a long time, my attention was drawn to the 40-day post-resurrection appearances. Wouldn't you love to have the DVD's of all that instruction on the Kingdom Of God? Actually, we probably have more of it than we realize in the preaching and teaching of the 12 and in the writings of Paul and the Revelation of John.

For the last couple years my focus has been more on the ascension. The bodily resurrected Jesus is now seated on the throne of the universe in the most privileged place, at the right hand of the Father.

This can't be totally symbolic, since Jesus left with his resurrected body, and the angel said on the day he ascended that "this same Jesus would return in the same way..." (The same Jesus that Brad referred to who ate breakfast on the beach with his disciples.) The implications are astounding to me.

Then, of course, there is Pentecost. The coming of the Holy Spirit validated Jesus' last words and promise to his core followers just before he ascended. Couple the coming of the Holy Spirit with the teaching of John 13-17, and you have enough to think about and assimilate for a life-time of thought, contemplation, and meditation.

So, you can't separate the Resurrection from either the cross, nor from the on-going work of Father and Son in the earth through the Holy Spirit. Jesus' suffering in his passion was tangible, but think of the persecution and malignment that the H.S. and those who profess to be filled by Him have experienced over the last two millennia.

Tons of practical application here: the obvious connection to the ministry of the Spirit; the hope of Jesus return and consummation of all that has been promised; and the possibilities for encouragement and edification when we consider that the man, Jesus, our elder brother, the second Adam, is physically resident in the Father's presence in the eternal fellowship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We have access to the very life of the Trinity through the Son and the Spirit. We don't enter the Godhead as humans, but because of the presence of the God-man and the immanence of His Spirit-presence, we can right now partake of his eternal, indestructible, all-powerful, God-life.

For those of us who have father-wounds (who doesn't?) from their earthly fathers, we can begin to get hold of the reality that the one who has a perfect relationship with the only perfect Father, is our Brother and we have been adopted (actually born) into the family!

All because of Easter! This Sunday I will not just be thinking of a historical event, awesome as that is, but of the reality of what I've tried to articulate here.

Joseph Holbrook said...

John, small problem with your suggestion to Billy in the comment at 5:30 pm ... he stays on the road for often 4 to 6 weeks at a time. After a weekend at home, he is off for another 4 to 6 weeks.

I believe under those circumstances, your suggestion may not be very helpful, at least in the way you intended it.

Here is a question for all of you. Why, in the final Resurrection will there be no giving and receiving in marriage? What are the implication of that?

Brian Emmet said...

All right! Joseph did find a way to introduce sex into the topic!

Maybe there are realities richer and better than sex? (We won't know until we get there!) Sex is a hint/clue/sign/sacrament, and once "the fulfillment" is manifest, the sign is no longer necessary?

John M. said...

Joseph,
I was making a general observation; I didn't intend my comment to be directed to Billy personally. I agree that it's not a good plan for him. Billy, I would recommend that you supplement your periodic weekends at home with extra fiber and perhaps one of those gentle over the counter laxative products when needed.

As to your question Joseph. I can see how, in the divine economy, Jesus' statement avoids the problem of who's spouse would be who's at the resurrection, when there had been multiple marriages previously. That was the question Jesus was responding to when he made that statement.

Other than that I can think of no positive reason for it from a human perspective. It is a mystery that I have pondered many times and have no satisfactory answer for, humanly speaking.

Personally, I have trouble imagining it...

Brian, Steve, Billy, anyone? Joseph and I need your profound insights and help here.

John M. said...

Brian, thanks, we cross-posted. I have thought along those lines, but you articulated it very well.

We are talking of a marriage between Jesus and the Church (His Bride). Hmmm... Hard to imagine "sex-like" intimacy w/o the physicality, but Paul does insert that idea into his passage cautioning the Corinthians against sexual immorality: "Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, 'The two will become one flesh.' But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit."
I Cor. 6:16-17.

Then there is Ephesians, chapter 5.
I suppose we have to trust God's wisdom here and maintain hope and faith for what he has planned for us?

Like I tell my 7th graders when they ask if there will be sports in heaven. I answer, "I don't know but if there isn't, whatever is there will be so good that it will make you forget that sports as you know them ever existed."

Brian, are you saying that I have to do the same with my adult sensibilities as I'm asking my 7th grade boys to be with theirs?

That's a lot to ask!

OK everyone, did Brian just speak the first and last word on Joseph's question or is there more to be said?

Joseph Holbrook said...

sexuality is basically just a pleasurable activity designed to reproduce the specicies. God in his infinite wisdom, invests it with holy meaning by making it a metaphor for spiritual and emotional intimacy with him. I am sure, being in the presence of the Lord is so far beyond the sex act, that it is unimaginable.

If one believes in intelligent design through guided evolution (as many Catholic theologians do) then copulation (apart from the devine metaphor) is simply a hold-over or remnant of our animal nature. There is certainly much animality about our lower physical drives.

I can easily see how in the new heavens and the earth, there may be no need for sexual reproduction -- and no need for a metaphor of intimacy, just as one passage indicates there is no need for the sun to provide light, since God himself will be our light.

I, for one, would not mind shedding the animal nature (the carnal nature?) and moving on to something better.

Joseph Holbrook said...

I should have added in the first paragraph above, the first line that begins with "God in his infinite wisdom ..." that he also places it within the protective boundaries of covenant (you hear me single people?").

I hasten to add to the last line of the previous post, that I seriously doubt that there is a husband (or a wife) in this forum that enjoys more delightful emotional initimacy or covental sexual satisfaction than me. Nevertheless, I am beginning to tire of earthly things ... the resurrection truely is our hope and anchor.

John M. said...

Joseph, you're sounding very Gnostic. How can our sexuality be part of our "carnal nature" (I read that "sin nature".) when God created us male and female in his image and called it "good". Our sexuality was built-in to our humanity from the beginning -- before rebellion and sin entered in.

If we want to acknowledge an "animal nature" regarding humans, then we should, imho, draw some boundaries. God called his entire creation "good", so whatever he put into us by fiat or by directed, intelligently designed, evolution, animal or whatever, is/was also good.

Secondly we need to keep in mind as a backdrop to any discussion that humans, male and female, were the only part of his creation that he gave special personal attention to, as Genesis describes, forming them with his own hands and breathing his life into them. Humankind is the only part of his creation that he describes as being "in his image". Therefore, if we are "animal" we are still set apart as having a different status from the other animals.

I think we would be leaping too far to say that human copulation is no different than that of other animals. That idea flies in the face of all God says in Genesis 1 & 2.

Regarding the boundaries of covenant that you referred to, I totally agree. But God made no protective boundaries for other animals. If our sexuality is no different than a dog or a horse, why not just copulate with whomever, whenever -- the "just love the one you're with," philosophy that boomers have made their sexual legacy to the emerging generations.

Your last line sounds contradictory to some of the conclusions we (corporately) drew in our "Hope" discussion regarding the future -- that of a new heaven and a new earth -- resurrected physical bodies present in a restored physical creation.

You sound like the old Pietists who just want to escape this sinful world and their sinful bodies to live as disembodied spirits with Jesus.

I think The Resurrection and the hope of resurrection gives us more to hope for than that.

I agree with you and Brian that the intimacy and fellowship that we will experience with him and everyone else in that perfectly restored and redeemed new creation will so far surpass the sexual act that it will pale in comparison.

But the part I was referring to in my post is the difficulty in imagining my wife being just like any other sister in Christ, instead of the exclusive, covenant relationship we now share. Can you married people project yourselves into that, or am I missing something.

Joseph, perhaps I read more into your comments than you intended. Please don't hear my post as a personal attack. But whatever you intended, I think what I said above needs to be said. I personally think that what I've said is founded on biblical teaching regardless of one's position on origins.

Joseph Holbrook said...

ok, np. i stand corrected. I didn't think about it very much, I was just talking off the cuff.

John M. said...

That's allowed! I've done that a few times myself! :)

Brian Emmet said...

Let's stickwith some questions that we may be able to answer! Not sure how much farther we can get with the "sex and heaven" discussion...

But given the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, what kinds of life applications flow from that reality. How might this sentence be completed: "Because Jesus rose from the dead, we can (or we are thereby called to) ___________." There is clearly no one right answer here; I'm looking for proposed applications, things we can/should be doing.

(If there are those out there who want to kick around whether we can actually know that Jesus rose, we can go there, too.)

John M. said...

Brian, I already gave my best shot at answering what you're asking in my "serious" post right after Billy Long's. (Not the constipation one!) Whoever is interested in my response to Brian's current question can go back and read that post. I don't have anything else to say at the moment.

Billy Long said...

By the way. I was home for a long weekend a couple weeks ago, and will go home for a long weekend this next Friday. Thank God!
The project wants to be able to get us field guys home every two weeks. Would be nice.

Re S_ _ and heaven, there are many areas where the Lord did not see a need to provide answers---at this time. It is amazing how He left so many things vague, such as all the issues churches argue about or differ on, church gov't and structure being an example. If all the answers were written, we would slack up on the relationship, which we tend to do anyway. He has made it so we will always depend on a real and living relationship with Him to make it along the path. He figured He'd help us along rather than our fastening our heart and eyes on a clear "blueprint" for everything.

John M. said...

IT'S FRIDAY, SUNDAY'S COMIN'!

John M. said...

Thanks Billy,
Good wisdom and insight as always from you.
Glad you're getting some time at home. Have wonderful weekend with your bride!
Blessings,
John

Laurel Long said...

Billy and I agree that what we are doing now, long separations without the privileges and pleasures of marriage, is preparing us to be best buds in heaven, not to mention providing for our family. This is not the way we planned it, but we are trying to follow the Lord in His travel plans for our life's journey together. Our Life in Him is more than life itself. We keep practicing for the time when we will be just "friends." In the meantime, whenever we are together, believe me we enjoy our togetherness in the most carnal and passionate way.

Billy Long said...

Thanks, John. I appreciate your kind words. I've appreciated all the guys comments.
BL

John M. said...

Here you go Brian,

"[The resurrection and the ascension of Jesus] are designed not to take us away from this earth but rather to make us agents of the transformatioin of this earth, anticipating the day when, as we are promised, 'The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the water cover the sea.'

When the risen Jesus appears to his followers at the end of Matthew's gospel, he declares that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him... And the point of the gospels -- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John together with Acts -- is that this has already begun."

N.T. Wright "Surprised By Hope", page 201

Brian Emmet said...

Happy Easter, all! "Christ is risen--he is risen indeed!" and that changes everything!

steve H said...

"God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life." (Romans 5:8-10)

"Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life." (Romans 6:4)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, ‘Be reconciled to God.’ He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21"

Jesus' death and resurrection means that he King of the Universe is not mad at us human beings. He is freely offering reconciliation to all who are estranged from him. His death and resurrection show us the lengths to which God went to make friends of his enemies.

What upset Jesus most was "religious" people who made it difficult for people to make peace with God.

He has commissioned us to be ministers of reconciliation.

John M. said...

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/april/10.37.html

The link above is to a great article in Christianity Today, "A Resurrection That Matters" by J.R. Daniel Kirk

It's provocative subtitle reads: "If we are completelhy saved from our sins through the Cross, what's the point of the empty tomb?"

Kirk says that like David was the anointed and chosen King before Saul was dead, he was not yet seated on the throne. He likens Jesus to the pre-enthroned King, and the resurrected ascended Jesus as the enthroned King of the Universe.

It's well worth a read. Here are a few excerpts:

The story of the Gospels is one in which Jesus inaugurates a new reign of God and deals a deathblow to the imposer king through his death on the cross. If the Cross is the defeat of the old king, the Resurrection is the enthronement of the new. Jesus now literally sits in the space that the Kings of Israel had fituratively occupied before him: at the right hand of God. Though the preexistent Christ has always been God's agent in the creation and rule of the world, the human Jesus is now joined to that role as Lord and king over all.

Having vanquished the Enemy, who had usurped authority over all the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5-8), Jesus reclaims for humanity its original purpose: to rule the world on God's behalf (Gen. 1:26-28). This is one reason why we find Paul referring to the resurrected Jesus as the second and last Adam. But as the last Adam, Jesus also holds humanity's destiny in his hands.

Christian hope is more than wishful thinking, because the future on which we have set our hearts has already begun with Jesus' resurrection. He is now what we shall be.

But our present life is also determined by Jesus' resurrection. When we claim that we are even now God's children, that God is growing us up into obedience, and that we are already justified, what we are saying in part is that the future laid up for us in the resurrected Christ is intruding on the present.

When we speak of Jesus' resurrection, we are not talking only about Jesus' present but also about our future and the ways that our future is breaking into the world in which we now live.

The future for which we long and hope is the moment when God recreates this world and populates it with renewed, embodied people. Resurrection tells us that a new creation is coming. The resurrection of Jesus tells us that this new creation has already begun.

...the fate of this world is not destruction but redemption... if creation is to be redeemed, then we are not free to view any of our work in this world as just a lot of brass polishing on the Titanic.

Because Jesus is the last Adam, he and those who are his siblings assume the vocation of the first Adam to rule, subdue, and fill the entire created order.

Brian Emmet said...

Thanks, Steve and John--most helpful. I saw the CT article, John... I know, only tangentially, the author, so it was fun to see his piece and say, "I know that guy!" Before long, we'll all be saying that about Joseph's articles and books!

John M. said...

I just went over to Scot McKnight's blog and he has the Kirk article posted there as well. Only four comments so far, so some of you may want to go over and say something about it. The author is participating in the dialogue, Brian.

blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed/

Hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Easter/Resurrection Day.

The weather here in central KY is as good as it gets -- green grass (sorry,it's green, not blue), trees in bloom, sunshine, high
70's and virtually no bugs or humidity -- eat your heart out Joseph!

I wish spring were year 'round! All the new life is an awesome metaphorical backdrop for celebrating resurrection life.

david said...

Christ is risen! Hope you all had a great Easter.

steve h. - i don't think that jordan bajis is a member of what would be considered a "canonical" orthodox church, but i hear that his book deals well with orthodox theology. not sure if he's the best resource for EO thought.

Joseph Holbrook said...

Speaking of the Orthodox Church, does anyone know (David, or Steve) if there existed student movements, and lay movements among the Eastern Orthodox in the 30s through the 50s? I gave my presentation on my research on Catholic student movements in Brazil on Friday. One of my friends, who is a Miami-born Cuban but does her research on the Soviet Union, saw some parallels to the social processes in the Kruschev period with what was happening with Catholic students in Brazil. Also, amidst all the French Catholic theologians and philosophers I have been reading, I have on my “to-do” pile a Russian Orthodox philosopher who resided in France, Nicolai Berdeyev.

david said...

joseph, i think there is a long history of orthodox brotherhoods in many countries that were created for a variety of causes and functions. not sure if any of these were considered "student" movements.

Joseph Holbrook said...

Thanks David, I know very little about the history of the region that has been influenced by the E.O. If I found that there were E.O. organizations focused on students after WWII, it would be make a great comparative study. If you come across any historical works that addresses this please send it along.

治士士 said...

任何事都是由一個決心,一顆種子開始。........................................

Brian Emmet said...

New post up.

Joseph Holbrook said...

by-the-way, our tongue-talking Chinese friend said "Anything is by a determination to start a seed" ... at least according to google translator. I'm guessing what he meant to say was "do whatever it takes to plant the seed"

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