“As the sun, by rising out of darkness and from under the earth, raises the whole world with him, raises mankind out of their beds, and by his light, as it were, renews all things and fetches them up out of darkness, so Christ, rising from the grave and from a state of death, he, as the first begotten from the dead, raises all his church with him, Christ the first fruits and afterwards they that are Christ’s at his coming. And as all the world is enlightened and brought out of darkness by the rising of the sun, so by Christ’s rising we are begotten again to a lively hope, and all our happiness and life and light and glory and the restitution of all things is from Christ rising from the dead, and is by his resurrection.”
This week we meditated upon the account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead in Mark 16. As I said last week, 6 of Mark’s 16 chapters are devoted to the last week of Jesus’ life, and primarily his journey to death. But what would we be if Christ had only died! How would our lives be different? We would be hopeless, nomadic, without purpose. Conversely, if the resurrection is true, it must profoundly shape our lives. It can’t be just another passive example that we should follow. It changes everything, and Jonathan Edwards captures the great power of the resurrection perfectly.
We Americans are scared of death. We love the lives, comforts, and systems of happiness that we’ve created for ourselves so much, that death often feels like an exodus from “the good place” to “the boring place.” Its not like we think hell would be better, its just that, “why die when you could stay here and enjoy the pleasures of this world?” But Edwards paints us quite a different picture. Jesus resurrection has started something mysterious but powerful in this world. He is “fetching” everything from the clutches of sin and brokenness, turning everything that appears to be in decay and decline into beauty. Renewing not just our souls, but also our trees, workplaces, social systems, schools, relationships, and chores. We are heading toward a heaven that is not just clouds and harps and angel choirs, we are moving toward a new Marion County. Jesus, by the power of his resurrection, is ushering in shalom to this very place. Lewis reminds us in the Last Battle that we will find the same old Marion County when we arrive in the new heavens and the new earth, only it will be new in some way. The grass will be more substantial. The environment will be more true. In every way, heaven will be more real than earth, not more nebulous and fake. It will be the earth we’ve always longed for in our hearts. As Edwards puts it, the light of the power of Jesus will come to bear upon the darkness of this world, and it will be made new.
What part of your life do you need to give over to this renewing power?