Showing posts from October, 2008

Jesus' presence and absence

Scripture tells us that Jesus remains fully human, now glorified ( 1Tim. 2:5 ). In his continuing incarnation, he is now  present  bodily with the Father in the "heavenly realms" ( Eph. 1:20 ). He has gone there to "prepare" for us a "place" ( John 14:2 ) in a "new heaven and new earth" ( Rev. 21:1 ), which he will unveil in its full glory at his parousia at the end of the age. Jesus' presence in heaven in glorified, human/bodily form continues. That presence necessarily points to a corresponding absence : In his glorified humanity, Jesus is absent bodily from earth ( Acts 1:9-11 ). This truth informs our understanding of at least five issues: The nature of Jesus' bodily ascension (which points forward to our own) The nature of Jesus' continuing heavenly ministry (session) as the one mediator, who, in himself, reconciles God and man The nature of Jesus' promised bodily parousia (revealing) at the end of the age T

Behold the Man!

At left is Antonio Ciseri's painting, Ecce Homo (Behold the Man). That exclamation from the mouth of Pilate (see John 19:5, NAS) has (through Jesus' crucifixion, resurrection, ascension , and sending of his Spirit) been transformed into the church's pronouncement of the gospel of grace to all people in all times (including times of trauma like our current financial crisis). This gospel is the truth that God has included all humanity in his triune love and life: In union with God, in Jesus, through the Spirit, our lives (including our sin and suffering), are redeemed.  Behold the Man!  The redemptive, healing presence of Jesus at work through the Spirit in our world is making all things new. As noted by Douglas Farrow in "Ascension & Ecclesia " (T & T Clark, 1999), Jesus is the "priest-king of creation, re-ordering the fundamental structures of created life around himself, making it presentable to God in and with himself" (p. 280).