Living in Easter time

As we near our annual celebration of Easter, it's good to remember that Jesus' resurrection is not only a past event, but a continuing reality.

On Easter Sunday morning, nearly 2,000 years ago, the God-man Jesus rose from death to newness of life. He was not merely revived (as, for example, was his friend Lazarus), but through resurrection became something entirely new--glorified humanity, not subject to death.

Lazarus' grieving sisters asked Jesus to revive their dead brother. He replied, "Your brother will rise again" (John 11:23). They thought he was referring to the promised resurrection of the dead at the end of the age. But Jesus' enigmatic, rather shocking statement was this: "I am the resurrection and the life" (v25a).

Jesus' own resurrection to permanent, enduring, glorified human life, created a new reality for all humanity. He is the resurrection and the life (the resurrection life) for all people. And Jesus said to the sisters that this stunning reality may be experienced by "anyone who believes in me" (v25b). Even if that believer should die (in their non-glorified flesh), they still will be alive in accordance with the glorified humanity that Jesus shares with them. He is their resurrection life--a life not subject to the death experienced in our non-glorified humanity (v26).

Of course, Jesus was speaking to Mary and Martha prior to the event of his death and resurrection, which brought about the new reality to which he was speaking. Thus when Jesus brought Lazarus back to life, that event was a resuscitation, not a resurrection. At that time, Lazarus was restored to non-glorified life, and thus died again at some future date.

But with Jesus' death and resurrection, a new reality was forged for all humanity (Lazarus included). Now, in Jesus, our humanity is glorified--transformed; re-created. And that glorified human life is experienced by all who believe in Jesus--who trust him to be who he says he is: the resurrection and the life.

Yes, Easter celebrates an ancient event. But it also celebrates a present, continuing reality for all people. Easter tells us that Jesus is alive! It tells us that the glorified, incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ, is a living person! It reminds us that the incarnation continues forever. There never will be a time when Jesus ceases to be the union of God and humanity in one person (two natures; one person). Therefore, in Jesus (in his humanity, which he bears for us), humankind is glorified forever!

In the historic tradition of the church, Easter is a 50-day-long celebration called Eastertide. This is a reminder to us that Easter is about an enduring life--the life of Jesus, which, through the Spirit, is being shared with us. So, this Easter, let's remember that we are now living in Easter time!--the time on this side of the empty tomb.

Something quite amazing happened when Jesus rose from the grave. Not only did he personally rise to new, glorified, life; but, in him, so did all humanity. As Paul points out in his letters, when Jesus died, we all died; when he rose, we all rose; when he ascended, we all ascended (see Romans 6:1-9; 1Cor 15:20-26; Col 2:20; 3:1-4).

A new humanity was created through Jesus' vicarious death, resurrection and ascension. And that being so, the invitation may now go out to all to believe! Through believing, what is true already for them in Christ, will be personally experienced--and that experience transforms the believer as they, through the Spirit, become who they truly are, in Christ.

I pray that during this upcoming Eastertide, you come to an even deeper, richer experience of your true life in Christ, and that you will have opportunity to invite others to believe.