Just a decade ago, N. T. Wright wrote a book titled Surprised By Hope. His argument was that the Christian hope is not an escape from the world, but it is the new creation that was inaugurated by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He further states that the early Christians only hoped for the coming back of Jesus so that they may get the same glorified body he had, and then recreate the entire cosmos. Wright concludes by laying a challenge to the church to rethink what is at the center of our faith currently, and put back the hope for a new creation where it belongs – at the center. This book is worth reading, and I can promise that it will shake and challenge you.
Something is going in the world. Go to the mall and you will notice. The church service last week was a bit different from the normal one. The atmosphere is changed this week. The airports are suddenly busy. The queues at border posts are frustrating. Something is indeed going on. Yes, Easter is here. This period is a well-known one in the Christian calendar. It is one when we remember the death and resurrection of our lord Jesus Christ. When the Council of Nicaea settled these holydays, they didn’t mean that this is the precise day when Jesus died. They only meant for Christians to dedicate their focus on this important event in human history, and celebrate the salvation and hope we received.
Indeed, we received salvation from the wrath to come. Paul reminded us that “we were by nature deserving of wrath” (Ephesians2:3). Our way was a highway to destruction. Jesus came, sacrificed himself for our redemption and saved us from where we were headed. Not only that, we also received salvation to the kingdom of God. We were not saved to sit and wait for our death then go to heaven. On the contrary, we were given a mandate to join God in his redemptive work in the world. We are to announce to the world that there is a new order that has crept in, and anyone is invited to be part of this new system. We are workers with God to bring the world to its perfection when Christ returns.
This new order began, as I have alluded earlier, when Jesus left that tomb. His resurrected body is a glimpse of what is waiting for us and the entire creation. Paul says Christ “will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). This is what we look forward to as we work our way every day in what God calls us to do. The apostle further tells the Roman church that we were saved in the hope of a resurrected body (8:24). We look forward to the day when all evil and suffering will come an end by the power of Jesus. We have our eyes fixed on a new world where “righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13).
So I close by going back to N. T. Wright. Our evangelistic efforts will begin to make sense when we start to understand that we are part of a bigger thing than we can ever imagine. We invite people to be partners with God in bringing order and justice to the world. There is nothing nobler, more deserving our every ounce of energy, and our focus than joining God in his mission. So as we celebrate Easter, let us know that the glorious state Jesus has right now is what is waiting for us and the creation. Once we understand this, we will be able to start putting the central at the center.