Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sun. Apr. 15, 2012 (Carl Friesen)

Carl Friesen, on a recent trip to Israel/Palestine, was confronted with a gross oversimplification of the gospel: “Jesus substitutionary death on the cross brings salvation to lost souls so that all those who believe can enjoy eternity in heaven when they die.” Carl asks, if this is all there is to the Christian story, what is the significance of Easter Sunday? Why didn’t the story finish on Good Friday with the cross? Carl notes some insist it merely foreshadows a future resurrection for us. Carl notes that view is not supported anywhere by Scripture, and took us through various passages in the gospels and Paul’s letters to show that Resurrection Sunday proved once and for all that this Messiah (as opposed to all the other pretend messiahs who came before) really was not only the king of all creation, but that his new creation had already begun with the Easter Sunday event. Parallelling John’s gospel of the account of creation “In the beginning was the Word...”, John brings forth image after image to demonstrate Christ’s resurrection as the new creation - both occurred on the first day of the week, both brought new life out of water, both brought forth healing - from raising Moses’ serpent and from the ascended man. Carl points out that Paul extends this theology in 1 Corinthians and Romans by insisting that the new life called forth in Christ’s resurrection is also called forth in the world around us right now - the whole world has a chance for new life, and we, as Christ’s agents in the world now must bring it about. This call given to all Christians is not merely to endure this life in the hope of a better one after death, but to work hard to bring about the harvest of this new creation, so that the last image John leaves us with - a new heaven and a new earth coming together in heavenly union under Christ the king. [AP]

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