The entire life of Jesus present with God’s creation led up to his sacrifice for us, not ending there at death, but rising again in resurrection. God sent him, so that his life would redeem his creation.
I think of all the times in the Old Testament that God was angry with his creation, and that anger poured out in so many terrifying ways. I don’t think we like to ponder why God’s anger poured out, because we see too many similarities with how his creation exists today.
Disease. War. Hunger. Pain. Thirst. Sex trafficking. Drugs. Death.
It’s endless, right? This world sucks.
But God tried to help us see another way.
God sent Jesus.
The baby sent to redeem creation.
The man who started his ministry by telling people not to talk about him yet, and to stop praying for show.
The man who laid a foundation of belief, healing and community before giving himself to all.
The man whose stories led back to the Kingdom of God. Every. Time.
The man who was a true rebel preaching about helping prostitutes, murders, sick, hungry and poor.
The man who built community with 12 guys who didn’t have a clue.
The man who poured out his heart in prayer for ALL OF US before he was arrested.
The man who hung on a cross while freely giving salvation to a murderer.
He was born. He lived as one of us. He died.
And then…he rose.
Life. Real life. Living in the Kingdom.
This world is not the end. This world isn’t even close to the Kingdom of God.
But it had been, until sin crept into that sacred space.
In my imagination, I see it as a big oil dump over creation. Slick, slimy, reaching into every crevice and so hard to get off. After working on getting oil off for a while, we want to give up…toss in the towel and head home where we can escape that hard, nasty, messy work.
But the oil covers our home…this world where we have the privilege to live out our earthly lives.
The oil needs to come off, and God guarantees he will restore it.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. [Revelation 21:3-6]
Collective sigh of relief? All of this is meant to only be for a time, then God makes everything new again?
Yes. Undoubtedly, yes…but…
It dishonors the creator when creation sits and waits while parts of creation are in pain.
It dishonors the man who gave his entire life when we choose to not pay attention to his teachings.
It dishonors the world that has been made slick with oil of our sin when we want to throw in the towel on restoring God’s creation simply because it is too hard.
As we lean into the beauty of Easter, we also need to lean into the sin of the world we live in…it is where Jesus lived and died. Not to make us depressed and discouraged, but to inspire and invigorate the life we have living as people called by Jesus. Jesus didn’t die so we could play it safe and wait for God to come and restore it all. Nothing about Jesus’ life and the example he lived for his disciples shows us to play it safe and wait. It calls us to be daring in how we react to the world around us. It calls us to be restorers. If the Kingdom of God is coming, doesn’t it make sense to work toward the restoration that Kingdom will bring? To set right the wrongs around us? To confess sin and find redemption? To see God’s heart, and joy in the lives that the world says don’t matter? To live a live that is honoring to resurrection?
May you find the heart of God while you seek your answer, because each one of us has a different role in working toward restoring the Kingdom of God and any voice telling you different, is not the voice of the one who created you.