The Beginning of the End

Like millions of other law-abiding, God-fearing, science-trusting American citizens, I recently got in line for a Covid shot.  A mass-vaccination event provides good opportunity for people-watching, so I tried to pay attention.  I saw smiles in every direction.  “This is the beginning of the end,” the hopeful crowd seemed to say. Everyone was energized by the thought that life might soon be free of restrictions and limits.

The Easter message comes to us in much the same way, but on grander scale.  The first Christians believed that Easter marked the beginning of God’s glorious end.  In raising Christ from the dead, the Lord brought a hope-filled future into a constrained and anxious present.  Before Jesus, faithful people believed that the world would be righted only at the close of time.  But Christians became convinced that the end had come already in the form of a new beginning, because a grave had not held or hindered their Master.

The Resurrection of Jesus is a cosmic “fast-forward” inviting us to live now the life that is yet to come.  The empty tomb announces that eternal life has arrived ahead of schedule, sooner rather than later.  God’s Kingdom has burst into view and neither death’s power nor evil’s pretension will be able to defeat it.

Our Easter hope lives between the “already” of Christ’s Resurrection and the “not yet” of history’s consummation.   Post-Easter, it remains true that “we do not yet see everything in subjection to Christ” (Hebrews 2:8).  But creation’s destiny has been revealed here and now.  Everything points toward Jesus. That is why the faith of the church endures.

“Dear friends, now we are the children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:2).

Thanks be to God.

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