Free Thine Own in Glorious Liberty

“In fact Christ has been raised from the dead” (1 Cor. 15:20a).

The lesson from the 65th chapter of Isaiah begins, “I am about to create new heavens and a new earth.” In this all-encompassing affirmation can be found all the ramifications of the resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus’ resurrection was most definitely not for him alone, nor solely for his bereaved followers, nor just for his generation, nor even for all of humanity. The resurrection of Jesus is the hub, the heart, of the new destiny of the fallen cosmos.

The ninth century hymn that begins, “Creator of the stars of night” puts it this way: “To thee the travail deep was known that made the whole creation groan till thou, Redeemer, shouldest free thine own in glorious liberty. ”

The same hymn presents a picture of “the old world” drawing on toward night in the age when Jesus entered that world. One has a picture of a ravaged, spoiled world, cratered, twisted, and deformed not only by the abundance of individual sins but by an entire landscape of rebellion against God that caused the defiant world to careen toward ultimate and utter ruin. And indeed that world “did its worst” to its Redeemer, applying its most powerful weapon against him — torturous death, the trademark attribute of a corrupt race. And it wasn’t enough. Jesus’ resurrection is the all-effective counter to a world infused with horror and death.

The same hymn pleads, “Redeem us for eternal day.” The gospel proclaims that the plea has been answered. Isaiah’s prophecy, “I am about to create new heavens and a new earth” is furthered and confirmed by the description in Rev. 21:1, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth,” which culminates in Jesus’ statement, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5).

The completely fitting and proper response to the risen Jesus is provided by Mary Magdalene, the first person to see him newly risen from the tomb, when she cries out in intimate recognition and adoration. “Rabbouni! ” (John 20:16). The word contains the entire gospel in one word, for it means, “My master!” The one from whose lips and heart it bursts discerns and proclaims in heartfelt love that she sees the One who is the source of unbounded, uncontainable life, love, and joy and who is the ground of all sure hope: the Redeemer and Renewer of all that had been eternally and irreversibly stained with death and despair, but which has now been made new.

Look It Up

What had Mary Magdalene’s life been like before she met Jesus? See Luke 8:2

Think About It

What signs can you see in the natural world and in ordinary, daily human commerce that point to the resurrection?

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