Resurrection and Enthronement

It’s Easter.

For Christians, it’s always Easter, of course, even when we play the Lent game and embrace the cross for forty days per year.

This matters. I’m not just being a curmudgeon. If there’s one thing that matters for Christianity, it’s that it’s Easter. Jesus has been raised from the dead.

As the annual celebration is still coursing through my veins, so too are the debates about early Christology that I dove into last week. Those debates often swirl around how the disciples’ understanding of Jesus was transformed with their conviction that Jesus was raised from the dead.

And in the conjunction of church calendar and internet wrangling, I wonder if we’ve yet managed to dial in to the significance of this singular, Christianity-defining event?

Resurrection changes everything.

(Except, of course, when it doesn’t. More on that tomorrow.)

Let me start with how it changes everything for Jesus, and then I’ll come back next time with how it changes things for the people who want to follow him.

The most important words of the so-called great commission are these: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”Resurrection icon2

Here, the resurrected Jesus stakes claim to something that was not fully his before. By a gift of God, at the resurrection, Jesus has become Lord over all things.

This same idea is couched the language of “Messiah” and “Lord” in Peter’s sermon on Pentecost: “God has made him Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.” In that speech, Jesus’ resurrection is the moment when he takes his seat at God’s right hand, in fulfillment of God’s promise to David.

Paul says the same thing, using the royal “son of God” language in Rom 1:4: Jesus was appointed son of God, with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.

The most important thing for us to keep our heads around as we talk about the resurrection of Jesus is that the resurrection is only significant if it is a true transformation of the human Jesus from once-dead to now-raised.

With this resurrection of the man from the clutches of death, the new creation begins to dawn.

And with the dawn of new creation comes a new image-bearing Son of God, recreated to rule the world on God’s behalf.

Resurrection means that a body has been given new life. But the connotations it bears stretch beyond the nature of the body to a particular role.

That role is the recreation of the first humans’ role, the fulfillment of the promise to David.

Now, the Human One is enthroned at God’s right hand.

This is why the most basic, and important, thing that Christians say together, the singular thing that we say in response to the resurrection, is “Jesus is Lord.”

9 thoughts on “Resurrection and Enthronement”

  1. Remember that the church the calendar has 50 days of Easter to Lent’s 40. Admittedly, the season of Easter is usually emphasized less than Lent. But conceptually, Easter’s importance is built into the framework. It

  2. I’ve found Easter a particularly interesting experience since my diagnosis of terminal cancer. now I really get to see how much I trust God not only in life but also in death. I have found it interesting to note that even in suffering and death Jesus has gone before me. And there’s all sorts of new overtones to my ear now when Jesus from the cross makes arrangements for the care of his mother. I may not see another Easter but it is reassuring to know that Easter is always there, Jesus is always alive and hopefully he will take care of my parents when I am gone!

    1. The clash between the life-promise of Easter and the present reality of death creates massive dissonance in the Story. I’m sorry that you are living in the middle of it, and also thankful that you’re able to find hope in the midst of it.

    2. Hello Elizabeth,

      I came to this blog because I have read Daniel Kirk’s book “Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul?” THREE times and I don’t get enough of it. Now I believe that the Lord brought me here to read your message. He has special ways of bringing His children together. I would love to hear from you.

  3. I have to admit that in the midst of celebrating Jesus’ inauguration of the new creation, I have been wrestling with the overlap between the new and the old that the rest of us are still stuck in. I want to say, “Yes! It is finished!” But alas, the battle isn’t over yet. I agree that His resurrection changes everything, but so much of that change is yet to happen. Our lives are still subject to the order of the old creation, even while our hope is in the fact that Jesus sits enthroned above the heavens, intervening to bring about the new. He ultimately rules over both, but it feels as if we are currently subject to two different systems at the same time, never really knowing which will prevail in any given situation. We know how the story will end, with death finally swallowed up in victory, but navigating the story now is not so straightforward.

    1. You write, “navigating the story now is not so straightforward.” All I can say is, “No doubt!” I wish that the power of the resurrection made itself known to our eyes, and that it weren’t still an age of finding resurrection life along the way of the cross. But alas…

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