Is Easter only something we look back at with gratitude? Does God care about injustice in the world, the pain and suffering we experience, or is He only interested in 'saving our souls'? Should we just hope to "fly away" in glory and escape the wreckage of the cosmos, or does God mean to rescue the whole universe, His good creation? Here is the audio (in dark gray below) and a rough sketch of my outline of a 20-minute talk I gave on Easter Sunday Night on what Easter means for God's defeat of evil and the future of the cosmos:
The preaching of the early apostles was all about the resurrection
Acts 4:33 (NIV)
“With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.”
Why? Is Easter something we only look back at with gratitude?
1 Cor. 15:12-19 (NIV)
“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
The Resurrection of Jesus Means Evil’s Defeat Has Begun
Col. 2:15 (ESV)
“He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”
1 Cor. 15:20-25 (NIV)
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.”
The Resurrection of Jesus Means New Creation Has Begun
Rom. 8:18-25 (NIV)
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
The resurrection of Jesus makes us look back to the initial triumph over evil and how we have been made alive to God.
The resurrection of Jesus makes us look ahead to the final destruction of evil and the re-creation of all things.
That is our hope! It means that even on the worst day here we can say:
I know my Redeemer lives
And because He lives I know
What’s coming is better that what is!