Life after Resurrection…What are God’s purposes for a people and a world?
– by Tom Sine – So what does it mean for you to follow the Jesus after the resurrection? My Australian friends ask the same question in a very fresh way. “What is God on about?” Translation….what are God’s purposes for a people and a world?
As a young convert I was nurtured in a faith that had a very limited answer to this question. I was taught that God’s purposes were to rescue our disembodied souls for a non-material existence in the clouds. Those of us nurtured in this kind of faith often wound up with a very limited view of God’s mission purposes to simply trying to get a few more souls in life boat to join us in the clouds too.
In later years I have spent a lot of time reading Jesus’ favorite prophet…Isaiah and I have received a very different answer to that question. The imagery in Isaiah doesn’t picture us coming home to the clouds but rather coming home to a new heaven and a new earth. Isaiah 65:17-19
In the imagery of the prophet the scene shifts from a new earth to coming home to a new mountain and a new city. We see people from all over the world climbing that mountain together. Isaiah 2:1-4. As people start up that mountain something surprising happens. The mountain blossoms, the blind see and the lame run up that mountain. Isaiah 35:1-7.
When we arrive at the top of that mountain and to a city made new we come to an amazing homecoming celebration and a family re-union all with the best of food and the finest of wine. God is in the midst of that celebration making us whole in every part of our being. Isaiah 25:6-9.
What are God’s purposes for a people and a world? Isaiah paints a picture of return…coming home to a new heaven and a new earth, a new mountain and a new earth. We will come home to a future in which healing finally comes to the broken, justice to the poor, peace to the nations and God’s good creation will be restored. We will sit down with our loved ones for a feast we will never forget.
I am convinced that the scripture teach that we will come home not as disembodied souls but rather as a great bodily resurrected multicultural community of the people of God. What is God on about? What are God’s purposes for a people and a world. NT Wright in Surprised by Hope, states “That salvation, then, is not “going to heaven” but being raised to life in God’s new heaven and new earth.” P. 198
In light of this imagery God’s purposes isn’t our mission not only about enabling people to embrace a personal faith. Isn’t it also about giving our lives and congregations to bringing healing to the broken, justice for the poor, working for reconciliation and caring for God’s good creation now…Looking forward to that day when all things will be made new in the risen Christ?
In light of Christ’s resurrection what do you believe scripture teaches are God’s purposes for a people and a world? Write me today and share your insights.