Hope for all of creation

Easter Sunday has arrived again to remind us… if he is not raised then we are still in our sins; that God raised him from the dead by the Spirit of holiness thus declaring him to be the ‘Son of God’. Not that Jesus is alive, but that he is alive and his body has been raised.

In the Western mind Jesus is raised and raised alone but we have in a wonderful Scripture in Matthew:

Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many Matt. 27: 50-53).

It is such a strange Scripture that many commentators say it was not a literal event but is making a theological statement (possible… I do not suggest either that Jericho nor Ai as reported in Joshua was literal, but theological… historical and archaeological reasons for my perspective). However, this Scripture in Matthew I do think is literal: his reference to eyewitnesses suggest that to me. Matthew is very careful to say that they came alive (and by that I consider he means ‘bodily resurrection’) after Jesus was raised. Jesus was the firstfruits of the resurrection – everything that takes place is after his resurrection.

When he dies everything is shaken:

the Temple and creation. Has to be as creation is the Temple for God. And at his resurrection we can also add ‘time‘ because resurrection is promised to be ours, not when we die, but when he appears, yet here we have bodies raised ‘ahead of time’.

So resurrection is not a lone event. In the Eastern tradition there is a major ‘harrowing of hell’ and the icon in the Greek orthodox church is that of Jesus pulling Adam and Eve out of their graves or out of the fires of hell. That certainly takes it too far for me – hell: it is one thing to believe in hell post judgement but in the time prior to that?

Laying that ‘too far for me’ bit aside it so communicates the victory over death; the final enemy is defeated. Everything changes, the confirmation of it is the resurrection of Jesus. Is there a proclamation to the dead (1 Peter 3:19, 20)? Difficult passage to translate, hard to know what to make of it…

Yes numerous unanswered questions; but it seems so unlikely that there is no activity between cross and resurrection. The cross rips the curtain up – God cannot be found behind the curtain; it causes an earthquake; bodies of those who have passed get ready as the clock changes dramatically. The resurrection indicates he is to be found, but not among the dead; earthquakes continue not now with an eclipse of the sun but when the new day was dawning: the cross pronounced the end of an era, the resurrection the beginning of a new one; time changes and I guess something is released through those who have gone before and never seen the fulfilment of their hopes. Nothing is lost. That is the resurrection hope and assurance.