A passage in Job says humans are born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. Poke a fire and see which way the sparks fly. As sure as they fly upward we’re in for trouble. In a sinful world not only is sin inevitable, trouble is inevitable also. And for multiplied millions the changeless trudge toward the grave is the source of despair. It isn’t a tough day here and there that kills the fire in their hearts or eyes; it’s the same damned sameness, the same grind and slog, day after day.
And when we’re reminded by believers that Jesus Christ is Lord, aren’t there some among us, some who haven’t yet found their way to faith, who can’t help but be astonished? Jesus is Lord? But what of the cruelty and wickedness in the world? What of the stupidity and corruption that’s rife in the political realm? What of the same inane policies and the same round of futile programs that does nothing but establish the status quo? Can these who are hungry for the light–or at least who wish they could believe there is light–can they believe that the world has changed hands and that Jesus is Lord when they see no discernible difference in the world?
There is the real scandal of the Christian faith. It’s the claim that Jesus is Lord because he has overcome the principalities and powers (Colossians 2:15 ). It’s the claim that Jesus is Lord and so a new creation has begun. New creation? New creation, you say? Well, where in creation is it? With Roman garrisons scattered all over Palestine, with hated Idumean lords on thrones and detestable Roman governors calling the shots, Jews in their thousands were looking for a sign that God was faithful and that he was able. “Give us a sign,” they said to John and then to Jesus. “Give us a sign that all this is going to change and that for us a new world will begin. Show us proof that things are about to be different; that these foreigners will be driven off and we’ll be free and blessed.”
And when they asked this of Paul he pointed to the Christ of the cross (and the consequent resurrection). “There,” he said, “is the wisdom and power of God. In him, in that one with the blood running from his wounds, yes, the one dragging his cross. There is the beginning of a new creation. In him all things are made new. In him the status quo is damned and doomed.” And when he said things like that Jews and Greeks looked at each other. The one group raged and the other jeered. And didn’t they have reason to rage and jeer?
In the Gibson movie The Passion, the Messiah has fallen under the weight of the cross. The beating, the loss of blood, the burden, the rough road and the breaking heart are all taking their toll. Down he goes. A woman kneels beside him and when the exhausted Christ looks up he sees it is Mary who has come to help him. “Look, mother,” he says, “I’m making everything new.” A marvellous insight and use of scripture. In this whole killing sequence, no, more than that, through this whole killing sequence he who sat on the throne (Revelation 21:5) said, “Idou kaina poio panta.” “I am making everything new.” The New Jerusalem Bible almost certainly correct in taking “all things” to mean the creation renders it, “Look, I am making the whole of creation new.”
It wasn’t that God said he would make everything new after the killing. We were murdering the Messiah and in and through our supreme act of sin God was delivering up his Son. And it was by doing this that he was making everything new. Jesus Christ in choosing to offer himself in this way was in that very process making the whole creation new! In his holy and sacrificial dying, Jesus turned the creation right side up. As the “last Adam” and the “second man”, he saw creation as it was meant to be and God made him Lord of it (1 Corinthians 15:45 , 47, Philippians 2:5-11).
Here’s a mystery. In and through all the suffering and judgement that meets our eyes, the cross of Christ says, God is making everything new. Here’s assurance. “Take a good long look, I am making everything new.”
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.