7 April 2021

We have just observed Easter and pondered on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

We need to recognise that the significance of the resurrection of Jesus’ life and ministry is in fact the glory of God and our future in glory: not just forgiven, not just raised to eternal life – we are also forgiven and raised for glory, for the delight of God and for communion with God. We anticipate a new heaven and a new earth in which the whole of human history is gathered up by Jesus and in Jesus Christ through the will and power of God to make all things new (Eph. 1:9-10; Rev, 21:5),

Note the prayer of the Lord Jesus in John 17:24:

“Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me and where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world”.
Pause and ponder: the boundless majesty of the glory of the great consummation is beyond our capacity to imagine – the New Testament refers to a state of blessedness into which believers are to enter here and through being brought into the likeness of Jesus Christ, but it also refers to sharing the glory which belongs to Jesus which He shares in communion with the Father and the Holy Spirit – there is both a present and future reality for the believers when they are in union with Jesus Christ (1 Peter 5:1; Romans 8:18).

Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is that those who belong to Him may be with Him when He puts on again the glory that was His before the foundation of the world and that they may see this same glory in all its splendour and majesty. The disciples had a glimpse of HIs glory on the Mount of Transfiguration but this is just a glimpse and not the full manifestation of His glory.

There is a glory, however, beyond that seen by Peter, James, and John, the glory that God the Son had with HIs Father before the foundation of the world. Christ’s prayer was that HIs disciples and all His own, down through the ages, might see that glory. It is a glory that dims the lightning, a brightness beyond the brightness of the noon-day sun, a glory that dazzles even the eyes of the angels themselves and they have to cover their eyes as they cried His holiness. Lo and behold, this is the glory that one day we will see and this is the glory that we will share. As the Lord Jesus is one in communion with the Father and the Spirit in the holy Trinity, so we in Him share in that glory which is His. In and through our union with Jesus Christ, we are eternally marked as children of our heavenly Father, to share Christ’s life and love in the communion of the holy Trinity!

All the illnesses, persecution, violence, injustice are not the final acts that determine the fate of God’s people – the last words will be “Welcome home and enter into your rest and glory.” As believers, we must persevere with the hope given by God to all who are His – the hope must keep on burning and it ought to be brighter and brighter until we embrace the welcome into God’s house. This hope comes with the resurrection of Jesus’ life and ministry.

The ground of Christian hope lies in who was resurrected, for as truly God, Jesus our brother took our deadliness into the life of God, and in His resurrection brought new life out of that deadliness and gave it a future. Resurrection is not just something that happened to Jesus but something that, through our union with Christ, will also happen to us. Sharing in His life is to share in the promise of that life and the future that it entails. Resurrection then must be thought of not just as a doctrine of faith to be believed, but also as a personal apprehension of trust in the promise of God given to us in the life of the resurrected Jesus. Hope means life lived in the horizon of expectation of our future with Jesus. This ground of hope ought to be proclaimed and celebrated – it is the comfort in all our strife and endurance as we seek to be holy and faithful to God; it is that which gives joy, even in the midst of suffering, for indeed, joy is not the absence of suffering but the presence of God and His assurance and promises. Hope in HIm would not disappoint, for the life of Jesus and the future and glory of our Lord Jesus are also ours in our union with Him!