As I look ahead to my sermon text for Sunday (Acts 1:1-14), I’m reminded of the need to not rush past Easter.
Our tradition has never focused much on the liturgical calendar, but we are in the season of Easter. That’s correct, Easter is a season. We live in light of the resurrection. The tomb is still empty, and this time of year teaches us to live in light of the resurrection.
This was a challenge to the apostles in the days following the resurrection. We know this by looking at the questions they ask the risen Jesus.
Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”Acts 1:6 NIV
Restoration is a beautiful idea, but the resurrection isn’t about restoration. It’s about transformation. The apostles were hoping for a restoration of an old system, but Jesus was focused on a transformation of his followers on the resurrection side of the cross. Rather than living in the shadow of the grave, we live in the light of the resurrection!
Restoration is about preserving the old. Resurrection is about being transformed into something new.
So how do we live in a season of resurrection? Perhaps we begin living as the new creation that God intends us to be in Christ. Paul summarizes our mission this way.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NIV
“…we might become the righteousness of God.” Notice the transformation language? God doesn’t want to restore the old, he wants us to become a new creation.
As ambassadors of Christ we call people forward into the new, but we ourselves must first be living as new creatures. We don’t live in the past, we don’t operate in our old thinking, we don’t stay stuck in the pain and shame of past wrongs. We are made new, and we walk forward in that newness of life.
This week I encourage you to live in light of the resurrection. Leave your past in the past, and move forward as a new creation, transformed by the hope of the empty tomb. He is risen! And that truth is what makes new creation possible in our lives.