*This is a slightly-altered version of an article I posted on social media this past Easter Sunday (2022).
When Jesus rose from the dead, God-in-flesh looked death and evil in the face on our behalf and said, “No!” As a result, the empty tomb marks a decisive turn for humanity. The resurrection can’t be detached from the larger story of Scripture. We have to resist the temptation to see Easter as just another mark on the calendar; indeed, Easter is the beginning of a new age altogether. As such, it’s an event that is fundamental to the story of God.
At Eden, humans travel from garden to tomb. At Easter, the Human goes from tomb to garden. The resurrection of Jesus, then, marks the beginning of the reversal of the Adam (=human) story (John 20; Rom 5).
At Easter, the Jewish story culminates. Abraham’s dead body and Sarah’s dead womb find their ultimate resurrection in Jesus, thus guaranteeing a multi-ethnic/worldwide covenant family through Israel (Rom 4; Gal 3).
At Easter, the world is given a map for its own exodus from bondage. The Spirit leads the sons and daughters of God out of death’s lordship and into the promised land of new life (Rom 6-8; 1 Cor 10).
At Easter, the temple that was destroyed is rebuilt and restored—becoming a house of prayer for all nations. The body of Christ is the new temple, a home and a people not distinguished by the world’s standards (e.g., socio-economic status, ethnicity, etc), but by grace alone (Mark 11; John 2; Rom 12; 1 Cor 3, 6; Gal 3).
The resurrection of Jesus is the fundamental axis around which the story of God turns. Jesus’s rising from the dead did not occur so that, in the end, we embodied humans can leave the earth and go to heaven when we die (Easter pushes against that sort of disembodied spiritualism). To the contrary, the resurrection is the culmination of God’s story of restoring, not destroying, the earth.
In short, Easter is a preview of when God, in the end, brings heaven to earth—when the Kingdom comes.
He is risen!