Categories: Easter (Passion Week), Expressing God, God's Provision
I love Easter. We get to celebrate the Resurrection. And isn’t it a joyous event to celebrate! Jesus is raised from the dead. No cross, no nails, no sword, no hatred of the Christ, no vicious plans could keep the Christ from being present with us then and now. The love that Jesus expressed still fills our hearts and guides our lives. It even redeems us.
A connection between Jesus’ resurrection and the concept of redemption from the Old Testament became more vibrant after I interviewed Christi Lupher (whose interview will be on BW and who has shared a healing). As Christi became a mom, she decided to read the Bible from cover to cover in two different translations. What she learned was priceless for her. I’d like to share what she said about redemption:
What I read in my 12 years of studying the Bible from the first to last page forced me to think about the meaning of different practices or what they represent. I loved learning about redemption. I began to realize that it’s all linked to the Promised Land God gave the children of Israel. The Promised Land was split up for each of the twelve tribes, and each family got their own chunk. They could sell that chunk of land, but it would always come back to the family because God had given it to them. And it came back to the original owner every fifty years, in the year of Jubilee. Any slave was also set free. So they weren’t really selling the land; they were just leasing it until the next Jubilee.
The concepts I found so powerful there were that what God gives us is fundamentally ours, and that we are fundamentally God’s. Nothing that God gives us can truly be lost. And we can never be truly lost to God. God redeems His people: “For the Lord’s portion is his people … the lot of his inheritance” (Deut 32:9). An Israelite couldn’t lose the land even if he sold it; it was inherently his. So regarding God redeeming His people—no matter how much of a sinner you think you are, no matter how many mistakes you’ve made, the year of Jubilee will come. You can’t be lost. God is redeeming you. And it’s not like God is choosing to redeem you or choosing not to redeem you. Redeeming you is built in. It’s not like God could or would let you go. You’re God’s. There’s no choice in this. You will be redeemed. It’s a really powerful concept.
Redemption means “to buy, to get or win back; to free from what distresses or harms; to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental; to free from the consequences of sin; to change for the better; repair, restore” (Merriam-Webster).
Isn’t that what happened to Jesus? Though he was without sin and didn’t need redemption from sin, he was redeemed from death and freed from the detrimental effects of others’ hatred. Death didn’t get the victory. God brought Jesus back from the grave. It just didn’t take fifty years. Around three days was enough. Maybe the tomb was a quiet place for Jesus to pray and think, to spiritualize even more his concept of life, to resurrect his thought above the grave, to be baptized by the Holy Spirit, and to prepare for his ascension. And didn’t his life’s work help us to understand that we, too, are redeemed? That we, too, can be repaired and restored—transformed?
Jesus was certainly repaired and restored and transformed to such an extent that his closest friends didn’t recognize him. He must have just shone with the light of Love. The bad effects of death were certainly offset when he walked out of the tomb, maybe even before the stone was rolled away. Sure, the nail prints were still there, and the sword wound, but that was for his friends so they could make sure it was he. And it was. God saved him, resurrected him.
And God saves us, each one of us. God redeems us, restores us. And God has given each one of us the metaphorical Promised Land—representing home and the kingdom of heaven. Jesus came to tell us: “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20, 21).
It is always ours. It’s always with us. We can’t lose it if we try. We may try to give it away; we may forget it’s there; but the Promised Land, the Kingdom of God, of Heaven, of harmony, is always within us. And I think knowing that helped lift Jesus out of the tomb, for the kingdom of heaven can’t be contained inside a tomb! The kingdom of heaven is infinite. And we are God’s inheritance. God has claimed us for Himself. What a cause for rejoicing!