Day 18: Jesus is Risen
Jesús ha Resucitado (Spanish)
For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. – 1 Corinthians 15:16-20
A friend often reminds me, “Things look the way they do because you see them from where you are.” Very true! We simply need to climb a mountain or a hill to experience the reality that our vantage point impacts how we perceive our landscape.
Similarly, context shapes how we see and experience Advent. A fuller context allows us to approach the coming of Jesus from a holistic perspective. Let’s reflect on this a bit. Of course, we know Advent includes Jesus’ birth, but it also connects to the other foundational events of His existence. Understanding this helps us rethink and then live Advent in light of the resurrected Jesus. May the God of life and resurrection guide and enlighten us as we reflect! Amen.
Advent and Jesus’ Existence in Perspective
Advent is a time of active waiting that prepares us for the birth of Jesus. Yet the nativity itself does not represent the full purpose of His existence. It connects us with Jesus’ earthly life, and His earthly life connects us with His death. And that death goes further to connect us with His resurrection. Yet, even His resurrection does not define the purpose of His existence, but it connects us to His ascension and reception in heaven. Likewise, His ascension and reception in heaven do not exhaust His divine purpose, but they connect us with His second coming. And even the wonder of His second coming does not exhaust the purpose of His existence, but rather connects us with the reordering of everything created for the purpose of giving it over to the Father.
In this Advent season, we await the coming of this multifaceted Jesus with freshly renewed interest—a Jesus whose greatness increases in dimension and expands as we perceive the unfolding of the whole panoramic tapestry of why He comes to visit.
Advent and the Resurrection of Jesus in Perspective
Advent is a time of hope-filled expectation focused on the person of Jesus being born. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is like His second birth—His emergence into a transformational new reality for Him, His disciples, and everyone. This was crystal clear to the apostle Paul for whom Jesus’ resurrection is the solid foundation of our faith.
Look again at Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 15:16-20. Using images of “first fruits” and “a great harvest,” the apostle feeds our understanding that the resurrection of Jesus is the demonstration (first fruit) of the victory of the God of life and of resurrection over death itself, followed by a long procession of successive resurrections (the great harvest). It is our victorious cry of liberation from sin, the certainty of salvation, and the hope of eternal life.
Advent in Light of Our Current Perspective
How can we articulate and observe an Advent that takes into account the vast purposes of Jesus’ incarnate existence and the wonder of His resurrection?
In this Advent we are passing through, in days filled with uncertainty, we remember the humble birth of Jesus even as we wait in hope for the coming of the All-Worthy One who will shine in global dimensions, dressed in the robes of His full magnitude. We long for the complete Jesus, the multi-coloured, grace-tapestry we so desperately need to see, who will bring about the fullness of His good purposes for His creation.
Ours is also a time for focus on and renewed hope in the risen Jesus, who speaks to the very core of this current Covid-19 pandemic, bringing light into the isolation, death, loneliness, and uncertainty. How grateful we are for a compassionate Saviour who enters in, who draws near, and whose strength enables us to press on with hope.
Rethinking Advent and experiencing it on a new “mountain” with a fresh perspective transports us into the certainty that neither death, nor fear, nor illness, nor loneliness, nor infection, nor suffering will have the last word. The last word belongs to the risen and reigning Jesus. It is this Jesus who visits us by His Spirit in this time of Advent waiting. My whole being and yours, along with our brothers and sisters who have already experienced death, all eagerly await to hear the sound of His voice.
Wilfredo Weigandt lives in Córdoba, Argentina, and is the regional coordinator for Langham Preaching in Latin America’s Southern Cone.