If we don’t understand Trinity, we get very confused about the basic aspects of our faith. The God-Man died as a human being. If God had died the whole universe would cease to exist, as He upholds all. Every ounce of evil in the demonic world was focused on this one man hanging on the tree. This was the chance to end Him for good and derail all of God’s plans for redemption, re-creation and reconciliation. If Jesus dies as a human being, the chink in God’s armour was not only revealed in Adam, the original imagebearer’s utter failure would now also be confirmed in Jesus, the final imagebearer’s death! To succeed over God’s plan in this one man, is to condemn the whole plan to hell. All creation, every creature, the genealogy Israel, God’s plan for every Gentile, His new creation. The inclusion of all things and the reconciliation of God to include all things in Christ. All must be put under His feet as High Priest and human being forever included and incorporated into Trinitarian fellowship. Jesus is the skeleton key to heaven and to hell, He unlocks possibilities that were only before hinted at, but now about to become a new reality. It all flies or falls with Jesus of Nazareth! Resurrection is the one thing that Christianity hinges upon, going forward and indeed rippling back through time. Without resurrection, everything we believe is a lie and a facade. Jesus would need to resurrect as He lived. Fully God and fully man, for the rest of eternity. It was the plan of God in sacrificing the lamb who was slain from before the foundations of the earth. God foresaw the necessity of Jesus becoming human in His imagebearing for God and for us. He partakes of our human life, so that we can be included in His divine life. The family of man and the family of Trinity are married together in Him. In His birth, His life, His death and in His resurrection. If we skip a step, we have nothing!
Our shared humanity with Christ is the key to everything. He did not just die in our place, He died as fully human. He also went into the abyss knowing that God would somehow by His power give Him as a human being the ability to ransack hell, arise into heaven and take His place at the right hand of the Father in the presence of the Holy Spirit to partake of Trinitarian Fellowship as the Spirit of Christ in a human body. So when Paul says everything has been put under His feet, Jesus is the name used. In Jesus we find a joining of God and imagebearer as it was always intended. God has fulfilled the part of Father and also the part of only begotten Son. He does what every faulty imagebearer could never do, as the perfect imagebearer. He is fighting for His humanity through the grave, through death, He is infected with every disease and partakes of all human suffering and will not leave to return in resurrection unless it is with His body. If He arises as the Spirit of Christ, He has lost something in the process. Jesus is fighting for all things in the process of His death, burial and resurrection and he will come out embodied, integrated and wholly human, just as He was born and died fully human. His desire is to do the same in us and in all creation. To take every imagebearer and present them before God as fully human, blameless and perfect in His sight. To do this, He must come back fully God and fully human and then ascend, forever baring the marks of His suffering as the lamb of God. He defeats sin and death, so that we can follow Him into the same incorruptible human resurrection as the firstborn of the New Creation. All things will be included in this resurrection from the dead in time.
When Jesus starts appearing to His beloved disciples, women first and then the men… He does so in a new incorruptible body. Paul speaks of this at length in 1 Corinthians 15. In every place He appears, they have found beforehand that He is missing and left a gaping hole punctured in their reality. It has left them deflated, depressed and destroyed the faith that they once had in the Messiah who had been with them for years of fellowship. Jesus’ body was somehow transformed by the power of God, yet it is the same body. He did not exchange His previous body for an upgrade, somehow, the same body is transfigured into new. This body still bears the marks of His suffering so that we realise it was a once and for all suffering. When I think of perfection though, I do not think of scar tissue. So, Jesus is fully matured and perfected through the things that He suffered. This new body can do all the things he could do before, but now has been endowed with an ability to walk through walls, appear and disappear while still eating, talking, handling things and as real as it ever was. How does this show what God will do in us, as His plan all along is to use Jesus as an image of God that we will become in our own image bearing. He is embodied and at our resurrection, we will be too. Will we have scars too, I don’t know, but we will be recognisable and the story there will be connected to the story here, yet without pain, sorrow or sin. Jesus chose and chooses to partake in our humanity not just for 33 years on, but for the rest of eternity, the change is a permanent fixture of His being. There is no going back now, He came as a missionary into our family and now has taken our humanity, language and culture, redeemed it and included it in His Trinitarian family. In the same way we might bring the best of other cultures back into our own family customs and life.
Jesus, in His person, Has brought all things together in His being. He did this as the son of Man, taking the whole of the scriptures, the law, the prophets and fulfilling them in our midst, as a human being. Perfected and sinless in His humanity, He was not just a spiritual saviour to save the spiritual aspects of creation, He was also a physical creature to save all of the physical world. He became all things to save all things. In this one man, we find all men. Just as all sinned and fell in the first Adam, so all will be made alive in the second Adam. God made it all in the beginning and is wanting to resurrect it all in the end too. So, where we see disease, we know that it will not always be with us. Where we encounter death, we also know that this is a temporary state of being. It was not there in the beginning and likewise will not be there in the end. Where we see suffering, we know too that God will wipe every tear from our eye. This is the promise of God for all things. So what of the hell we have created here, it will be removed and all who will not partake of this Trinitarian fellowship will by their own choice choose not to be included. It is God’s desire that all will come to repentance, but there will be some who refuse to be where He is and so they will receive what they wish. God’s desire is not to predetermine who will be saved but to allow us to choose if we will accept His life, accept that we will be transformed and that we will be with Him where He is, but for those who desire to be anywhere but where He is… He will honour their choice and give them every chance to choose differently. God made all things and has made ransom to get all things back into a glorious new creation, where we will be embodied and our languages, tribes and tongues and all that makes us distinctive will be included in a cultural procession of the glory of all nations submitted at God’s feet.
When Jesus appeared with His scars, it was scar tissue, there is no pain or agony in His resurrected body, however, it is important to Thomas and all of the other disciples that He is embodied and that they can touch him, put their fingers in His side and that He is still one of them. Thomas would not have believed if Jesus did not return in human form. If they could not embrace Him, break bread with Him and have communion with Him. Indeed Communion is an embodied experience. It is done with our whole bodies. It is a human table with human food to celebrate that Jesus was a human being. That His body was broken and that His blood was spilled for us. It does not get more tangible than that. So, now when we pray “in Jesus name” we are not pleading with Him or wishing that if only He understood what it was like down here, if only He could feel what we feel or know what disease does to human cells or how death wreaks havoc to white blood cells as the cancer spreads or the tumour grows. If only He could feel the after-effects of rape or the emotional scars of abuse or the way a bullet rips through tissue. Well, actually He does understand all of it! There is not a pain that He is unfamiliar with. Every gut wrenching moment of life, He has watched from the first groan of the fall up until His own death on the cross and on until this very moment. He hears, He watches, He enters in. His heart has always been for the abandoned, the broken, the voiceless and the homelesss and hopeless. He came for the sick, not the healthy, for those in prison, not the innocent. If He can save the worst of humanity, the most lost, the most antagonised, the most leprous and the forgotten and destitute, then everyone else is included in His victory anyway. There is no Imagebearer who is too far gone for God. Even the worst of genocidal dictators can be found in Christ, with their dying breath, yet they will still answer for what they have done as Imagebearers.
This is good news for all humanity, but even better news for designers, for dancers and for those of us who build things, work in construction or do town planning, plumbing or any physical labour. Even those of us who build websites, or virtual worlds. Our work matters. What is of God will last. We will find beautiful music that we have written here that will be played in heaven, there will be cultural artifacts that God will redeem from every culture on earth. Wonderful fashion, beautiful choreography in incorruptible bodies, we will sing, we will work and our work will remain. What is not of God will be removed. We will neither remember it nor feel it’s affects as we have here. Our work will matter there just as it matters here, but it will be pure delight, and an endless joy. We will learn new things and all the gaps of time and situation and circumstance here will be complete there. So, we would work hard with an expectation that our work here when done to the glory of God will appear there. Equally those who have lived here as Imagebearers in broken bodies, with bad hearing, bad eyesight or in wheelchairs will there live with incorruptible and whole bodies. We will see and hear and move with ease. Our eyes will be opened to see Heaven and earth unified once more and we will see not just some things but all things. Cherubim and seraphim and all of the angelic hosts will be with us along with many creatures familiar and unfamiliar present and accounted for.
This resurrection life is not something we are waiting for, it can be experienced here and now. We can pray for healings and like Jesus experience it here. We can discern what God would have us do, like Jesus and act in obedience as He did, all while being fully human as He was. Our lives are fuller and deeper as we embrace all of our embodied spirituality. We will engage in baptism, communion, in worship and intercession and meet as a body of faith, which also is at work in every area of life, as educators, creatives, scientists, politicians, businessmen, artists, parents and pastors. It will take all of us, all of our vocations and all of our physical and spiritual gifts expressed in the body to see every Imagebearer hear this good news of the gospel of all things and to enter into this fellowship that Jesus offers us to be with this Trinitarian God for eternity. We can come as we are, fully human and be transformed moment by moment into the likeness of His son. Aware that not all has been made right, but it will be. That not all suffering has ceased, but we are moving in that direction and that all creation will be redeemed so we can live toward that end. We live in the now-and-not-yet between the times and there is much joy to experience and also much suffering to be had in the process. The joy will win out of this we can be assured… This is abundant life, where Christ’s yolk is easy and His burden is light. We pray in His name and He understands every word as if He is one of us, because of course He is!