Take It With You 01.09.2022

“Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here”

Certain modern writers of history have fallen into a habit of thinking of Christianity as one in a long line of religions, each ultimately doing the same thing: looking for God. What they fail to realize is how radically different Christianity is from how ancient people looked for God a little over 2000 years ago. On one side of the world were the Eastern mysteries, with their emphasis on the unreachability of God and his total transcendence, leaving people constantly striving for something they could never hope to obtain. Then there were the Western religions, the great Romans and Greeks who, rather than believing Man was made in the image of God, made gods in the image of Man. The religions of these peoples had them look for God everywhere: in their homes, on a mountain, inside themselves. But one group was different. They had a different way of looking for God, one given to them by God Himself. The Jews knew more about God than any of the ancient Easterners or Romans or Greeks, but they were still a ways off, for no one had “seen God at any time”, as John says.

Then, a man named Jesus comes from Nazareth. Many expected Him to be a revolutionary, to lead the Jewish people in a kind of war. Surprising to all His followers, He was crucified. But on that day there was a revolution, and the world would never be the same. It is so great a reality that I am at a loss of words to describe it, so I must refer to what C.S Lewis’ greatest influence, GK Chesterton, had to say on the matter:

“It was well that the tomb should be sealed with all the secrecy of ancient eastern sepulture and guarded by the authority of the Caesars. For in that second cavern the whole of that great and glorious humanity which we call antiquity was gathered up and covered over; and in that place it was buried. It was the end of a very great thing called human history; the history that was merely human. The mythologies and the philosophies were buried there, the gods and the heroes and the sages. In the great Roman phrase, they had lived. But as they could only live, so they could only die; and they were dead. On the third day the friends of Christ coming at daybreak to the place found the grave empty and the stone rolled away. In varying ways they realised the new wonder; but even they hardly realised that the world had died in the night. What they were looking at was the first day of a new creation, with a new heaven and a new earth; and in a semblance of the gardener God walked again in the garden, in the cool not of the evening but the dawn.”

A new creation, a new heaven and earth. And the first to see this new creation, the women at the tomb, must have asked themselves the same question that we should ask now that we have witnessed it: what now?

~ Matthew Miller