March 31, 2013
FR. PHILIP EBERHART
WHAT’S NEW WITH YOU?
As I was preparing for the Good Friday service I was watching a scene from the Passion of the Christ – the one where Mary is waiting in the alleyway and Jesus is about to pass by on the Via Dolorosa. I was listening to the song that goes with that scene from our stations, SILENTLY, and I came to the place where Jesus has fallen the first time and
Mary runs to his side. He looks into her face and says, “Behold, I make all things new.”
The interesting thing is that Jesus isn’t recorded as having said that while he was here on earth – not to his Mother on the way to Golgotha, not to the disciples in the upper room, not to those who were watching him on the Cross. He did say it however. It is in the final verses of the book of Revelation. It is the reigning and returning Jesus who says it in Rev 21:5. Mel Gibson appropriated it for the movie for a dramatic effect, and it got me to thinking about that word… NEW.
Resurrection Sunday is something new – something that never happened before … or since! It is something that is so new, that it continues to rock the world – to shape history – to mold mankind, into something … well… NEW.
This is a thread that runs through the testimony about Jesus and I want to explore it for just a few minutes here with you this morning.
Have you ever felt brand new? Many of us wish we could! We would love a second chance at something – a clean slate. A new start is almost a dream isn’t it. It feels too good to be true. We are covered up in the dirt and grime of our past – like I used to feel after coming in from working on the tractor – we had one with an open seat, no cab for comfort and working the dry field kicks up a lot of dust – I would come home looking like a dust monster, and then mom would fill the bath tub about half full and I would just soak until the water was murky… but I was clean and new.
That is the image we have in this word that is used so many times in so many ways in the New Testament’s testimony of Jesus and the effect he has on our lives.
Jesus gives us a NEW commandment, “to love one another.” This time with the caveat,(As I have loved you). Yikes. Oh yeah, that’s new alright. New indeed.
Jesus institutes a NEW Covenant – a covenant of love and a NEW meal as the sign of that covenant in the midst of the covenant community.
Jesus gives us a NEW life – telling Nickodemus that we must be born from above – that is born again – not like a natural birth but like a supernatural one, kind of like Jesus himself had in Bethlehem – but He does it inside of us, at the very moment that we receive Him as our King and Lord.
We are told to be RENEWed in the Spirit of our mind – or to have our thoughts entirely transformed
by His thoughts! Its only in this way that we come to know what the Will of God is for our lives.
Paul in Ephesians 4 tells his hearers to Put on a NEW SELF which he then goes on to describe: “which, in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth”
Do you get the idea that thee is something NEW going on here?
The Resurrection of Jesus is the key to all that NEWNESS. There is newness on every hand almost as we read through the pages of the bible.
So hows come I don’t always feel good and new!
Paul tells us that when we come to Jesus, in that moment we are a new creature; old things are done and passed away; new things have come.
But I sure do struggle with some of that old stuff, for being soooooo new! What’s that all about?
Just like Mel we have to bring the victory of Jesus from the day of His appearing, into the present, into the daily grind of our lives - in the movie Jesus said it as he was carrying the cross to Golgotha! And we have to say it, in the middle of our own way of the cross.
In Scripture there is a difference between what we can see and what it real. Did you know that? There is a difference sometimes between what you feel … and what is real!!
Any one else ever???
These words of Paul in 2 Cor 3, 4, 5 are important for us to grasp onto as we consider the import and the power of the Resurrection in our lives. Listen to some of the phrases that Paul uses –
You are a letter of Christ, … written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves… afflicted, not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being MADE NEW day by day. For momentary light affliction is producing for us and eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We walk by faith, not by sight ;
We have stopped looking at people and life according to the flesh; we once did that with Chrishimself, but no more. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
God made him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.
Now that’s a NEW THING!
The point my friends, of Easter and of the Resurrection, isn’t for a “pie in the sky bye and bye” hope, though that is certainly a reality as well. But the power and the force of the Resurrection is to be appropriated day to day, in the oldness and staleness of our every day, hum drum lives. If it doesn’t become real to us here, its not going to be real there.
So, as I invited you into a holy Lent, I invite you into the adventure of Easter. Into the NEW LIFE that God has purposed for you to live with Him – in partnership and in vital day to day connection – in relationship with Him.
Our New Life, our born from above life is real – its more real than the struggles we face and the problems we have. I know that they feel real, but the comparative weight of our suffering and trials weighed against the eternal weight of glory with Jesus Christ our Risen Lord and Reigning King – our troubles are like a feather!
Set your eyes on Him, my friends and you will begin to know the power of the Risen and New Life that He promises us. Its not all pretty and its certainly not all instant, but it is REAL. The Lord is Risen! The Lord is Risen, INDEED. Alleluia!! Alleluia!!