We have arrived at the season of Easter. With the resurrection of our Lord from the tomb everything has changed. We live in a new world, a world where life exists that is no longer subject to death. For the first time since Genesis 1 and 2, we find someone who is free from both sin and death. The echoes of God’s original, perfect creation are heard as the stone rolls back and the angels announce, “He is risen!”
There is a thought that comes to us from very early in the church regarding creation. God creates the world in seven days. At some point after the work of creation was completed, Adam and Eve succumb to the temptations of Satan and sin and death enter the world. From that point forward, mankind has been stuck in an endless cycle. We live each week under the yoke of sin. As we come up on the end of the week, we hope and pray the next week will bring something new, that it will bring freedom. But it never does. Each week follows the last as the endless progression of sin’s domination leaves us in chains. We go to Saturday, God’s declared day of rest, and the week starts all over again and we have a new week of sin and death to look forward to.
When Jesus rises from the tomb, something is different. Jesus is like Adam was before the Fall, sinless and perfect. Yet, Jesus is better in one very important way. Where sin and death were always a possibility for Adam, they are no longer possible for Jesus. He has conquered both. He has triumphed over both. Jesus brings something into the world which creation has never seen before: a life beyond the power and reach of death.
For the first time, the world sees what God’s promise truly means, a life where death is no longer possible, an eternal life. Jesus has been talking about throughout His ministry but now it is finally here. Jesus ushers in the very beginnings of the new creation. Until now, we’ve been trapped in the endless cycle of days, days that roll into weeks, and weeks that continue on and on until we die. When Jesus rises again, He does so on what would normally be the first day of the week, the first day of creation. But, Jesus’ life is no longer trapped in that cycle. He lives not in the old creation but the new. Like a bulldozer, Jesus breaks through the barrier that stands on the seventh day, waiting to send us back around. In the language of creation, He rises not on the first day, but the eighth.
Life in Jesus is not bound to the cycle of sin and death but stretches out into an endless eternity. The Eighth Day then represents the new creation and looks to our life in Christ. This Eighth Day is foreshadowed in various places in Scripture, with circumcision being the most obvious. God required the sons of Abraham to be circumcised on their eighth day of life. This is when God’s promise to Abraham and his descendants was explicitly bound to them. This is when they became God’s people.
The theme of adoption comes to us in the New Testament age through baptism. We are made God’s people and children of the promise through water and the Word. But, we are also bound to the death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus rises on the Eighth Day and so that new creation life is ours too through baptism.
The power of Christ’s resurrection in history is hard to overstate. Looking at the life of the early church, God’s Commandment says, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.” Jews worshiped on Saturday. They have always worshiped on Saturday, for that was the Law. Now, in the very beginnings of the church people are worshipping instead on Sunday and they do so almost immediately and without any major debate. The power of what Christ has brought into the world cannot be denied. We are people of the new creation and we worship a God who is bringing a new heavens and a new earth. We may not know what that new earth looks like exactly, but we know what our life within that earth will look like. We see it every time we look at our risen Lord.