Mama Cass Elliott sang the song and her words echoed the good news Jesus himself had preached. “There’s a New World Coming / And it’s just around the bend / There’s a new world coming / This one’s coming to an end” (Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing). Jesus called it “the kingdom of heaven,” the new dimension of reality in which God will restore everything, redeem our bodies and liberate creation itself. These things are absolutely certain and, equally as certain, not yet. Even martyrs seeking justice cry “How long, O Lord, how long?” and must wait a little longer. To follow after Jesus is to become a member of a people-in-waiting. Concerning the final fullness of God’s kingdom, our impatient “When?” is answered in both Testaments by God’s faithful “Until.”
Jesus not only announced this new reality that he called God’s kingdom, he also illustrated it by his life. Because he hallowed God’s name or character, he always fulfilled God’s wishes, and God’s kingdom was present as a result. Heaven knows only perfect harmony in God, and Jesus’ human life reflected that same unity with the Father. In his dying, Jesus presented this perfect “doing” to God. By raising Jesus from the dead, God approved his life and declared his own acceptance of all whom Jesus represented as high priest. Jesus honored our humanity by humbling himself to become a man. He fulfilled our humanity by glorifying it and taking it back to heaven. There he is forever the same–the man Christ Jesus–the one mediator between God and man. The dust of the earth now sits on the throne of the universe.
By his resurrection, Jesus was not resuscitated but rather was transformed. In his glorified body, the resurrected Jesus appeared and disappeared at will. He traveled many miles instantaneously. He passed through walls and locked doors. We may suppose that he passed through the grave clothes as well. It was Lazarus, not Jesus, who needed to be unwrapped. The stone was moved to allow the witnesses in, not to let Jesus out. It is our destiny to become like Jesus. We cannot understand that reality any more than a caterpillar can visualize itself becoming a butterfly. Who ever would have expected an acorn to become an oak? Nevertheless, our destiny is as certain and as supernaturally natural as those. Jesus is the firstborn from among the dead. What he is, we shall be. Imagine that.