Inside all of us there is a longing for something new, something better. It is seen in how everything goes out of date so quickly. Last year’s car model needs to be replaced as they have changed the body style for a new year. No teenager would not be caught dead with a two-year-old cell phone! Even college students must be sure to get the latest edition of a textbook when they return back to class each semester. Our longing to replace the decay around us is seen everywhere – from beauty salons featuring the Hollywood’s ”cutting edge” styles to the diet commercials that tell us we should try the newest craze. Yes, every one of us is longing for something new.
We long for new and improved because everything is fading. A quick glance at a morning news feed reveals things are not as they should be in our world: a dead infant is discovered at a northeastern distribution center, our federal government is perpetually stalled because of political rancor, and the entire globe is combating feelings of widespread panic over the Coronavirus. Tomorrow’s news will likely be no more encouraging. In midst of this, our bodies fail, the quality of work dwindles, and our very lives wither. Surely, we inwardly wonder, ”There must be something better than this.”
At times, we attempt to silence our longings with something as simple as new toys, new relationships, or even a vacation. As if flipping a few homes will make everything right again. But there is no masking what the second law of thermal dynamics calls ”entropy.” Even science confirms that our universe is running down. Everything around has a built-in tendency to move toward disorder. Our human relationships, and even our very health, confirm our very suspicions. Yes, there is an inner yearning inside all of us telling us that things are not right with our world.
The Apostle Paul describes this feeling as ”groan[ing] inwardly” (Romans 8:23). Paul tells us that even inanimate objects are not just a little upset at the present order, but they are screaming as if in the pains of giving birth (Romans 8:22). Imagine if the plants and trees could talk to you right now. Perhaps in a matter of a few minutes, you would looking for the mute button to silence the dirt under your feet from incessantly complaining about the situation we find ourselves in. Earth is justified in her ”groaning” because things are so out of sorts. It is as if someone took our planet and shook it like snow globe.
One Sunday nearly 2,000 years ago, God offered a glimpse, a preview, of our great hope by raising his Son from the grave. Radical, fresh hope found us in the resurrection of Jesus. The resurrection is far more than a preview of each believer’s future resurrection (though it is this). The resurrection of Jesus Christ points to the earth itself being raised one day very soon. God Himself reversed the fading effects of death and decay all around us.
Jesus’s resurrection serves as a preview of the earth’s future resurrection, an appetizer for the grand banquet meal that is to come. Peter tells us God Himself will remake the Heavens and the Earth one day soon. The Earth and Heaven will be resurrected just as Jesus rose. When Jesus walked out of His grave clothes that first Easter morning, all of the earth leaned in and listened. Earth itself sat on the edge of its seat when he rolled back the stone. He will resurrect the entire earth one day – as it was meant to be. It will be completely new, everywhere you look. And nothing will need an another upgrade again.
Today, as believers, we groan at the news of another martyr’s life taken for the sake of the gospel. We huddle around loved ones in hospital rooms when their bodies wind down. The earth itself joins us in our weeping and longing for something new. We anxiously awaiting our eventual resurrection along with every plant, shrub, rock, and mountain.
When we feel the weight and the sheer magnitude of a dying world around us, let us all fix our gaze on the empty tomb outside of Jerusalem. For Easter was a preview of mighty things to come. May we see, with fresh eyes of hope, the empty cross and know God’s actions in raising His Son point toward the eventual raising of everything around us. His resurrection does more than raise faith-filled bodies from the grave; His rising brings earth and Heaven up out of their graves as well.