Jesus and Christ
Christ Is Risen
Sunday, February 10, 2019
I am making the whole of creation new. . . . It will come true. . . . It is already done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. —Revelation 21:5-6
Who is speaking here at the very end of the Bible? Is this Jesus of Nazareth or Someone Else? Whoever is talking is offering an entire and optimistic arc to all of history. This is much more than a mere “religious” message; it is also a historical and cosmic one. It declares a definite trajectory where there is a coherence between the beginning and the ending of all things. It offers humanity hope and vision. History appears to have a direction and a purpose; it is not just a series of isolated events.
This is the Universal Christ speaking. Jesus of Nazareth, the humble carpenter, did not talk this way. It was Christ who “rose from the dead.” Resurrection is hardly a leap of faith once you realize that the Christ never died—or can die—because the Christ is the eternal mystery of matter and Spirit as one. Jesus willingly died—and Christ arose—yes, still Jesus, but now including and revealing everything else in its full purpose and glory. (Read Colossians 1:15-20 so you know this is not just my idea.)
When these verses in Revelation were written, sixty to seventy years had passed since Jesus’ human body “ascended into heaven.” The author is describing a fully available presence that defines, liberates, and sets a goal and direction for life. Largely following Paul, who wrote in the 50s CE, Revelation calls this seemingly new and available presence a mystery, “both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36) more than just “Jesus.”
The Risen Jesus is the divine presence beyond any confines of space and time. The Eternal Christ appeared in a personal form that humans came to know and love as “Jesus.” The Resurrection is not so much a miracle as it is an apparition of what has always been true and will always be true.
Such divine presence had always been there, as we know from the experiences of “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Luke 20:37-38). But through Jesus, this eternal presence had a precise, concrete, and personal referent. In Jesus Christ, vague belief and spiritual intuition became specific—with a “face” that we could “see, hear, and touch” (1 John 1:1).
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014), 209-210, 289-290.