I was driving home from running a few errands. After being isolated in the house all week, it felt good to get out and see a little bit of the world. I saw a neighbor and his toddler son working on their lawn mower. I noticed a family of four sitting outside a sandwich shop eating lunch. Most likely, it was their first excursion of the week, too. As I drove, I saw new signs of spring. I realized some trees had already started budding and blooming. I saw some green on trees. Then I noticed white flowers. I knew that soon I would see pinks and purples. The new colors almost take my breath away, as I paused to think of the times we are in.
I remembered the forsythia bush in my back yard. Yellow has never been my go to color, but this spring it jumps out at me as a sign of new life. Rumor has it that snow will fall three times after the forsythia blooms. But this year, there’s no more prediction of snow. Instead, there’s the prediction of illness and possible death. Quarantine. Social distancing. Shelter in place. Face coverings.
But when I see the first signs of spring, I know that new life is forming. The dull color of winter is fading. The gray trees will soon be alive with flowers and leaves. Grass will grow again. Tulips and peonies. Roses and hydrangeas. Zinnias and irises. Fruits and vegetables. All the signs that life goes on are springing into sight. I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that when death can happen so suddenly these days, that life also comes in unexpected moments.
If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
I think of the other season we’re in. It’s the week after Easter. I think of the plan that was fulfilled as an innocent man was put on trial and sentenced to death. Nailed to a cross he never should have been on. Placed in a tomb that wasn’t his. He died a death that didn’t need to happen. But oh. It did. Because out of that death and those days in the tomb, arose a new life that cannot be denied. Oh. It is denied by some. But regardless, the new life that came from that tomb has put the world on notice. That new life is available to all who call on the name of Jesus.
He paid the ultimate sacrifice for us. And in that sacrifice that ended in his death, new life arose from the tomb. That new life brought hope and healing. Forgiveness and fellowship. Sacrifice and sacred selflessness.
For centuries, the stories of this one man’s life and death have been told and told again. Truth has been shared. Lives have been changed. New life blooms each time a soul repents and a heart is changed.
Sure. The truth of his life and death has been denied. There are those who doubt and choose to ignore his miraculous new life. But the truth still stands. And on a day unexpected, everyone will bow and acknowledge this new life. Whether they believed or not, they will bow at the appointed time.
When the veil in the temple was torn in two, new life was claimed. Direct access to God was now available when that fabric ripped from top to bottom. Day or night. 24/7. God is available at a moment’s notice. The veil was no longer needed. New life. New approach to the throne of God. Immediate access to God Almighty was now available.
When the scales fell from Saul’s eyes, new life began. The one who once hunted believers became a believer. His sins were washed away by the Savior of the ones he hunted. His new life frightened those who didn’t trust him. Others saw the change and accepted the new life for themselves.
There was a massive earthquake that night when Paul and Silas were in jail. When the jailer thought his prisoners had escaped, he thought wrong. If they had, he thought to kill himself rather than be killed by others. But no one had escaped. He asked what he must do to be saved. Instead of ending his own life that night, he found a new life in Christ.
For the sake of everyone’s souls, the time is ripe for new life. New life with sins forgiven. Guilt and shame are a thing of the past. Bondage removed. Regret dissolved. The old life is gone. A new life has begun. May His name be praised!