(Icon: "The Resurrection," by Dmitry Shkolnik, Russian Lavra school)
64.) The Resurrection - The Resurrection stands with the Crucifixion at the center of the Christian mysteries; one cannot be separated from the other. The Resurrection shows us that Jesus not only accepted death on humanity’s behalf, but he broke its power decisively. His resurrection is the authoritative promise of our hope that we, too, will be raised to eternal life. In this sense he is “the firstborn from among the dead,” because all of the new humanity will eventually experience much the same event in our own lives. Thus, with the resurrection, the age of the new humanity is fully inaugurated—one human being, united to divinity in his very essence, has gone through the whole course and been brought to a new, eternal, embodied existence. In the Resurrection, the re-created human nature—of which we are mystically a part if we are in Christ—has been cleansed and restored; the antidote for sin’s disease has been let loose in the system of our nature. Likewise, in the Resurrection, Christ’s triumph over Satan was fully accomplished; all that remains is the mopping-up work, which is enacted through the forward advance of the community of the Kingdom in history. Christ’s resurrection body is one of the strangest aspects of the whole event—it seems suited for a rather different reality (at least in its material constraints) than the one we now experience, though one that is obviously still suited for dwelling within space and time. Thus we can posit that the existence of the new heavens and the new earth will be similar to our own in some ways—in the experience of temporal sequence and the physical, space-oriented aspect of our existence—but also radically different in that it seems that our relationship with the matter around us might be quite different than it is now.
65.) The “Precapitulation” of Church History - In the 40 days between his resurrection and ascension, Christ prefigured (“pre-capitulated”) the period of human history that he was inaugurating, the march of the Kingdom of God through the community of faith until the final restoration. During these days, he was present with his disciples (though his “presence” was always on his terms, not theirs); he gave them instructions to pray as their first order of business and to wait for the ministry of the Holy Spirit to move them; he sent them both into ministry (waiting and praying for the work to come in Jerusalem) and back home to their secular jobs (returning to fish in Galilee); and he instituted a miracle which prefigured the winning of all nations to the faith (the catch of 153 fish).