Jesus overturns the world’s understanding of honor and shame. When people give their loyalty to Christ, they have died and are raised with him. They share in his honor and shame. Although not of the world, they are to live in it. In a sense, they become aliens and exiles within the world.
As the true image of God, Christ manifests the divine glory. As a man, he represents all humanity (being “the last Adam,” 1 Cor 15:45). As Abraham’s offspring, Jesus entered the world to fulfill Israel’s vocation and bless all nations. How?
Christ commissions his people to go into the world. Some have called this the “Great Commission.” The Church proclaims to all that Jesus is the king who defeats evil, whether sin, social powers, demons, and death. The nations have betrayed the King of kings, colonizing his world. Yet, God offers pardon because Jesus has paid humanity’s debt.
In this way, Christ now gathers the nations to himself.
He avenges humanity’s shameful rebellion and thus vindicates his honor. He fully establishes his kingdom in the world. When all nations recognize Christ as King, humanity is restored. In this way, humanity completes its original mission: to represent God in the world. Some have called this “the cultural mandate.”
This future hope is nothing less than a new creation. God will bring about a new heaven and new earth. When Jesus returns to the world, he will judge his enemies and glorify his people. They will receive resurrected bodies. Humanity will be reconciled with itself and with nature. For all eternity, the human family––“a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages”––will worship our Father and King.
The Picture Tells the StoryThe lines that come out from the box not only represent the sequence of events following the cross; in addition, they represent humanity’s newfound freedom. However, this freedom is used for the sake of the world’s salvation. Christ’s followers seek to glorify God in the world. Their mission is not to escape the world. Hence, the lines loop back to the world.
Notice that a new world (represented by a partial circle) is beginning to form. In Christ, there is “new creation.” When God’s children are revealed from amid all the nations, only then will the creation be freed from its bondage to decay.
In the next post, I’ll offer summary thoughts to explain the how the entire picture fits together. The graphic is designed to visually reinforce the message conveyed orally.