In March 1973, Pink Floyd introduced the line, ‘The dark side of the moon’. The album was a great success addressing dark questions about life. The theme of darkness arose again in the 2013 movie, Gravity where Sandra Bullock is left untethered in space. The audience feels the visceral terror of darkness and helplessness. The black hole of depression, the sense of having the light of life sucked out of us, is how many feel.

In his Letter to the Colossians Paul takes us beyond the world of music and science-fiction into a realm beyond the universe itself. He tells us that in Jesus Christ, God the creator of the universe, has entered our world and opened the way for us to be transferred from this present world of disappointment and despair, darkness and death, to the kingdom of his beloved Son.

Back in chapter 1, verse 13 Paul put it like this: God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son he loves...

In the first two chapters of his Letter, Paul tells us that when Jesus came a dislocation in human history occurred. In Jesus, God’s rule over the cosmos took on a new form: a new world order began, and that new world now co-exists with the one we see around us.

Paul awakens us, not just to the notion of a creator God, but to one who is also working out his cosmic strategy in world events and in the arena of our lives. The key element is now in place: it involved his one and only Son, Jesus. It required Jesus, who is truly God and truly human, to offer his life as the one perfect and sufficient sacrifice to satisfy all God’s just requirements for the sins of humanity. In an extraordinary act of generous love, Jesus freely volunteered to do this, giving his life, the just for the unjust.

But Jesus’ death was not the end. Rather, it was the end of the beginning — the end of the first stage of God’s cosmic plan. It also marked the beginning of the last stage of God’s plan for the cosmos as we know it. For now, a new era has dawned.

How can we be sure of this? Jesus’ physical resurrection from the dead is the key.

The opening lines of Colossians chapter 3 form a turning point to the Letter. We read: So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, …

Jesus’ resurrection was not simply a satisfying ending to a unique life. It reveals that all that Jesus tells us about God, the world, and us, is not science fiction. An eternal realm exists outside of space and time. Furthermore, his resurrection points to a new era in God’s great purposes – an era which we can experience, and in which we can personally participate.

Two great realms now co-exist: the dominion of darkness and the kingdom of God’s Son. In other words, into the dark scene of a world of seeming hopelessness, the light of Jesus has shone.

The dominion of darkness, we could say, is centred around a black hole. It is a shrinking world, shrinking to eternal destruction. But the other world, the kingdom of God’s Son is centred around a bright nova, and it’s an expanding universe, expanding to eternal glory.

For the present, there is an interface between these two parallel worlds, and a door in time allows people to pass from one world to the other. For the present everyone who turns to Jesus and gives him their allegiance has an identity in both worlds. Physically we are still in the old order but our names are registered in the new.

From God’s perspective, everyone who may be healthy and enjoying life but chooses to live without him is dead. However, when we truly turn to Jesus Christ, God raises us up into a new life with Christ. In his mind’s eye we are alive with the risen Christ.

Paul carries this forward in verse 3 where he says, For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. If we are one of God’s people, we exist in two worlds: we have a visible identity in this world, and at the same time an invisible identity in God’s new world.

For the present others only see our physical bodies. The reality of our new and eternal life is hidden. Indeed, because those around us cannot see, let alone understand the new life we now have, there will be misunderstanding, mockery and even anger at the views we hold, and the lifestyle changes they observe.

But, because our faith is grounded in the God who keeps his promises, what is now hidden will one day be disclosed. Everyone will see it.Paul puts it this way in verse 4: When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

In today’s world the idea of Christ bursting through the skies in a blazing display of power and glory, seems pure science fiction. But the Bible leaves us in no doubt. From cover to cover it tells us that the world is going somewhere, and the final outcome will involve the return of God’s king.

When we think about it, the events of the life, death and resurrection of God’s Son occurred only some twenty-eight life spans ago – a life span being 70 years. During the course of his public life Jesus predicted the events of his death and resurrection. He also spoke of his return. His words about his unexpected death and resurrection were fulfilled. Is it not conceivable that his third prediction will also take place?

And when he returns, what a day that will be! This present age will be seen for what it is – a time that is a strange mixture of good and evil. However, with the manifestation of the new era in its awesome power and perfect justice, the pure joy and glory of God’s people will be revealed. We will experience life in all its fullness and joy, love and laughter for eternity.

Paul’s words in the opening lines of chapter 3 awaken our hearts and minds to see life now through the longer lens of a time without end – the glory of God’s country. In this troubled world, shrouded in so much darkness, let’s live in the light and hope of the glory to be revealed with the return of God’s King.

A Prayer: O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: do not leave us desolate, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exalt us to where our Savior Christ has gone before, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for evermore.  Amen.

© John G. Mason