In A Tale of Two Cities, Jarvis Lorry works for Tellson’s Bank and is traveling by carriage from London to Dover. A messenger overtakes the carriage and delivers a note telling him he is to stay in Dover to meet with a client. The client is Lucie Manette, who has been the ward of the bank almost her entire life. Her mother died when Lucie was quite young but not before telling her that her father (Dr. Alexander Manette) had died.
The truth of the matter is that he is not dead but has been imprisoned in the Bastille for nearly eighteen years. He’s guilty of no crime but was in fact trying to report one when the wrong people found out about it and due a corrupt legal system, they were able to have him imprisoned. Manette has suffered greatly in his time at the Bastille. The instructions for Lorry to meet with Lucie Manette mean that something wonderful has occurred—her father is no longer in prison. When Lorry receives the message he answers back with the phrase, RECALLED TO LIFE. It’s a glorious phrase that functions as one of the major themes of the novel.
It’s also a helpful phrase for thinking about the resurrection. Jesus had life, gave it up at the cross and then was recalled to life (in an even more glorious manner) through the resurrection. In Him, God has started not just a new humanity but a new creation. The first Adam sinned and opened the floodgates of evil. Man started on the fast track away from God (see Genesis 6:5-7). God had made everything “very good” but with Adam’s sin death and decay entered the world and started a fault line running the length of creation.
The second Adam was righteous and because of His “indestructible” life, it was impossible for death to hold Him (Hebrews 7:16; Acts 2:24). As a human He fulfilled God’s creation purposes by faithfully representing Him in this world, and at the cross He accomplished reconciliation at both the human and cosmic level (Colossians 1:19-20). God has made Him Lord over all creation. And beginning with Him, He is making all things new.
When by faith we are immersed and are born of water and Spirit (John 3:5), we become part of this new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). It’s not a “newness” in terms of time (neos) but in terms of quality (kainos). As long as we remain “in Christ” we are part of the new creation that began with Him.
And where’s it all headed? We’re going to heaven where we’ll live eternally. Well, yes but that’s much more to God making all things new. One day Christ will vanquish death for us in the way it has been vanquished for Him. One day “God will bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (Ephesians 1:10). One day creation “will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). Meanwhile, God is using His people to make known His wisdom “to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 3:10).
To be part of God’s glorious kingdom means so much more than bumping into each other in the lobby while we wait for our “room” to be prepared. We’ve been recalled to life in all of its fullness and glory (John 10:10).
Let’s live like it!