Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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A New Genesis
On the first day of the week . . . (v.1 NIV).
A couple of years ago, as I was driving our son Wyatt to kindergarten, our conversation turned to resurrection. Understandably, Wyatt was perplexed about what it meant and how it worked. Finally, he asked the question for which he most wanted an answer. “Dad,” he asked, “when God raises us from the dead, are we going to be really alive? Or just alive in our head?”
Often, we think of Jesus’ resurrection as the exclamation point on God’s work, its primary purpose being to point back and confirm all that the Father and the Son had done. However, John offers Jesus’ resurrection not as the conclusion of God’s activity, but as the new beginning of God’s cosmic action to restore His world.
From John’s opening line (“In the beginning”), we get the sense that he is recasting the creation narrative (John 1:1). His themes of new creation (water to wine, death to life, etc.) continue until we arrive with Jesus praying in a garden—dusting off memories of Eden (19:41). Finally, after Jesus has been crucified and the disciples have scattered and all seems lost, we hear John’s pronounced refrain: “On the first day of the week.” Jesus walked out of the tomb (20:1 NIV). God began His Genesis work, making His world, on the first day of the week. Now, again, Jesus commences a new creation (a second creation), remaking His world on a new first day.
Death has really broken loose in God’s world. We really know death in our marriages and our hearts and our neighborhoods. And Jesus is re-creating all of it, every bit, crushing death and bringing life. Really!
Into every dark corner of your heart, into loneliness and fear and shame, into despair and greed and lust, into ruin and hopelessness and everything that death breeds, know this: Jesus crushed darkness and death. Rise up and live.
Read John 20:1 and note the physicality of the passage. What did Jesus do? Whom did Jesus meet? How did Jesus encounter people?
Where do you most need a new creation? What does it mean for you to open your heart up to God’s new creation?
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