Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Resurrection in John

  The resurrection of Jesus is simply the cornerstone of our faith, many countless thousands of people were crucified in the ancient world. Only one has been proclaimed raised from the dead, Lord of the earth, and coming again to judge all. And this message proclaimed at the peril of one's own life. The first Christians were eager to tell about Jesus and especially His resurrection. The apostle John, who was one of the earliest disciples of Jesus and eyewitness to the events, tells us about Him in his Gospel writing.
  John seems to emphasize that the resurrection of Jesus is the first act of God's new creation. Something has happened through Jesus that says the future has broken into the present. To the mind of many in the first century the Messiah was to come and usher in the "new age" indeed, the resurrection was a belief of many faithful in Israel, yet it was to be an "end time" event, not something that took place within the flow of time and certainly not to the "Messiah". Yet what has taken place, if you can imagine two circles side by side, one representing the "old age", one representing the "the new age" or "messianic age". In the mind of many these two ages were distinct from each other, separate ages, when Messiah comes he will usher in the the new and all the dead would be raised. What has happened the new testament writers declare to us is, is that these two circles have slightly overlapped, if you will. Yes the "last days" have come (Hebrews 1:1), but we still experience all the frailties of a "fallen creation", death, disease, famine etc. The new testament writers were not blind to that reality, but they still spoke in terms of in Jesus a "new creation" has begun to emerge and the entire creation itself is in eager expectation of its own deliverance from decay.
  John is very strong in his teaching about "new creation" emerging in Jesus Christ. In John chapter one he plainly takes us back to a creational mindset "In the beginning..." Now what has appeared is "life", and this "life" is "the light of all people". In the Genesis narrative of creation God created light first. Now light has shone into the darkness of humanity.
  Another of the many new creational concepts John relates to us is what Jesus said in John 7:37-39) Jesus there speaks of the Holy Spirit being given to believer's after his "glorification". This Spirit is life giving, like "rivers of living water". I can't help but think of the river's spoken of in Genesis 2. Paul says that the "Spirit" is to us a "seal", a "pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people" (Ephesians 1:14). "Life is given to our mortal bodies also through His Spirit that dwell in you" (Romans 8).
  Thirdly in our brief survey of John's writing is the "first day of the week" as being the resurrection day. In the chronology of the final week, Jesus dies on Friday the sixth day. The sixth day was the day that God created humanity in Genesis. It was on this day that in John's account Pilate says "behold the man" (John 19:5). It was on this same day that Jesus uttered the words "it is finished" (John 19:30). On the seventh day, the Sabbath, Jesus body rested in the tomb, while His spirit refreshed in the realm of 'Paradise". God as well rested from his own works on this day. What happens however on the next day, the first day of the new week however changes the entire course of human history. "Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark" Mary comes to the tomb and finds it empty, she was to discover the "light of life". Thereafter in the writing Jesus continues to appear to the disciples on the "first day" until his ascension. Then after that Luke tells us the Spirit comes on a first day and the church is born.
   The resurrection is cornerstone to John. In his writing of the Gospel, it is the eighth miracle recorded, again that would correspond to the "eighth day" or "first day of the new week". His first sign is in John 2, turning water to wine. The second is in chapter 4, healing the royal officials son. The third miracle is chapter 5, healing a lame man. The fourth sign is in chapter 6, feeding the five thousand. The fifth sign occurs also in chapter 6, walking on water. Sign number six is in chapter 9, giving sight to a man born blind. The seventh miracle is raising Lazarus in chapter eleven. The crowning of all these "signs" however is in chapter 20, Jesus himself reverses death and is raised from the dead. This is the "eighth sign", on the "eighth day" or first day of the new creation.
  Live and celebrate this new creation in your own life, follow and obey the One who has brought it to us and look for the day he appears again and we are changed to be like him.

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