Whole Life Whole Bible Day 37

 
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Scripture:

John 20:1 (NASB)

1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.

John 20:19-20 (NASB)

19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.


DEVOTIONAL:

36: Alleluia! He is risen

A new day, a new dawn — a new creation. Just as the first infinitesimal part of a second at the beginning of the universe was a unique and unrepeated moment, so the resurrection of Jesus — Savior, Lord and God — was the first, unique, unprecedented, unparalleled moment when God’s promised new creation began. Without the resurrection, the cross is a defeat; there is no forgiveness, no salvation, no new life and no hope beyond death. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory over death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

We know that our declaration of faith, ‘I believe in the resurrection of the body’, will be fulfilled for us who are his, when he comes again in glory and the new heaven and the new earth are fully realized. As Tom Wright puts it, ‘With Jesus of Nazareth there is not simply a new religious possibility, not simply a new ethic or a new way of salvation, but a new creation.’

It took some time for the amazing truth of the resurrection, with all its stunning implications, to dawn on the disciples. We see a progression from their disbelief when the women came back from the tomb and told them it was so, to Peter’s Spirit-filled sermon at Pentecost and Paul’s dramatic words to the Colossians: ‘He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him’ (1:18–19).

Meanwhile, what are the implications for everyday life?

Again, Tom Wright is helpful:

Because the early Christians believed that ‘resurrection’ had begun with Jesus, and would be completed in the great final resurrection on the last day, they believed that God had called them to work with him, in the power of the Spirit, to implement the achievement of Jesus and thereby to anticipate the final resurrection, in personal and political life, in mission and holiness.

Those who belong to Jesus are called to whole-life discipleship, to the resurrection life of the kingdom, whereby in every corner of our lives we are charged with transforming the present, as far as we were able, in the light of that future.

For further reflection and action

  1. If you are part of a home group or prayer group, it might be interesting and helpful to ask each other these questions. How do we think Jesus’ resurrection relates to our own survival after death? Will we have resurrection bodies or will we survive as ‘souls’ freed from physical form? Tom Wright’s book, Surprised by Hope, offers a helpful treatment of these questions.

  2. Isaiah 38:9–20 records Hezekiah’s poem about being close to death. Compare his sentiments with Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 15.

  3. Can you think of times in your life when you have brought resurrection life into your daily activities? Some may point to running an allotment, teaching a child to read, sitting with a friend in hospital, encouraging a colleague at work, or giving money to good causes. How would it change our days if we woke each morning reminding ourselves that we are agents of God’s resurrection transformation?

Visit LICC to find out more or get an overview of the Biblical narrative and the ways it can shape us by reading the Introduction to Whole Life, Whole Bible from the Whole Life, Whole Bible book.