Jesus’ resurrection indicates that everything is beginning again – it is a new creation with recreated hearts.
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” 22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Jesus’ resurrection indicates that everything is beginning again – it is a new creation. This passage opens with ‘on the evening of that first day of the week.’ John is using language that mimics Genesis 1-2 – ‘on the first day, God said….’
In the beginning, when God created the world it was good – very good. On each day of the week God brought something new and wonderful to the world until on the last day he rested. This passage is the beginning of the return to that good state of things. Jesus comes to his disciples, and three times he commands, ‘peace be with you.’
But in the disciples’ here and now – and in ours – the new creation isn’t a physical remaking of the heavens and the earth, even though that is ahead, as the book of Revelation, also written by John, explains.
For the disciples – and for us – there is a ‘now but not yet’ time. God’s new creation is beginning, but we still live in the old creation. So what does Jesus’ resurrection mean for us now?
This new creation starts with a recreating of each person’s heart when they believe in Jesus. When you trust in Jesus, you are forgiven from all the sin – acts and attitudes of ignoring God – that has broken your relationship with God. The Fall that destroyed the God’s good world is now slowly being reversed as more people received recreated hearts.
Thomas is an example of what this recreated heart looks like. He changes from sceptical, hard hearted doubt to joyful, open hearted belief as he exclaims ‘My Lord and my God!’ This new heart comes with a new command – Jesus sends his disciples into the world with the help of his Spirit to share the good news of this new creation, so others may believe and have recreated hearts for Jesus as well.
Head: the ‘now but not yet’ concept can be difficult to understand. What’s one area of your life that gets caught between the reality we look forward to and the reality we live now?
Heart: are you open to God recreating your heart and changing your priorities? Does having a heart only set on God’s will excite you or scare you?
Hands: How will you demonstrate your new, recreated heart for people and for God today?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you that Jesus has risen from the grave! Thank you that you were never going to leave your creation stuck in its fallen mess, but came to restore it. Thank you most of all that you have not left my heart in sin, but have restored it as well. As I live in the world today, please help me to remember that Jesus has sent me to bring his renewing grace to others’ lives as well. Help me be ready to share this good news. By the power of your Spirit, In Jesus’ name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Christ is Risen
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of The Spirit of Jesus series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.