"A whole new worldWhen the apostles came to replace Judas among their number this was their task:
A dazzling place I never knew
But when I'm way up here
It's crystal clear
That now I'm in a whole new world with you
Now I'm in a whole new world with you"
"Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from John's baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."They needed someone who had witnessed the life and death of Jesus, and crucially his resurrection. The elected person's life work would be to "become a witness with us of his resurrection". This was a particular task for the apostles. Today no living witnesses remain to the historic resurrection of Jesus. But we pass on the apostles teaching... the dawn of the new creation.
As the history of the church unfolds we find opposition:
"The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day."Those who opposed them did not believe in the possibility of resurrection... and the apostolic message was that in Jesus resurrection from the dead was possible... a new age begins.
Peter and John are later released. Told not to proclaim the resurrection of Jesus they consider themselves compelled to testify to what they had seen. No-one in Jerusalem could refute their message. No body of Jesus could be produced. The only card the authorities had to play was to try and silence the eye-witnesses. And they would not be silenced! With a word the world was created, now the new creation is announced in the apostles preaching.
Rather than staying silent, they prayed to the Sovereign Lord that he would give them power to speak and then...
With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them allLater in Greece Paul preaches Jesus and the resurrection. Some think he is babbling, both others want to hear more. He was later arrested by the religious authorities for his message:
"Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, "My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead."He had a solid expectation of resurrection, and could not cease to speak of it. His message always, Jesus Christ, crucified and then resurrected. The Creator and his new creation!
Why is the resurrection of Jesus so important?
- By raising Jesus from the dead he is declared to be the Son of God - Romans 1v4
- By raising Jesus from the dead he is declared to be Lord of the living and the dead, the supreme ruler over the new creation - Romans 14v9
- It is the raised Jesus we're called to believe in for new life - Romans 10v9
- Without the resurrection of Jesus there is no hope for anyone to be resurrected, this would be as good as it gets - 1 Corinthians 15v13-14
- Just as Christ is raised, so are Christians - Ephesians 2v6
- Christians hope for the coming of the raised Jesus when creation will be fully renewed- 1 Thessalonians 1v10
"Penal substitution...is therefore the prerequisite for a strong doctrine of the resurrection as the beginning of the new creation, not a detractor from it. The old is done away with, the new can begin. Hence indeed the scope of Christ's work is cosmic: he reconciles all things to himself (Col. 1:20), because he deals with the curse on Adam which affected all things. The new creation has begun with the resurrection, and it is the death of Christ which exhausted the curse which held the old creation in spiritual death. This is no merely personal or individual doctrine. As he bore our punishment in our place and put us right with God, Jesus secured the risen life of the entire new creation." - Garry Williams - Punished in our PlaceSince the resurrection of Jesus, the way to a whole new world is open...
Death is dead, love has won,
Christ has conquered;
And we shall reign with Him,
For He lives, Christ is risen from the dead!
Further Reading: Redemption & Resurrection, by Richard Gaffin @ BeginningWithMoses.org
Further Thought: The irrepressable Mike Reeves suggested at our last team days (on doctrine of creation) that there are massive parallels between the Creation narrative of Genesis 1, and the teaching of the New Creation in 1 Corinthians 15... the third day, the first-fruits, the Spirit... still chewing on that.
Is the resurrection essential? - TeamPyro discuss it, after NT Wright's comments.... take a read.