Sunday, April 16, 2006

Whole New World

"A whole new world
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"
When the apostles came to replace Judas among their number this was their task:
"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 all
Later 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
Some try to drive wedges between different aspects of our preaching - proclaiming resurrection without crucifixion... or crucifixion without resurrection. Our message is not one or the other, it is both. And more. It is Jesus incarnate, crucified, resurrected, ascended and returning to reign over all things. This Jesus we proclaim, just as the apostles did.

"Penal 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 Place
Since 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 @
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.


  1. Hey Dave, just back from the old folks service where I gave a brief easter talk. Good post, again lots to think on. Was funny you quoted that Disney song, I was just listening to it this afternoon! Hope your well

  2. Hehe....
    Thanks. Just came to mind as I was writing the post. Share your easter talky stuff with us...

    do you MSN?

  3. No. Thats one net thing I dont do. It was pretty short and simple, but it basically used the 1 Cor 15 thing about certainty and I talked a bit about easter eggs and why they help us remember what is important about easter.

  4. Tim beat me to it but DISNEY :D

  5. I got the quote from the worship song at the end.. so i guess the first one is the dysney one not some of your poetry (not meaning to be unitentionaly offensive or anything) So showing my ignorance which dysney is that from?

    Like the summerary pionts of the ressurection's importance, remebering we need to defend all the revlation we have of Jesus'life death and ministry. Also thought another piont of its importance is that it was a fulfillment of God's promises ( 1 Cor 15:4) That Jesus was raised acording to the scriptures we know Jesus is part of God's plan of salvation and not a random mistake or occurance.

  6. Luke 24v45-47:
    Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem...

    and also in v27...Moses and all the prophets said the resurrection would happen... it's God's plan, as promised!

    Which all rather begs the question as to how NT Wright thinks you can be a Christian and not believe in the resurrection: Resurrection: not essential?