In the first post in this series, we explored what resurrection really is. In our second post, we discussed how the foundational meaning of the resurrection is that Jesus is King over everything and everyone. In the latest post, we talked about how the resurrection means salvation from our sins, and new life.
In this last post of the series, we will look at the idea that if we are followers of Jesus, what happened to him will happen to us. What happened in Jesus’ resurrection is a glimpse of the New Creation. Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians 15 that Jesus is the firstfruits of those who are already asleep. What Paul is saying here is that Jesus was the first to be resurrected, but that we shall be resurrected as well. What happened to Jesus will happen to us.
Taking that into consideration, there are a few implications we can draw out from looking at Jesus’ resurrection. First, our resurrection will be physical. Remember the place we started in this series: Jesus’ resurrection was physical. There was an empty tomb. Thomas touched Jesus’ hands and side (which still had the scars; might there be a sermon in the idea that our resurrected bodies might still bear the scars of our love?). Luke says Jesus ate after he was raised. So Jesus’ resurrection was physical, and ours will be too.
At the same time, our resurrection will be a different kind of physical than what we know now. We know that there will be no sickness or disease in the New Creation. But even beyond this, we seem to see Jesus walking through a locked door, and also covering distances that can’t be covered in the time given. So, while our resurrection will be physical, it seems to be a different kind of physical than what we know now.
Perhaps the most revolutionary idea is that with Jesus’ resurrection, New Creation has already begun. It is not complete yet, of course. Jesus will come back and ultimately come back and restore everything. But we get glimpses of it even now. The spheres of heaven and earth are overlapping, and New Creation has already begun. We see a hint of this in the book of John. John begins by talking about the Word, or Jesus, being with God in the beginning, and taking part in Creation. John does this in a way that is very reminiscent of Genesis Chapter 1.
Then, in Chapter 20, John tells the Resurrection story. But the way John tells the story is important. John puts markers there for us to recognize. He starts the chapter by telling us that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, “early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark”. In other words, in the morning. When Mary sees Jesus, she mistakes him for a gardener. Then, John tells us that the disciples were gathered together “on the evening of the first day.” Did you catch it what John is doing here?
What is the location of the resurrection story? Well, it must be a garden, or some kind of garden tomb, if Mary naturally mistakes Jesus for a gardener. So we are in a garden, and John is marking time by talking about morning and evening on the first day. This sounds an awful lot like the Creation story in Genesis 1, doesn’t it? Just as John’s Gospel begins with callbacks or signs to Genesis 1, so John’s Gospel ends with callbacks to Genesis 1. Jesus’ resurrection happens in a garden, sandwiched between morning and evening on the first day. Just as the original Creation happened, so we have New Creation starting in a garden, morning and evening, the first day.
We have reason for hope and joy. New Life, New Creation is breaking through already. What happened to Jesus will happen to us, if we would only follow him.