Posts Tagged ‘Resurrection’

He Arose

April 22nd, 2014
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 John 20

 This momentous event formed the central hope for the Christian movement.

 The Father’s will was the freely chosen decision before the foundation of the world to have many sons and daughters in Christ. He is the firstborn among many brethren.

To read a deeper analyzes of this please click here for Don’t Cry for Jesus by Gary Deddo.

 The resurrection is the beginning of the new life intended for all humanity. Just as in Adam all die, in Christ all will be made alive.

 The new creation has begun in Christ.

 1 Peter 1:3-5

 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

This is the great work for which we praise the Father.

In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,

God wants us to have the highest destiny. His love for us has purposed us to be his children in Christ.

5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

What a glorious day that will be when we stand in Jesus’ resurrection to see the glory revealed in us.

 Paul also emphasized this in Ephesians 2:4-6

 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

 This great love is the cause of our new birth. This great love is the reason the resurrection of Christ has become our own. This love achieved all for us even when we were still dead in our trangressions.

 Notice how everything about us is with Christ.

 What we have just expressed had their origins in the first words spoken by the risen Christ.

 John 20:17

 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father.

 Don’t panic , I am still here with you.

 Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

 Jesus is calling the disciples his brothers. Something about the resurrection has forged this new bond.

 He sheds light on this by saying ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father.” This is not just a fatherhood caused by being the source of creation. This is much more profound.

 There is something new here. Because of the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus and his resurrection a new sonship is granted to those who live by the life of Christ.

 Jesus is implying that his Father is henceforth the Father of his disciples because the love he bears his only Son is extended to the human race that has been saved and can participate in his Sonship. Son. Jesus does create a distinction with my Father and your Father.

 It is the distinction between the natural sonship which belongs solely to Jesus, inherent in his person, and the adoptive sonship that stems from the Father’s free and gracious gift. But we now share this common Sonship with the Father.

 The Sonship of the only Son is communicated to men, and the Father extends to all the love that binds him to Jesus.

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Message for the Day ,

The Children of the Resurrection

September 10th, 2013
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Let’s hear the hope from I Thessalonians.

 1 Thessalonians 1-2

 I enjoy listening to Paul’s feelings for the church.

 1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. 3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith,

 This is a wonderful description of the children of the resurrection.

 It describes an active people. They are not just sitting around waiting for the coming of Jesus Christ. As Jesus said “My Father and I work. They have invited us to join them in this salvation work. When we believe then we see our lives caught up in to God’s great plan for humanity and the whole creation.

 The energy we put in to this work comes not from fear of missing out, or trying to get enough brownie points to get a reward. It flows from the very relationship that exists with in the family relationship of God. God is love, he so loved the world that he sent his Son in to this world.

 your labour prompted by love,

God is love. Thus all labour must be prompted by who God is for us in Christ. This response allows God to work through us in our daily lives.

 And your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

The endurance, not to give up, is centred on something really important : our hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

 Paul described this in I Corinthians after a whole discourse on the resurrection:

 1 Corinthians 15: 50-58

 50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

 55 “Where, O death, is your victory?

Where, O death, is your sting?”

 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

 The children of the resurrection do not tire or become weary in cynicism It can seem that what we do is easily forgotten or of no consequence. We can become disillusioned by the ordinariness of our lives. Sin in this world seems to destroy even the good we do. But it is never in vain.

 Sometimes we can feel very strongly that we have achieved nothing.

 I have found the following comment very helpful:

 What this means is that God will take all the partial and fragmentary work we do in his name and raise it up in the resurrection, whole and complete. Ultimately, each day’s work will seen to be another miracle of the loaves and fishes –God doing much with little.

 According to Paul the apostle, life and work this side of the resurrection is a matter of sowing –in the despair of mortality and weakness and sometimes dishonour. But come the resurrection, there will be harvesting. What was sown mortal will be raised immortal. What was sown in dishonour will be raised in glory, what was sown in weakness will be raised in power .

 The significance of this promise is intensely practical in the here and now. It means the work we do matters, because God wills it so.

(Ben Patterson Worship and Work)

 So we are the children of a living hope who can enjoy a certain playfulness in the arms of our heavenly Father.

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Message for the Day

Gnosticism and the resurrection

May 6th, 2013
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Cherith Fee Nordling earned her PhD from the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

 She has written Knowing and Naming the Triune God: Elizabeth Johnson and Karl Barth in Conversation and she is one of the authors of Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms. She now works with Antioch Leadership Network in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

 Cherith Fee Nordling: What Will the Resurrected Body Be Like?

 Dr. Nordling talks with Mike Feazell about the nature of the resurrected body and the significance of Jesus becoming fully human.

Cherith Fee Nordling: Thank you for having me.

 JMF: You’ve done work on the need to see Jesus not only in the past as fully God and fully human, but even now as fully God and fully human.

 CFN: Yes, and I think the important thing to remember as we have this conversation is that we do speak about mysteries that we haven’t seen, and at the same time that we need to speak about them as loudly and happily, and wonderfully as we can, because blessed are those who haven’t seen, but there are plenty who did. And it’s remembering that the 40 days of Jesus’ resurrection life that sort of shows up as a preview that says, “this is really me. I’m not here as a ghost, I’m not here as sort of this spirit being who can walk through a wall just to kind of say some last things to you before I kick off and leave. This is what it looks like for you to get your life back.”

 And that is what the gospel is about. That is what your salvation is, is that you, who have been beloved before the foundations of the earth, you, who the Father and Son and Spirit never needed (because they are eternally happy in themselves (as Jonathan Edwards says, “Their love for each other is perfect.”) And so for us to be at all is just this incredible overflow of the love of the triune Persons for one another, saying, “Well, let’s let others share in that and participate in that. And we aren’t finished in our joy and our extension of that joy until we have Mike, until we have Cherith, precisely because it just delights us that they bear the image of God in and for the world and that they are in relationship to us and to one another.”

 And for Jesus’ life to be so particular to say, this is the life that you have, we have God (one and three) because before the foundations of the earth, [who] predestined that you would become children of God, and once you have been predestined to become that, and you become that, you never stop being that. And the only way to be children of God is to be human children of God.

And so for Jesus, 40 days of life, new life, new creation life, to say, this is what’s coming. This is what you can anticipate. This is what it is like in some sense for you to see a body fit for the age of come which can eat a meal with you and walk through a wall.

 That is not dimensionally challenged for how time and eternity meet one another as heaven and earth join and creation is restored into the fullness of all that it gets to be. It doesn’t mean that “you stop being who you are and have to turn into something else called a soul or an angel or something else, because actually your humanity wasn’t really good, it was just sort of good, or it was a good first attempt, but when it comes to eternal life, your eternal life will be you as something else.”

 That has absolutely really nothing to do with the gospel, but it’s the way that (I think) as a child, I heard that. I don’t think I ever heard it preached to me except that it’s the falling into the language of “when our souls go to heaven.” It’s falling into the language of our hymns, where we sing “then sings my soul” as if there is sort of a different way of praising God in this deeper spiritual way of being, that if I can just ignore my body and not even have to deal with the shame that comes with being this embodied person, and just get into that spiritual place, then this is what I have to look forward to, is to shed this skin and be in this sort of disembodied new way of being. And I think that the reality is that (I didn’t realize this), but it was called Gnosticism.

 I remember when I was 21, I was about to get married, and I remember my husband saying something to me that was just very loving and adoring about me, and just, you know, loving me and my body. And I remember just reacting violently, just feeling betrayed by him that somehow he had sort of seen me as this embodied woman without seeing the real me, who I thought he really loved. And I remember just being so confused trying to explain to him why that was hurting me or upsetting me because he was truly confused about what was disturbing me.

 And I remember calling my dad to just try to talk to him. I said, “Dad, I’m caught. I can’t get Robert to understand why this feels awful, that he sort of focused in on my femaleness and not the real me.” And my dad listened to me on the phone very kindly and finally just quietly said, “Cherith, when did you become a Gnostic?” I had to stop and think about what a Gnostic is again. I was like, oh that’s right, that’s somebody who believes that the material world or anything that’s created, or has physicality to it, or a being to it is bad, and that only the soul is good and only the spiritual realm is good.

 And so I just stopped and I said, “Am I a Gnostic?” He says, “Well, honey, based on what you just said to me, I think you need to get saved!” He said, “You seem to think that Jesus saved your soul or something.” And he said, “He’s the incarnate one who celebrates your whole person, and you can’t be you without being you, Cherith, in your female body.” He says, “Who do you think it is that he loves? Just your soul?” And I realized, I am 21, and I was taken aback thinking, I think at some level I knew that mentally I should be able to say what he said to me, but deep in my heart, I did not know that.

 And so I started to go, in these last years, just looking at what it was that I was sort of just not seeing over and over and over in the New Testament text, that let me keep splitting out Jesus’ divinity from his humanity, kept splitting out my soul from my embodied life.

 I remember the day I was coming across the conversation that Jesus gets pulled into between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They’re all good Jews and they’re all well-trained, only the Sadducees are sort of trained a lot more in Greek thought and they have absolutely no time for or belief in the resurrection of the body, because who would ever resurrect a body? It’s no good!

 And here are the Pharisees, who are still holding to these sort of Old Testament promises through Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Isaiah and all of these deep new covenant promises that when the new creation is restored, when life comes back, it will be the flourishing of all creation and you will get your life back.

 So, here are these two groups arguing and pulling Jesus in, and so they set it up with the, you know, the woman marries the husband who dies and then marries the many, many brothers that he has, and so who is she going to be married to in the resurrection? I had been reading this because I had had a few friends of mine, men actually (I don’t know if that matters or not, but my theological studies, they are mostly men) and we were talking about Jesus’ human life and his ongoing embodiment and how that matters, and they said, “You know, I just don’t really understand as you’re doing this work that you’re doing and sort of challenging this feminist theology, etcetera, why these women feel like they need God to look like them when in heaven there will be no male or female, so it really doesn’t matter?”

 I remember just looking at them thinking, where do we get that? So they said, “You know, that, that debate that Jesus is in with the Sadducees and the Pharisees. We will be like the angels and there will be no marriage and giving in marriage in heaven.” And I went back to that and I thought, really? Is he going to turn me into something else? I’m really not going to be human for good, and I’m not going to be a soul, I’m going to be an angel or like an angel? This conversation and that text actually came up in the course of two weeks, completely different conversations, absolutely unrelated to one another, and I thought, there is something deeply serious going on here.

 In going back and just reading that story, listening to Jesus’ way of coming into that conversation and saying, oh children of the resurrection, you will be, in the sense, like the angels.

 It doesn’t really matter who she marries, because your question is all about who she will procreate with. Who will she carry the family line along with? Who gets to have her to bear the name? And the fact is, is that you’re not going to die, so this whole need to procreate and to create this ongoing lineage, this is a conversation which doesn’t fit resurrection life, which is eternal life. And you children of the resurrection have started to shift the plot into a completely different debate than what is authentic, which is that you will get your human life back.

 As I began to watch Jesus’ life and the promise of his resurrection, which he kept instilling as their only hope (that he too had to trust that the Father would raise him from the dead), because he wasn’t going to raise himself and he wasn’t saying, I’ll be back in three days, I’m just going to die and I’ll be back. He agonizes in this place of trusting that actually what he is doing is something that the Father will make an atoning eternity-changing reality and that he would, by the Spirit, bring him back to live in this whole new way that he has never died and hasn’t experienced and doesn’t know.

 So to begin then to listen and watch his 40 days of life and his insistence that his followers do not move until they too receive the Spirit, because there is no way that they are going to be able to begin to participate in the life that he has now guaranteed in his new humanity by the Spirit in the same way that he was already beginning to enact prior to his death and resurrection without the same Spirit that raised him from the dead.

 Paul uses that term over and over. Peter uses that term. John uses that term, “and the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead,” and “this Jesus whom you killed, God raised him from the dead and has seated him at the right hand of the Father, and with the Father has now poured out the Holy Spirit whom you see in here.”

 And as I just then started reading Acts, I realized every time these apostles are held before the Sanhedrin, before Roman leadership, before Hebrew (Jewish) leadership, what they are professing is that that one who you killed who you thought was just this carpenter from Nazareth and an imposter, was truly God incarnate, and how we know both that this was God present to us and what our future looks like is that he is resurrected.

 He is the firstborn from among the dead. He is the firstborn of a new humanity. He is, in Paul’s words, the new Adam, the progenitor of a new race, of human beings that aren’t broken anymore, that are restored to their beauty that God has held before the foundation of the earth and guaranteed by entering into his creation and becoming one with us and actually bearing that image perfectly.

 Not with a divine credit card. Not with access to secret God powers that make it easy for him so that his humanity isn’t really something I should take seriously, but to say, “I will enter into your condition completely, Cherith. I will take on the DNA of a mom. I’ll have the nose of my uncle. I’ll do the family business. People will have my furniture in their house. I will have to grow up as a teenage boy and obey in terms of my budding sexuality, my awareness of other people, my obedience to my parents, my trying to hear why it is that I am not getting betrothed when everybody else is,” you know, and trying to really understand his story and obey his story both as a true human, but as one who has really submitted to and listening to the Father all the time. Read more…

Message for the Day