Thursday 02 June 2022

Bible Book:

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you.' (v. 19)

John 20:19-23 Thursday 2 June 2022


At the beginning of the Bible is the story of Adam and Eve and their first act of disobedience as told in Genesis 3. They were in hiding, fearful, but God came looking for them "at the time of the evening breeze" (Genesis 3:8). God issued certain sanctions against them, and the consequence was that the gift of eternal life could not yet be theirs, and they had to leave the Garden of Eden. It's touching that God sits and makes clothes for them, like a mother sewing for her children (Genesis 3:21).

Why do I mention this? John’s Gospel has the theme of 'new creation' running through it. It’s clearly there in the prologue in John chapter 1, and there are hints and clues in almost every chapter. Jesus is presented not just as the Messiah who will bring in a new kingdom for God’s people, but as the Word of Life who will bring forth new creation for all. Here is Jesus reversing the old ways of sin and death that began in the Garden of Eden.

The day of Jesus' resurrection is the first day of the new creation breaking into this world while the old creation is still having its old way. The old ways of sin and death thought they had taken their revenge on God once and for all, but Jesus bursts from the tomb, into a new garden, on the first day of a new week.

In today's passage, we read that God comes again on the evening breeze, as Jesus stands among broken humanity (in the form of the disciples), and offers them not condemnation but peace; not exile but inclusion; not ‘sending away’ but sending out in mission. Jesus shows the disciples his healed scars from the crucifixion to show that God is making all things new. And he breathes on them, as God breathed life into the first humans. It is wind, it is breath, it is spirit, it is new life. Only this is no ordinary breath, no ordinary life, this is holy: the Holy Spirit, offered to them who are (by implication) forgiven and welcomed into God’s purposes.

Finally, as God clothed Adam and Eve to equip them for what was to come, Jesus here clothes the disciples with new responsibilities and privileges. As the Church, God’s new holy people, they are to be part of God’s work to forgive sins (or even to warn those still hell-bent on the old ways). And with forgiveness comes more opportunities for the new creation to break through, like shoots of green in a once-desolate wasteland, until 'God's new garden' is fully restored. 

To Ponder:

  • Do you ever feel like hiding away from God?
  • Have you ever known God breaking in to sit beside you? What does that feel like?
  • Do you know that God offers you the Holy Spirit for your life and work? How might you receive it?
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