John 20: The garden, gardener, and new creation

The passion narrative in John’s Gospel begins and ends in a garden. I don’t think this an accident. In the Gospel of John, John has been intentional in demonstrating how Jesus fulfills/super-cedes Jewish religion (Jesus is presented as the best now coming, greater than the temple, greater than all of the Jewish feasts, the light of the world, the fulfillment of passover, etc). Jesus has come as God in the flesh (Jn. 1:14), he is the place where heaven and earth meet (Jn 1:51), and now nearing the end of the Gospel of John Jesus is being portrayed quite intentionally as the new Adam (Romans 5:12-22). In other words, God’s work in Jesus especially through his victory over death (resurrection) is reversing the effects of Adam’s sin. In other words, God is creating/re-creating a new humanity –(2 Cor. 5:17).

As we approach Easter Sunday, we are reminded of the importance and the significance of the Resurrection and its implications:

1. The Resurrection promises us a new life now and forever – Jn. 10:10. Our sins are forgiven. Yes, but this isn’t the whole story.

2. The gospel, the good news is bigger than just sin management! Sin, darkness and death don’t have the last word (Isa. 53; Jn. 1:29, 19:14; 1 Jn. 1:9; Eph 1:7;Col.2:12; 1 Cor. 15:54-55)

3. God isn’t through with his creation just yet. God’s activity in Jesus is part of a larger plan, a larger theme that runs from Genesis 1 to the Eschaton. God is reclaiming the earth, or putting the world to rights  (Rom. 8:18-24 ; 1 Cor. 15:42-57; 2 Pet. 3:6-13, Isa. 11:1-9; 65:17-25; Rev. 21:1-4). It is interesting especially in 2 Peter 3 that what is being talked about here is this idea of rediscovering the true intentions of something. So, God is relaunching/redoing his intentions to live initmately with his creation like in Eden.

4. He is making us like Jesus – Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:27

5. He’s alive and living through us, and has  work for us to do! – Eph. 2:20; 2:10

We need to recapture a more holistic picture of the gospel. Jesus doesn’t just die for our sins, and offer us a chance to go to heaven. If we really want to capture a more truer picture of what heaven will be, let us not forget Matthew 6:9-13, where Jesus prayed that God would more it more like heaven here! Again I reference 2 Peter 3:13, “13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.”  Also let us not forget that in Rev. 21:1-4, the heaven comes to earth!  When heaven comes to earth, there will be no injustices, no more pain, no more tears, no more human trafficking, no more starvation, no more poverty, no more despair, no more coughs, colds, or cancers. When heaven comes to earth, righteousness will reign (2 Peter 3:16):

“The best simple translation of the word righteousness is ‘restorative justice.’ God is stepping into our brokenness and making things right, taking fragments shattered by sin and restoring them to fullness. The reality is that God is calling us to take part in his glory, which comes from heaven to earth, and to live in his abundance, together. Seeking his righteousness is about being an active agent for his restorative justice in all of creation” (The Gospel According to Jesus, Chris Seay, pp. 12)
So, if God is going to bring heaven here, then living here matters deeply. What we do while we are here waiting for the fullness of the reign of God is important. May we be renewed in our amazement of the story of God’s work in the world, his story to reclaim and renew all things! May you get caught up in this story and realize that as a Christian, you too are an agent of new creation!

About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
This entry was posted in Gospels, Jesus, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

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