In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Now on the first day of the week…
Jesus is Alive! It is a truth we should celebrate every day. This time of year, when we typically celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ, is a wonderful time to read again the crucifixion and resurrection narratives in the Gospel accounts. As you read through the Gospel accounts, you will see how the authors develop certain themes. When we come to the end of John’s Gospel, we see John tying in the ideas of Christ, the Author of creation and Christ, the Author of the new creation.
The introductory verses of John’s gospel (1:1-18) come together in the resurrection account of chapter 20. John begins by quoting Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning.” John’s birth narrative predates history – Jesus Christ is the Word, the eternal Son of God, and all things were made through him (1:3). John’s birth story is one verse: 1:14 – “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
Also in the prologue it is introduced that the Word gives the right to all who receive Him to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. He wills creation and He wills the new creation too.
We notice in John 20:1 that the resurrection takes place on the “first day of the week.” This points us to a new creation. On the sixth day of the creation week, mankind was made in the image of God. On the sixth day of the last week of Jesus’ life, Pilate declares, “Behold the Man.” John is the only one who records this. In Genesis the seventh day of creation was the day of rest. In John, the seventh day is the day Jesus rests in the tomb. Now it’s the first day of the new week, and the One who was light and life (1:4-5) comes to life again. Mary comes to the tomb while it is still dark, and she discovers that the tombstone has been rolled away. The light and life has conquered the darkness!
Also we see in 20:17 how John connects 1:12-13. Jesus said, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” They are now children of God too in their own right. Reading chapter 20 in the light of the prologue, we understand that the death and resurrection of Jesus have together affected for the disciples the new birth (1:13, 3:1-8). We should not be surprised then when we read 20:22 when Jesus breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” just as Yahweh breathed his life into the life of Adam (Genesis 2:7). (***There is so much about God’s electing grace in John’s gospel that I can’t get to it here***)
To quote N.T. Wright, “The resurrection matters for John because he is, at his very heart, a theologian of creation. The Word, who was always to be the point at which Creator and creation came together in one, is now, in the resurrection the point at which Creator and new creation are likewise one.”
Finally, notice the connection between 1:18 and Thomas’ confession in 20:28 – “No one has ever seen God: the only-begotten God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” Christ revealed the Father to us. Jesus could say, “If you have seen me you have seen the Father.” Now Thomas declares, “My Lord and My God!”
It matters that the resurrection took place. Jesus fully satisfied divine justice. God’s wrath is fully absorbed and death has been conquered. Christ gives life to all whom the Father has given him and He ever lives to make intercession for them! Jesus is Lord of Creation and the New Creation!