THE FIRSTBORN OVER ALL CREATION
Entering into the story…
To be like Jesus, as resurrected and renewed human persons, is not just our future hope. It is our present calling. John’s first letter twice exhorts the church that the sign of being in God’s love, individually and communally, is that “in this world” we are to look “like Jesus”! Listening to Jesus and the Father by the Spirit, we are to participate with the Triune God in the life of the Kingdom already in our midst, empowered to participate in both glory and suffering. – Cherith Nordling
Read the passage linked below and imagine the scene as if you were a movie director working with the characters. Often, we do not enter scripture with our humanity intact and we do not dignify the characters we find there by giving them their humanity in return. The goal of Lectio Divina is to meditate on the scene we find there and allow the characters to speak to us by vividly imagining the scene as if we are standing there physically too. Ask Holy Spirit to make the scenario come to life as you read using all of your senses to visualise everything in the scene…
John 20:1-29 – Jesus Comes back in a Fully Human, Resurrected Body.
Jesus starts popping up everywhere. He reappears in a human but incorruptible, resurrected body. He must look similar but not immediately recognisable. Most of those He appears to He has seen in the last week, yet, when Mary sees Him or the two disciples on the road to Emmaus or when the other disciples or Thomas see Him at first, they are stunned when it dawns on them! Still, He is human, He can be touched, seen, interacted with and He speaks to them. Often He asks for food. His humanity is fully intact. He is the prototype of what we will be, since we are made in the image of God at the start, we will also be made in the image of God in Christ in the end. How amazing.
He’s back! Imagine the surprise? What would you be feeling if you were in the room? If you were Mary? Or the two on the road back to Emmaus? Or if you were Thomas who immediately says, “I will only believe if I can touch His wounds?” Ok, lets stop there for a second… Why does Jesus in His resurrected incorruptible eternal body, carry His wounds? What does this mean? This is not my idea of perfection? If He did not have the scar tissue, would Thomas have believed? Poor Thomas is now always known as “Doubting Thomas”. Yet, if you were there to see the wounds yourself, I think we would be fascinated too. I might want to touch them as well… Indeed, Jesus gives them full access to His side, His head, His hands, His feet. The marks are all over His body, though there is no pain. What does this mean to you? The lamb slain from before the foundations of the world is now back from the dead and He retains the marks of His sacrifice. What a way to memorialise His redemption of all things?
If Jesus’ story of His life and death and resurrection are carried forward into the prototype of what we will all become as imagebearers of God in the new Creation If His story is etched into His body, will we also carry marks from this life into the next? I don’t know… We don’t become something else, we become embodied spiritual human beings, in the final resurrection just as Jesus did here! How wonderful and weird to think about! 1 Corinthians 15 is all about Resurrection and it is fascinating to read.
1) Prepare: Close your eyes, breathe, clear your mind, and ask God to enter into this time of prayer with you. Ask God to speak to you through this image.
2) Lectio (read): Open your eyes and scan the image. Note what draws your interest, but continue to scan the whole image. Close and rest your eyes a minute.
3) Mediatio (meditate): Open your eyes and let your eyes be led. Focus on just the part of the image that caught your eyes and name it. Close your eyes, seeing that piece of the image in your mind.
4) Oratio (pray): Open your eyes and look again at the piece of the image that caught your eye. Allow it to bring forth a word, image, or emotion. Close and rest your eyes.
5) Contemplatio (contemplation): Open your eyes and gaze at the whole image. What is God speaking to you today through this image? How will you respond to Him? Spend time processing that with God. Pray or journal about it.
In John 21, a very interesting thing happens. Peter, the same disciple who refused to believe that Jesus would die, but who had correctly stated that Jesus was the messiah, had gone on to deny Jesus three times. On the third time, when Peter swore he did not know that man, Jesus and Peter’s eyes locked. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times” – Luke 22:61
Judas and Peter had both betrayed their master and denied him. Judas committed suicide as a result. What had Peter done? All of the disciples were left reeling by the events of a few days ago. They were left disappointed, confused and destitute. Their Messiah was in the grave. So what would they do? It turns out that for most of them, what they knew was fishing, so they went back to what they were familiar with. Peter and John and a few others were back in the boat when a familiar figure greeted them from the beach, yelling out, “have you caught anything?” It turned out they had not. Nothing all night long. Nothing to show for it. The figure told them to throw their nets over the other side and they weren’t strong enough to pull all the fish in. It seems their story was about to turn full circle. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Master!”
When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren’t far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish. When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it. Peter did not hesitate. I am sure he was not sure what would happen next if he did run towards Jesus, but he also did not dive overboard and swim away. I am sure it took as much courage to run toward Him as he had mustered before to walk on water out to Jesus. He dove into the water and rushed toward Jesus. What a weird situation. What do you say to a friend who is back from the grave? I’m not sure what the protocol is for that. I’m sure it was pretty awkward, but Jesus softened the blow by telling them breakfast was ready. The scenario was so familiar and yet, Jesus was back and different all at the same time. There was no doubt it was really Him!
They ate together. 15 After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Master, you know I love you.”Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Master, you know I love you.”
Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.” 17-19 Then he said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”Peter was upset that he asked for the third time, “Do you love me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go. He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then he commanded, Follow me”.
Three times Jesus asked that heart wrenching question and I am sure that the questions rang in Peter’s ears as he recalled his denial. Three times. Heart breaking, Peter reaffirms His love for His master. I’m sure it was harder to do each time Jesus asked. Yet, this is a beautiful, vulnerable and intrinsically human exchange between Jesus and Peter. Two human beings exchanging heartfelt words and a restoration of a disciple.
Christ has wounds
Creation has wounds
The Church has wounds
The World has wounds
So we all have a Saviour who is wounded and by His wounds will heal all as the sacrificial lamb and High Priest over all.
Embodied Spirituality in Practice
A DISCIPLINE OR PRACTICE TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR LIFE.
INSPIRATION AND PRACTICAL APPLICATION FROM A CREATIVE
This is a chance to express yourself creatively. Perhaps something in this part of the timeline has challenged, excited or inspired you. You may want to think about how your could express that through drawing, writing, painting, filming, designing or photographing something to share with others here at creativeimagebearers.com.
So write a haiku, poem, song or create a piece to express yourself and share it with us!
Final Take-Away to give context…
PROVOKE THOUGHTS, QUESTIONS…
esus’ death was torturous. He said to the Father, ”If there is any other way, let this cup pass from me”, but then submitted sacrificially to have His body broken and His blood poured out for us, a sacrificial lamb. He is the image of God sacrificed for all imagebearers to be found in Him. He also said, “Take up your cross and follow me!” So, we are called to follow the lamb of God to the cross too. We are not promised safety, what God has done in Jesus, He longs to do in us. So, just as Jesus’s body was laid into the grave, it was the same body that was raised back to life. Just as He suffered much, we will also suffer. As the world hated Him, it will hate us. But be of good cheer, He has conquered the world, sin and death and by this one seed falling into the ground and dying, all of us, in resurrected bodies like His will be raised up when He returns again and makes all things new. Heaven and earth united.
e took His excellence to the cross and became nothing for us. He lived a life of sacrifice, a man under authority to the Father and submitted to the Holy Spirit moment by moment. In the Garden of Gethsemane he begged, “Let this cup pass from me, but not my will, your will be done.” This was a man who was totally submitted to God. What He models in life, He also modelled in death. Like Isaac he laid down His life. Jesus becomes the fulfilment of every covenant in life and in death, He is the fulfilment of the sacrifice to make a way for all creation, all families, every nation and ushers in a new kingdom, everlasting and incorruptible. One not made by human hands and everlasting. He is the prototype of this new reality.
ust as Jesus has a resurrected body, so will we. He is the first-fruits of the New Creation: A new Heaven and a New Earth. In fact all of reality will be redeemed and recreated based on Him. Just as we were made in the image of the Word of God in the beginning. So, all will be made anew in the image of Him in the end. All things will be placed at His feet. He is incarnate now, after the ascension and seated at the right hand of God once more. The second person of the Trinity and the second Adam for ever. What God did in Christ, perfecting Him in His suffering. He will do in us too. So, if we suffer, we recoginise the deeper purpose of pain is to make us in His image, in life, in death and in the kingdom to come. We will rule and reign with Him as His creative imagebearers both now and forever.