Better Than a Do-Over: New Life in Jesus
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Have you ever wanted a do-over?
I sure have! When I thought I was having the time of my life, I was actually destroying my soul. I’d like to erase that decade and get a do-over. But as a believer, God provides something even better.
God re-creates our life.
In last week’s post we observed the women’s response to the resurrected Jesus near the tomb. This resurrection appearance occurs later that same day when Jesus joined his frightened disciples huddling in a locked room.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. John 20:19-20
In an instant the disciples exchanged anxious grief for laughter and cheers. What joy! He’s alive! After the whoops and hollers of their emotional reunion, Jesus restarts the conversation.
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you!” As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:21-22
Jesus breathes on them. I always thought that was a little strange. Why not a sweeping hand motion? Why breathe resurrected (but post dead-in-the-grave) breath on your friends? A smart pastor connected the dots for me: it’s a reenactment.
God creates and re-creates.
Let’s go all the way back to the creation story in Genesis.
The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7
God breathed life into humanity. And Jesus breathed new life into his disciples. God created us. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, re-creates us.
The Holy Spirit provides humanity’s do-over.
This reenactment is no accident. John begins his gospel with creation and brings us to re-creation.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In him was life, and that life was the light of men. John 1:1,4
We find life in Jesus. He brings light into our darkness. The Apostle Paul knew the power of re-creation. He was a murderous destroyer of Jesus followers yet became the greatest evangelist church planter. That’s a radically re-created life.
Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Eph 3:8
Paul tells the Gentiles that because they received God’s grace, they no longer identify as Gentiles. They have a new identity as children of God.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to take off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Eph 4:22-24
Jesus is better than a do-over. He is the re-creator.
God isn’t bothered by my rebellious past. He erased it as I hoped. I am a new creation in Christ. Baptism reenacts this death to the old life and rising to a new life. And as a believer in Christ, you have the breath of God, the breath of Jesus, his Holy Spirit in you.
Will you take a moment, close your eyes and breathe in God’s Spirit of life?
- Breathe in his love. Release your shame.
- Breathe in new life. Release the old one.
- Breathe in your new identity. Release your former self-image.
Repeat this often because re-creating you into his image is a Holy Spirit process. With your cooperation, God will re-create you into the person he intended you to be.
Our God creates and re-creates.
Share your story: If you’ve experienced the power of re-creation in your own life, please share your story in the comments. You never know who might be inspired or encouraged by your journey.
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Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
Ephesians 3:17 (NLT)
I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 (NLT)
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Amen! All my past is exactly that. It’s the past, it’s behind me, and like Paul, I strain to look forward to what is before me. What a great lesson you provide in your post today. We are in fact, new creations in Christ and it happened the moment we were born again into our eternal life. What a reason for joyous celebration and praise for the Giver of Life my friend. God’s blessings.
Me too J.D.! It took me a long time to release the guilt and shame. But God re-created me into a fully new person when I turned to him. I love the symbolism of the re-creation in this resurrection story. I think it points out the complete new creation that occurs immediately while the transformation into the image of God continues until we join him in eternity.
I find your opening so profound “When I thought I was having the time of my life, I was destroying it”. What an incredible awakening. Only with God’s grace did I have mine.
Love reading your SoS. Will work on the breath prayer.
Doing it our way leads to destruction, we just can’t see it. The awakening comes when we’re ready to receive God’s grace.
Cathy, I’m so thankful for my re-creation. Ever since then, God has been using my past for His glory. Amen!
Cathy, like you, I’ve had a rebellious past. I’m so grateful that Jesus is the re-creator. Not only have I received second chances (and more), my sins have been covered by the love and sacrifice of our Savior. Thank you for this uplifting and joyful message. We are so blessed.
Thanks for sharing this example. I never thought of the reason Jesus breathed on His disciples as a reenactment of the creation. Thankfully, He does give us a do-over in the new life. Even though my mind does revert back to the things I would like to undo, I am thankful He doesn’t condemn us but gives us His grace.