Resurrection changes a person
When Jesus came back to life after three days in the tomb, he was changed. He still looked like a human. He still behaved like a human – he walked and talked, he ate and drank. But there was something different about him. His close friends and followers didn’t recognise him straight away. Of course, they weren’t expecting to see him alive, that was part of it. But it was more than that. Mary spoke with him in the garden, assuming he was the gardener and it wasn’t until he said her name that she saw him for he he was.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). John 20:15-16
Resurrection changes a person.
When we come out of a dark period in our lives, we are changed.
We emerge from the valley of the shadow of death different.
Suffering changes a person.
Others don’t recognise what they see in us. They comment about how different we are, maybe that they don’t really know us any more.
We’re not the person we were before.
We’ve been through the fire. We’ve faced up to things we’ve never faced up to before. We’ve learnt things about ourselves and about other people.
When we encounter the resurrection power of the living Jesus, we are transformed. A new creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
And then there’s Jonah. After three days in the belly of the whale, he’s vomited out onto dry land. And he is changed by the experience.
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” Jonah 3:1-4
God has not moved on. His initial command to Jonah still stands. Jonah hasn’t got away with it. He still has a choice to make: trust and obey or run and hide. This time, he obeys. He’s been through enough to know that there is nowhere to run. His belief in God is stronger. Maybe his belief in himself is stronger too. He’s been through a lot. God has stood by him. God has kept him safe. And he’s stepped up and had the courage to take the blame for the storm and accept the consequences.
He has been transformed by his experience.
This time, he doesn’t question God and he doesn’t question his own ability to carry through on what God is asking of him.
I like the detail about how Jonah takes the city a day at a time. He’s not overwhelmed by the enormity of the task before him. He takes it one day at a time, one section of the city at a time. Bitesize chunks.
He has a newfound courage. He’s found his voice. He’s taken on his role. He’s doing what he was created to do. He’s trusting God to give him the words to say and the courage to say them. He’s developed a strength and resilience and confidence that he didn’t have before.
He’s walking in the light. The way, the truth and the life. One small step at a time. One short sentence at a time.
Resurrection changes a person.