Summary: God creates all things "NEW" and this is shown throughout Scripture and becomes a reality in our own lives.
Dr. Hubbard at Fuller Seminary was speaking about the gospel of John and described it as a “new” gospel. He then explained how the Chapter 1 introduced the “new” Word—and the Word was God. Chapter 2 talks about “new” wine, better than that served before. We might guess that chapter 3’s focus is on the “new” birth considering Jesus’ late night discussion with Nicodemus. And chapter 4, he explained, shows how Jesus gives a “new” water that doesn’t ever disappoint.
John’s not alone in this theme of “newness”. Isaiah 42 and 43 speak of the “new” thing that God is doing. And our response to this “new” thing which was hidden from us is to sing a “new” song. The concept of a “new” heaven and “new” earth isn’t just in Revelation 21 but also in Isaiah 66. Through Jeremiah God tells us that He will make a “new” covenant in which we will have the law planted within our hearts. Ezekiel describes God’s work in terms of a “new” spirit that replaces a heart of stone (Ezekiel 11:19; 18:31 & 36:26). In John 13 Jesus gives us a “new” commandment and in Luke 22 we see Jesus at the last supper introducing us to a “new” covenant. And then there are the six or more time the Psalms speak about singing to God a “new” song.
Paul reminds the Corinthian church that the Church has been called to be ministers of this “new” covenant which gives life (3:6) and that because we are in Christ we are “new” creations (5:17). Beyond that we’re told that as we live out this life in Jesus we are to put on a “new” self (Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10). Because of Jesus we’ve been given a “new” birth into a living hope (1 Peter 1:3) and it is Jesus whom Hebrews declares is the mediator of this “new” covenant which opened to us a “new” and living way into God’s presence.
In Revelation the “new” heaven and “new” earth that Peter declares we are looking forward too becomes a reality (1 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21). And in the fullness of God’s kingdom we’re given a “new” name (Revelation 3:12); we will sing a “new” song (Revelation 5:9) and we will see the one seated on the throne who said “I am making (present perfect tense) everything ‘new’!”
It seems pretty clear that there is a pattern with God and that God is busy, still, doing a new thing, making people new, changing lives, reshaping our world, healing and the like. Yet it strikes me as odd that with all of this emphasis on “newness” we are so prone to hold on to the old? When you get down the root of the issue we like the old because it’s comfortable and safe and because we’re use to it. Our human attitude is we prefer that which we know to that which we don’t know. Let’s take our emotional investment in what makes us feel comfortable and set it aside. What if those concepts, ideas, thoughts and the like which allow us to be safe and comfortable are also empty; unable to give us life and, in fact, actually keep us from experiencing real life?
I have an old pair of shoes that are comfortable and well broken in. The soul has come apart from the upper. Even walking across a wet lawn allows my socks to get soaked. I’ve taken them in to two different places and they cannot be fixed. But they are my “comfortable” shoes I whine.
Consider this. If God were free to do something “new” with you, in you or through you what might He choose to do? Let me rephrase it. If Jesus had His way in your life what “new” thing would He cause to burst forth in your life? What would this “newness” do in your family, with your neighbors, the world or even in your own hearts and soul?
I believe that deep down within each of us is a desire to have God uses us in a world-shaking way. We may have lost the passion of that because it’s been buried under years of doing our own thing but it’s there because it’s a God-given part of our creation. Don’t get down on yourself because we’re not alone. For that matter we have two great examples of this in the story in John 5.
The lame man and the Jewish leaders both had lost their ability to see God move. The had become so locked into their own world of comfort that when confronted with Christ’s moving they are astounded by it.
The lame man knows how God moves. God moves the water and the first person in the water is healed. In 38 years he hadn’t seen it happen often but often enough that he still came down every day to wait and to beg (there was little else he could do). Over the course of the years he’d become comfortable with his excuses. When Jesus asks, “do you want to be healed he is quick to give an excuse rather than an answer.