Tag Archives: N.T. Wright

Romans 1:16-17 – Righteousness of God

Romans 1:16–17 (ESV) — 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”



Significant Verses:

Concerning these verses, N.T. Wright says…

  • They are “a short summary of some of the most important truths ever heard by human ears.”
  • Douglas Moo calls them “theologically dense”.


And because of their importance Tom Schreiner points out…

  • “Virtually all scholars acknowledge that these verses are decisive for the interpretation of Romans.”
  • We will see why soon enough.



The Text:

So with these two verses, Paul begins to segue into the meat of his letter.

  • He does so with an acknowledgement of the awesome power of the Gospel – “the power of God” (vs. 16).
  • Something he has seen first hand.


Acts bears witness to this fact.

  • Acts 13:42–43 (ESV) — 42 As they went out [the synagogue at Antioch], the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.
  • Acts 16:14–15 (ESV) — 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
  • Acts 17:2–4 (ESV) — 2 And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.


N.T. Wright sums up the power Paul is talking about.

“Paul has discovered, through years of actually doing it, that when you announce Jesus as the crucified and risen Lord of the world something happens: the new world which was born when Jesus died and rose again comes to fresh life in the hearts, minds and lifestyles of the listeners, or at least some of them. This isn’t magic, though it must sometimes have felt like that. It is God’s power at work, through the faithful announcement of his son” – N.T. Wright.

  • “The proclamation of the gospel is so powerful that it effects salvation in those who believe” – Tom Schreiner.


BTW – When Paul speaks of salvation he is referring to the fulfillment of the “the saving promises made to Israel in the OT” – Tom Schreiner.

  • Fulfillment taking place in Christ!


Paul goes on to say that he is “not ashamed of the gospel” (vs. 16).

  • The reason – “it is the power of God for salvation” (vs. 16).


We need to consider that “ashamed” here is not primarily the psychological experience of shame.

  • It is that Paul is “prepared to confess the gospel publicly and bear witness to its saving power” – Tom Schreiner.
  • He is faithful to speak it without thought for himself.


This meshes with Wright’s speculation as to why Paul would find it necessary to say that he is “not ashamed by the gospel” (vs. 16)?

Paul may have had in mind a passage like Psalm 119:46: ‘I will speak of your decrees before kings, and I shall not be ashamed.’ That was what he intended to do. ‘At the name of Jesus,’ he wrote in another letter, ‘every knee shall bow’ (Philippians 2:10). That included Caesar” – N.T. Wright.


And remarkably this power that saves extends to Jew and Greek alike – “everyone who believes” (vs. 16).

  • T. Wright points out…
  • “One of the most explosive things about Paul’s gospel, rooted as it was in the Jewish scriptures and traditions, is that it broke through the barrier between Jew and Greek and declared that the saving love and power of the one God was available equally to all. That is central to this little passage, and it remains central throughout the letter” – N.T. Wright.


Then Paul, in one profound sentence, reveals a powerful connection that flows out of the Gospel.

The Gospel unites “the righteousness of God” with the believer through faith.

  • This is the “important truth” Wright spoke of.
  • This is the bit that Schreiner says is so “decisive” for understanding Romans.


Paul spells it out like this – something we have to unpack.

  • He says that, in the Gospel, “the righteousness of God” is “revealed from faith for faith” (vs. 17).
  • And then claims that the OT, through Habakkuk, has said as much.
  • Habakkuk 2:4 – “the righteous shall live by faith” (vs. 17).



Diving Deep:

What exactly does Paul mean in verse 17?

  • It is no wonder that Peter said…
  • 2 Peter 3:16b (ESV) — 16b There are some things in them that are hard to understand…


In order to understand Paul we need to understand at least a couple of things.

  • What does Paul mean when he speaks of “the righteousness of God” is revealed (vs. 17).
  • What does Paul mean when he says “from faith to faith” (vs. 17).



Righteousness of God:

What is the righteousness of God?

  • Guess what…“Defining the righteousness of God is crucial and intensely controversial” – Tom Schreiner.
  • But just about all agree that, “God is the one who has revealed his righteousness—the righteousness in question is his” – Tom Schreiner.
  • It is not ours – it is alien to us.


In answering the question we will oversimplify two main views.

  • I am including N.T. Wright’s view as a subset of the second view.


(1) Divine Gift or Forensic View

  • Forensic refers to something admissible in a court of law – in this case God’s law court.
  • On this view, “the ‘righteousness of God’ refers to the believer’s status before God” in His law court – Tom Schreiner.
  • This status consists of God’s righteousness, which has been given to us.


In other words, God as judge can legally declare that we are not guilty but are righteous.

  • The righteousness we have – our new status – is not our own; it is alien to us.
  • It is a free gift from God – the “righteousness of God” given (imputed) to believers.
  • This is justification – the most common view among evangelicals.


With respect to our text…

  • “On this view, Paul is asserting that the gospel reveals ‘the righteous status that is from God’” – Douglas Moo.


Importantly, this view holds that the “righteousness of Godis just “a matter of judicial standing, or status, and not of internal renewal or moral transformation” – Douglas Moo.

  • In other words, it is very narrow and reductionist.
  • Which leads us to the second view.


BTW – The forensic view came into it’s own with Luther and the reformation – why?



(2) Divine Activity View

  • “God’s righteousness is revealed in history as a divine activity in which God vindicates his people” – Tom Schreiner.
  • This activity is in the “the dynamic sense of ‘establishing right’” – Douglas Moo.


This view accepts that the individual has a new status, but says that is not enough – Schreiner.

  • It says that God’s righteousness is the active transforming of all His creation.


In other words, God is actively “righteousing” creation.

  • God is inaugurating a new reality – D.A. Carson.
    • A Kingdom of God reality.
  • This is why the Gospel has power to transform.

God’s righteousness then, is all of God’s saving work and activity – calling, regeneration, promise fulfilling, covenant faithfulness, status giving, etc.


N.T. Wright might help us here.

  • He calls the righteousness of God “God’s covenant justice”.
  • And frames it around God’s covenant faithfulness – a divine activity.


Wright says…

“God’s covenant with Abraham was always intended as the means by which the creator God would rescue the whole world from evil, corruption and death. God intends to keep to this purpose and this promise, so that he can bring his restorative justice to the whole world. That is, in the end, what ‘God’s righteousness’ or ‘God’s justice’ means. I have translated the word as ‘God’s covenant justice’ here in order to hold all these ideas together. As it’s one of the central themes in the letter, it’s vital that we get it straight” – N.T. Wright.


He then applies this idea to our text.

“When the gospel of Jesus is announced, then, Paul declares that through it we can see at last how God’s ‘justice’, his ‘covenant faithfulness’, or in older language his ‘righteousness’, have been unveiled. This is how God has put the world to rights, declares the gospel message about Jesus, and this is how God will put you to rights as well!” – N.T. Wright.


Summing up this view with respect to our text…

  • Paul is asserting that the gospel reveals the saving, transforming activity of God through the fulfillment of His OT promises in Christ.
  • Something far more than just the giving of a new status.


This makes even more sense given the parallel in verse 18.

  • Paul says, “the wrath of God is revealed…
  • The wrath of God is clearly not a gift, but a divine activity of God involving judgment, etc.
  • Likewise, God’s righteousness is a divine activity breaking into the world and setting it right.



Which One:

The forensic view, as we said, seems overly reductionist.

  • It constrains the “righteousness of God” to be only that which revolves around humans and their individual salvation.
  • It confines it to the concept of justification.
  • And it doesn’t appear to account for the OT’s use of God’s righteousness.


The transformative view seems to better accommodate the entire scope of the “righteousness of God“.

  • Douglas Moo puts it like this…

The transformative view, i.e., “God’s saving activity—receives strongest support [from the OT]. When ‘righteousness’ is attributed to God, it has this meaning more than any other; and it is God’s ‘righteousness’ in this sense—a saving, vindicating intervention of God—that the prophets say will characterize the eschatological deliverance of God’s people” – Doug Moo.

  • He goes on to say, “we would expect this notion of saving activity to be included when he announces the revelation of ‘the righteousness of God’” – Doug Moo.


And yet, Moo and Schreiner, at the end of the day, say both.

“Could we not take ‘righteousness of God’ here to include both God’s activity of ‘making right’—saving, vindicating—and the status of those who are so made right, in a relational sense that bridges the divine and the human?” – Douglas Moo.

  • Answer – Yes!


So what is the relationship of the “righteousness of God” to faith/faithfulness?



Revealed From Faith For Faith (vs. 17):

The Greek in verse 17 is “ek pisteos eis pistis”.

  • It literally means “out of” or “from” faith “into” or “unto” faith.


There is a lot of debate over the meaning of this text.

  • This is why there are some interesting differences between translations.
  • The NET says “revealed in the gospel from faith to faith”.
  • The NIV says “is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last”.
  • The NLT says “is accomplished from start to finish by faith”.


Both Schreiner and Moo discount most attempts to understand this text.

  • Some examples of what they see as failed attempts are…
  • “From the faith of the OT to the faith of the NT; from the faith of the law to the faith of the gospel; from the faith of the preachers to the faith of the hearers; from the faith of the present to the faith of the future; from the faith of words we hear now to the faith that we will possess what the words promise; from the faithfulness of God to the faith of human beings; from the faithfulness of Christ to the faith of human beings; from smaller to greater faith; from faith as the ground to faith as the goal” – Tom Schreiner.


Because of all the diversity Schreiner advises caution.

  • “The radical diversity of interpretations in a phrase containing ambiguity should give us pause” – Tom Schreiner.


Schreiner and Moo opt for what they see as the simplest interpretation.

  • “The [phrase] is rhetorical and is intended to emphasize that faith and ‘nothing but faith’ [as opposed to works] can put us into right relationship with God” – Douglas Moo.
  • The phrase simply declares that “the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel by means of human faith” – Schreiner.


This “simpler” view, then, emphasizes human faith.

  • The NIV picks up on this view.
  • Romans 1:17 (NIV) — 17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith [whose faith? – our faith] from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”


However, there was one view sandwiched within Schreiner’s list that is advocated by N.T. Wright.

  • The view – that the phrase means “from the faithfulness of God to the faith of human beings”.
  • This view emphasizes God’s faithfulness and the necessity that we be part of it.


The following question highlights the value of this view.

When one is dependent upon the righteousness of God to be put right – both His divine activity and His giving status – upon whose faith do we count on to consummate the whole deal – God’s or ours?


BTW – This reminds me of Jesus’s statement in John 2 to unbelievers.

  • He said He did not entrust Himself to them.
  • If you are not the part of God’s faithfulness expressed in Christ you are doomed.


N.T. Wright spell is out for us.

  • Paul is telling us “to have faith in [God’s] faithfulness” – God’s divine activity.
  • Something God Himself advocated throughout the OT every time He reminded Israel that He brought them out of Egypt.


For Wright, the phrase plays out like this.

  • The “from faith” is God’s “faithfulness [revealed] in Jesus to the promises he made long ago” – N.T. Wright.
  • The “to faith” is the faith and trust we have in God and His divine activity – His righteousness; His faithfulness; His Son.


The two go together like this:

“God has been faithful to his purposes and promises; if you want to benefit from this, you must have an answering faithfulness, that ‘believing obedience’ he spoke of in verse 5” – N.T. Wright.


Paul’s use of Habakkuk, Wright suggests, bears this out.

  • “Habakkuk…was faced with a great catastrophe coming on Israel and had to learn to hold on and trust God, to have faith in his faithfulness” – N.T. Wright.


D.A. Carson’s view of Habakkuk seems to back up Wright’s take:

“Paul sees the call of the Lord upon the prophet to ‘live’ by the Lord’s faithfulness in the face of the Babylonian invasion as a pattern of the Lord’s saving work (or type) that has come to fulfillment in the gospel, which imparts faith in the face of the eschatological wrath of God, which is already present in the world” – D.A. Carson.


Carson fleshes this out further.

“The ‘faithfulness’ of which Habakkuk writes is the faithfulness of the Lord to fulfill the promise of salvation given in the ‘vision’ [vision from Habakkuk 2:2]” – D.A. Carson.

  • Carson even translates the Habakkuk text…
  • “But the righteous one shall live by the faithfulness of the vision/Yahweh” – D.A. Carson.


Carson sums it up like this:

  • The believer “participates in the Gospel” by faith – Carson.


In other words, we participate in God’s faithfulness (His activity) by our faith!

  • The focus, then, is on God’s faith/faithfulness!
  • Carson and Wright don’t agree on much, but they seem to agree on this.




Paul, setting up the rest of Romans, has thus far declared in his letter…


Jesus is the Son of God.

  • This means that the standing before God of both Jew and Gentile depend on being joined to God’s Son.
  • And, to what God is doing in history through His Son.
  • For only in Him do we find the ultimate expression of both Israel’s faithfulness to God and God’s faithfulness to Israel.


Moreover, it has always been (see OT) that God’s divine activity – His righteousness…

  • Consists of both God’s faithfulness and promise keeping.
  • And that we can count on the promises of God through Christ because of God’s faithfulness.
    • A faithfulness we are joined to/participate in by our faith.
  • So that those who receive the revealed righteousness of God – His divine activity – by faith are given a free gift of alien righteousness – a righteousness that is not ours.
  • So in God’s law court they are justified; they are found not guilty – an act that is itself evidence of God’s faithfulness.
  • So the Gospel is primarily about God and His faithfulness – not about us, ours and going to heaven.



John 20:30-31 – Gospel Writing and Signs


I want to deal with a couple of things quickly and then spend more time on:

  • John’s role in writing his Gospel.
  • The signs he wrote about.


John tells us that he wrote his Gospel “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ” (vs. 31).

  • We spoke last week of Thomas’ confession that Jesus is the “kyrios” which includes Jesus as Messiah.
  • So we needn’t revisit the meaning of this confession now.
  • However, we can quickly survey John for the presence of His stated purpose.


Jesus the Messiah – a few examples:

  • John 3:28 (ESV) — 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’
    • John the Baptist testifies that Jesus is the Messiah.
  • John 4:25–26 (ESV) — 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
    • Jesus tells the woman at the well that He is the Messiah.
  • John 7:40–43 (ESV) — 40 When they heard these words, some of the people said, “This really is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “This is the Christ.” But some said, “Is the Christ to come from Galilee? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the offspring of David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?” 43 So there was a division among the people over him.
    • A crowd at Jerusalem testifies that Jesus is the Messiah.


Now, the purpose of this purpose, John tells us, is to bring life.

  • If we believe that Jesus is the Messiah, we will “have life in his name” (vs. 31).
  • What is this life?


We recently spent 12 weeks or so studying resurrection.

  • We learned that the phrase “eternal life” literally refers to “life in the age to come”.
  • And in second-Temple Judaism, “life in the age to come” is bodily resurrection life.
  • Is John alluding to this?


I think it is clear that resurrection is a significant part of John’s meaning.

  • The intermediate stage of heaven, and even the present life lived before death under Jesus’ Messiahship can certainly be in view as well.
  • But the following texts are unmistakably resurrection verses.
  • John 5:24 (ESV) — 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
    • We know this is resurrection life both because judgment happens at resurrection and eternal life is “life in the age to come” which is resurrection life.
  • John 5:29 (ESV) — 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
  • John 6:40 (ESV) — 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
    • “life in the age to come” = “eternal life” = “raise him up on the last day”
  • John 6:54 (ESV) — 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
  • John 11:25 (ESV) — 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
    • Live how? – Through resurrection life.


D.A. Carson sums up well John’s stated purpose and the purpose of his stated purpose.

“He writes in order that men and women may believe a certain propositional truth, the truth that the Christ, the Son of God, is Jesus, the Jesus whose portrait is drawn in this Gospel. But such faith is not an end in itself. It is directed toward the goal of personal, eschatological salvation: that by believing you may have life in his name. That is still the purpose of this book today, and at the heart of the Christian mission (v. 21)” – D.A. Carson.





which are not written in this book” (vs. 30) & “many other things that Jesus did

  • When we think about the inspiration of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16) it is worth considering to the extent possible, what the writers’ role in this process was.
  • Clearly, we believe, as Jesus taught in John, that the Holy Spirit aided the disciples in remembering the words of Jesus and what they meant.
    • John 14:26 (ESV) — 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.


But we need to be aware that the Gospel writers compiled Jesus’ teachings, His signs and wonders, and His actions in ways that reflected their personalities, style and purpose.

  • For example, “Peter and the Beloved Disciple represent two different kinds of discipleship: active service and perceptive witness” – Richard Bauckham.
  • These perspectives manifested themselves in their writings.


For example, John admits to us that he edited His Gospel to exclude many of Jesus’ signs – “Jesus did many other signs…which are not written” (vs. 30).

  • But he did so for a specific purpose – “so that you many believe” (vs. 31).
  • “John restricted his choice of signs to a group that were especially instructive” – Beasley-Murray.


Another example that may demonstrate John’s “perceptive witness” is how he weaves into his Gospel the story of a “cosmic lawsuit” – Richard Bauckham.

This lawsuit, “includes the literal events of judicial proceedings against Jesus by the Jewish authorities, acting in the name of the ‘law’ of Moses, and by Pilate. In deutero-Isaiah [Isaiah 40-55] YHWH brings a case against the gods of the nations and their supporters in order to determine the identity of the true God. He calls on the worshipers of the other gods to demonstrate their reality and supremacy, while he himself calls as witnesses his people Israel and the figure of the Servant of YHWH. It is this lawsuit that the Gospel of John sees taking place in the history of Jesus, as the one true God demonstrates his deity in controversy with the claims of the world. He does so by calling Jesus as chief witness and by vindicating him, not only as true witness but also as incarnate representative of God’s own true deity” – Richard Bauckham.


In Isaiah, we saw that the chief witness was the Servant of YHWH.

  • In John’s Gospel, this is Jesus.
  • But John also presents us 6 more witnesses for a total of seven.
    • We will encounter this number seven again in a moment.


“The seven witnesses, in order of appearance, are John the Baptist (1:7, etc.), Jesus himself (3:11, etc.), the Samaritan woman (4:39), God the Father (5:32), Jesus’ works or signs (5:36), the Scriptures (5:39), and the crowd who testify about Jesus’ raising of Lazarus (12:17)” – Richard Bauckham.

  • Isaiah 43:10 (ESV) — 10aYou are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.”
  • John 5:36 (ESV) — 36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.
  • John 20:30–31 (ESV) — 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


Luke also shows us the nature of the Gospel writers’ involvement.

  • Luke 1:1–4 (ESV) — 1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.
  • He tells us that he “followed all things closely” and that he was a recipient of eyewitness testimony.
  • So from both the eyewitness testimony and his own research, he decided to “write an orderly account” of what Jesus did and taught.


There are a few important implications concerning the writers’ of the Gospel from these insights.

  • (1) They weren’t robots.
  • (2) “The first Christians were not all illiterate peasant laborers and craftsmen, as the form critics supposed, but evidently included people who studied the Scriptures with current exegetical skills and could write works with the literary quality of the letter of James” – Richard Bauckham.
  • (3) “The early Christian movement was interested in the genuinely past history of Jesus…” – Richard Bauckham.
    • As we said last week, Christianity is not just spiritual it is profoundly historical.





John admits that there were many other signs Jesus performed.

  • However, he chose not to write about them.
  • What he did choose to do is to highlight signs that helped serve his stated purpose.
  • And in fact, He specifically highlighted seven signs just as he highlighted seven witnesses.


What are the signs?


Kostenberger, who specializes in John, spent a great deal of time seeking a definition of a “sign” from John’s Gospel and came up with the following:

“A sign [in John] is a symbol-laden, but not necessarily ‘miraculous,’ public work of Jesus selected and explicitly identified as such by John for the reason that it displays God’s glory in Jesus who is thus shown to be God’s true representative (cf. 20:30–31)” – Andreas Kostenberger.


There are six signs in John that are recognized indisputably as signs – Kostenberger.

  • 1) Water into wine (2.1-11)
  • 2) The official’s son (4.46-54)
  • 3) The paralysed man at the pool (5.2-9)
  • 4) Multiplication of loaves (6.1-14)
  • 5) The man born blind (9.1-7)
  • 6) The raising of Lazarus (11.1-44)


And most agree, given the symbolic importance in John of “seven”, that there must be a seventh sign.

  • The problem is that though “commentators widely agree on six Johannine ‘signs’” there is not much consensus on the seventh – Kostenberger.


The most common candidate is when Jesus walked on water in John 6.

  • Andreas Kostenberger makes a very good case that the seventh sign is when Jesus cleared the temple.
  • N.T. Wright, however, argues that the seventh sign is Jesus’ crucifixion.
    • I find his reasoning fascinating.


He says, “the crucifixion is the climax and culmination of the ‘signs’ which Jesus has given, following the sevenfold sequence of the old creation” – Wright.

  • The “climax and culmination” of creation was the sixth day – a Friday.
  • The “climax and culmination” of Jesus’ work was the sixth day – a Friday.
  • Wright suggests John wants us to make the connection.
  • Why?


He says that the sequence of the seven signs “was always about the new creation bursting in on the old” – Wright.

  • John wants us to see the parallel between these two creations and how Jesus was at the center of both.
  • In Genesis, creation burst into existence from nothing through the “Word”.
  • In John 20, new creation burst into existence from the resurrection of the “Word”.


How does John’s Gospel make this connection?


“John declares from the start, with the obvious allusion to Genesis 1.1, that his book is about the new creation in Jesus” – N.T. Wright.

  • Wright, and virtually everyone else, says that “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1) is a clear allusion to the beginning of creation in Genesis – “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1).
  • And let’s not forget the parallel between the breath of life from Genesis and the resurrection breath of Jesus in John 20.


Additionally, we can’t forget the “first day” parallel.

  • And there was evening and there was morning, the first day” (Gen. 1:5).
    • In Genesis, creation began on the first day.
  • In John 20, John makes sure that we are aware that “Easter was ‘the first day of the week’” – N.T. Wright.
    • Now on the first day of the week” (John 20:1)
    • the first day of the week” (John 20:19)


In other words, in John 20, the “first day” brought the beginning of a new creation grounded in Jesus’ resurrection.

So “with the resurrection itself, the ultimate ‘sign’ which will explain what Jesus has been doing” new creation has begun – N.T. Wright.

  • “Easter is the start of the new creation” – N.T. Wright.


It is worth repeating.

  • In Genesis, creation burst into existence from nothing through the “Word”.
  • In John 20, new creation burst into existence from the resurrection of the “Word”.


Wright also suggests that the parallels John is drawing to Genesis 1 go beyond the first day of creation.

  • He argues that John intends us to note direct parallels to days 6 and 7 of creation as well.

“On the sixth day of the creation narrative, humankind was created in the divine image; on the sixth day of the last week of Jesus’ life, John has Pilate declare, ‘Behold the man!’ echoing the creation of humankind on the sixth day of creation” – N.T. Wright.

  • “And, On the cross [on the sixth day] Jesus finishes the work the father has given him to do (17.4), ending with the shout of triumph (tetelestai, ‘it is accomplished’, 19.30), corresponding to the completion of creation itself” – N.T. Wright.
  • “The seventh day is the day of rest for the creator; in John, it is the day when Jesus rests in the tomb” – N.T. Wright.
    • Genesis 2:2 (ESV) — 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done.
  • We need to remember, the link is metaphorical here not literal.


We could continue by now showing how these seven signs and resurrection demonstrated that Jesus is the Messiah.

  • The very thing John intended then to show.
  • But we dealt with that a little last week.
  • I think we get it.
  • They not only show that Jesus is the Messiah, but that the Messiah is God.