Ezekiel 37: New life (part four)

This is the final day of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin chapter 37 with us starting with Monday’s post.

So far in chapter 37 we’ve seen this promise of new life for God’s people, and how it was brought about by Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. It was both a spiritual resurrection (the indwelling Holy Spirit now) and a physical resurrection (raised to life when Jesus returns). And we’ve seen how Ezekiel looked forward to a reunification of God’s people Israel, which includes people from all nations – which is how we get to be a part of the story.

But what does that future resurrection really look like?

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Ezekiel 37: New life (part three)

This is week four of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us starting with Monday’s post.

Yesterday, we saw how Jesus defeated death on behalf of his people, and rose again so they could have new life: both spiritual resurrection (the gift of the Holy Spirit) and a future physical resurrection (when Jesus returns). But how is this our story? We end up asking that each week, don’t we? Because so far tonight: this is Israel’s story. God’s people in the Old Testament. And Jesus turns up as the fulfilment of their story. What’s that got to do with us?

The two-stick magic trick

Thankfully, God gets Ezekiel to perform a magic trick to explain it. Back to the passage, starting at verse 15:

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Ezekiel 37: New life (part two)

This is week four of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us starting with Monday’s post.

Yesterday we left Israel as a zombie army that had been reassembled from dried up bones, waiting for the breath of God to enter them and give them new life. When did this happen, and how?

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Ezekiel 37: New life (part one)

This is week four of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us starting today.

In April this year, I was with my mother when she took her last breath. They’d been difficult, hard-fought breaths as her 18-month battle with cancer came to an end. And suddenly, there were none. Her body no longer had the breath of life in it.

At moments like those, the promise of new life for God’s people takes on supreme importance. We want to know what it really means. Beyond the big haired, big-smiled sales pitch that offers Jesus as the path to “your best life now.” Beyond the glib assurances that “she’s in a better place.” What does this new life we talk about mean, right now, when it matters most?

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Ezekiel 36: A new heart (part five)

This is week three of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us starting from Monday’s post.

Today, we’re finishing off our look at Ezekiel chapter 36: the new heart God promised via Ezekiel, and then delivered in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. We saw that if we’ve joined God’s people, we’ve been given that heart transplant, too.

Living with our new heart

So what are the post-operative instructions? How do we make sure our body doesn’t reject the transplant?

Simply this: get on board with what God is doing.

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Ezekiel 36: A new heart (part four)

This is week three of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us starting from Monday’s post.

Yesterday, we saw how Jesus turned up announcing good news: the new heart promised in Ezekiel 36 was coming. A donor heart was on its way! Today, we see how that happened, and how we fit in to the story.

How did the transplant happen?

Well, just like with any heart transplant, someone first has to die. And this is where Jesus separates himself from every other religious and philosophical guru who’s ever tried to show us how we should live. He doesn’t just paint this Utopian picture of a people living with changed, obedient hearts—and then call us all, somehow, to live up to it. To change ourselves. No, he paints that picture and then makes it possible.

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Ezekiel 36: A new heart (part three)

This is week three of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us starting from Monday’s post.

We finished yesterday with the realisation that Israel didn’t deserve their new heart—and neither do we. Our only hope is to become part of this reboot God’s preparing to perform on his people, and to share in that new heart. Let’s continue the story:

God himself performs the surgery

Ezekiel 36:24 ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.’

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Ezekiel 36: A new heart (part two)

This is week three of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us starting from Monday’s post.

Yesterday, we saw God prepping the patient for the coming heart transplant: he was preparing the land for his people’s return from exile.

The patient doesn’t deserve a transplant

Not that they deserve it, of course. I mean, the next part of the chapter reminds them of this quite graphically:

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Ezekiel 36: A new heart (part one)

This is week three of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us today.

On the 3rd of December, 1967, a team of doctors in South Africa performed the world’s first successful heart transplant. The recipient was a 53 year old man who was dying from chronic heart disease. He received his new heart from a young woman who died in a car accident, aged 25. They took out his old, dying heart—and put a new one in. And for 18 days the new heart functioned perfectly.

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Ezekiel 34: A new leader (part five)

This is week two of a series in Ezekiel 33-37, about God’s promised reboot of his people. If you’ve just joined, you can either go to the start of the series, or simply begin the new chapter with us starting from Monday’s post.

We finish chapter 34 this week by asking the question raised by Ezekiel’s description of “the coming Era of Good Shepherding” (34:17-31), the just reign of God ushered in by the Good Shepherd. What does that just reign of God look like? I suppose it should be obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be said, so I will.

If we, the church, are God’s new people; if we have Jesus as our new leader, the new face of our rebooted movie franchise, our new shepherd; and if Jesus’ shepherding is characterised by justice and fairness—shouldn’t the church be the place where justice can be found; where everyone has enough; where the weak are nourished and the sick have their wounds bound; where the strong get out of the way so the weak can drink from clear water and eat from fresh pasture?

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