Easter’s come and gone. The chocolate bunnies are eaten, the Easter eggs have all been (hopefully) found. People have put up their new Easter clothes and have gone back to their doldrums of bleh clothing with no more pastels. The thing about Easter, is that we celebrate new life, not bunnies and eggs. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus rising victorious from the grave. We celebrate a rebirth that is available through Jesus. A rebirth, a regeneration.
When I think about regeneration, for some reason, Dr. Who comes to mind.
During the Dr. Who Christmas special, the 11th Doctor (or was that the 12th Doctor, I can’t seem to keep that straight…I’ll explain later why) regenerated. Now, a couple of things interesting about that. He regenerated. The Doctor from Dr. Who is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey (I’ve written about him many times, I know, but still need to give some background info on him). The way they live on for long periods of time is by regenerating. After a Time Lord becomes ill, hurt severely, or out right dies due to radiation exposure (10th Doctor, I’m looking at you) they regenerate. They become new. They are the same person per se, but a whole new attitude. The same software, different package and application so to speak. Each Time Lord has 12 lives which they can regenerate. After that, they are officially dead and cannot regenerate…unless the Time Lords do some funky science stuff and give them more lives to regenerate into (this happened in the 1996 TV movie of Dr. Who with the Time Lord villain called The Master)
According to Dr. Who cannon, when we came to the 9th Doctor in the 2005 reboot, we learn that there had been a devastating Time War with the very evil Daleks. The Daleks are also time traveling robotic creatures that want to EXTERMINATE all who are not pure like them, and take over the universe. In the midst of the war, the Doctor pretty much destroyed his own people to end the war. He succeeded. But things became dark. He was dark. He was hurting and struggling with what he did.
During the Dr. Who 50th anniversary special (wow, it’s been on for that long!) we saw something new into the life of the Doctor. There was an extra Doctor–the War Doctor. During the Time War, the Doctor regenerated from the 8th Doctor into the War Doctor and destroyed the planet Gallifrey (we learn in the 50th anniversary special that something else happens actually). That makes the 11th Doctor actually the 12th Doctor which them makes it so that he can no longer regenerate. This is his last life.
And then it happened. On the planet Trenzalore after hundreds of years defending the planet, the Doctor regenerated. The Time Lords granted him the gift of more lives to regenerate. He was once again reborn. And soon, very soon, Whovians like me (fans of Dr. Who) will meet the next Doctor.
The Doctor was reborn. Well, kinda. He was remade. He was regenerated. He was given new life.
Reflecting on that it makes me wonder about new life, rebirth, and regeneration found in Jesus.
The Apostle Paul writes about this:
“If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17
If anyone is in Christ. Think about that. The first step to rebirth and regeneration is through Jesus. And in Jesus there is a new creation. What’s interesting is that when the Doctor regenerates, he is the same inside just a new branding, a new packaging. Yes, there are some new personality quirks, but he’s still the same software, different package. That’s not so with rebirth and regeneration in Jesus. You are completely new. You are a new person. A new way of looking at life, a new way of living life, a new ethic and moral code to life. A new creation. The old is truly gone.
With the Doctor, he is still the same old same old Doctor. Yes, the 10th Doctor was a bit more confrontational than the 9th Doctor and the 11th Doctor was a bit more cranky than the others, but in the end, he’s still the same old same old Doctor, racing off to save planets and damsels in distress.
With Jesus, you are new. The old has gone and you are new in Jesus. Something new. Something amazing. Something spectacular.
Sometimes we don’t catch on to that. Many times Jesus is touted as fire insurance, a Get Out of Hell Free card. Other times he’s seen as a wonderful pacifist who just loved on everyone and never said anything harsh (uhm, read the Gospels, dude is harsh at times). Sometimes Jesus is portrayed as a homeboy, as a bud. As a pal to hang around with.
What is missed is that in Jesus, there is new life. Jesus just isn’t a believe-and-avoid-hell person. Jesus isn’t just some mystic loving guru who wants you to live love and be all hippy-dippy. Jesus wants you to have a new life. A new way of living. A new way of existing.
When the Doctor regenerates, he’s still the same. He’s still on the run, never stopping. He’s still moving and doing interesting things with his TARDIS. But he doesn’t change overall. In Jesus, when we come to him, when we call upon him, we change significantly. There is new life. There is a new way of living. A new way of being. A new way of existing.
Do you want this? Do you want to be different? Do you want to experience life differently? Then come to Jesus and he will give you a new life, a new birth, a newness that will change everything.