The Resurrection of the Body

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, October 28, 2018 0 comments

by Logan Ames

In the classic movie The Princess Bride, Billy Crystal plays a “miracle man” by the name of Miracle Max. There’s a scene where the main character, Westley, is thought to have died and his friends bring him to Miracle Max. They need him to bring Westley back to life. As Max is taking his time and going through his process, the men begin to get very impatient. Max reminds them, “If you rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles." The comical scene is nevertheless a reminder to us that we must not expect God to operate and give us what we need in OUR timing. He is truly a God of miracles, but he will not be rushed. What miracles are you desperate for in your life, and how are you doing waiting on God for them?

When I preached a sermon on this topic some time ago, it got me thinking, which of God’s miracles in the Bible was the greatest miracle ever done? Was it creating the world in six days? How about parting the Red Sea or the Jordan River so millions of Israelites could cross? Maybe it was knocking down the walls of Jericho, keeping Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego safe in the fiery furnace., or Daniel being unharmed in the lion’s den. All of these were moments over the course of history were examples of God’s supernatural power. Yet, I submit to you that none of these are the greatest miracle that God ever did. Not even close. Each of these things has to do with creating life or maintaining what has already been created. But I think there is something that is a step above that. In my humble opinion, the greatest miracle ever done is taking someone or something that is dead and bringing them back to life!

There are examples from the Old Testament of people who had stopped breathing being brought back to life, but Jesus himself not only stopped breathing, but was confirmed to be dead by a spear into his side, was buried in a tomb for at least 40 hours, and then rose from the grave by the power of God. And when he rose from the grave, he didn’t become a ghost. His actual PHYSICAL body was raised and life was restored. This is one reason why Christians can universally say that we believe in the resurrection of the body.

However, it’s not the only reason. You see, this idea of the resurrection of the body is not actually about Jesus, but about you and I. In order to understand this belief more clearly and why it matters, we have to talk about both death and the hope we have in spite of it. The first time death is even mentioned in the Bible is Genesis 2:16-17, when God tells Adam the rules regarding eating from trees in the Garden of Eden. The one tree that is forbidden is the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and God states that the consequence of eating from said tree would be death. Adam had to be wondering what “death” is.

Then, we know what happens in Genesis 3:1-5. The serpent comes and deceives the woman and helps her question God’s word which was initially spoken to her husband, who should’ve accurately passed it on to her. Satan tells her that they’re not going to die if they eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and Eve likes the sound of that so she goes ahead and eats the fruit. Adam does the same. By the way, Satan doesn’t even believe his own lies. He knows they are lies and that’s why Jesus referred to him as “the father of lies” in John 8:44. Then in Genesis 3:6-10, we see the consequences of sin that begin to take form. After they thought, “What’s the worst that could happen?" they ate the fruit and discovered the reality of the consequences. They experienced fear, began to blame one another, and felt shame. Each of those things add stress to any human being’s life, which ultimately leads to shorter lives and death.

What would you do if you knew or believed you could get away with it? How far would your sinful desires take you? Many Christians still engage in sinful activities like porn, drunkenness, or abuse simply because they don’t believe or think about the fact that God knows. Adam and Eve would’ve never eaten the fruit if they truly believed it would lead to their death. You might think your sin isn’t hurting anyone because you haven’t yet seen the drastic consequences, but all sin breeds death. For example, if you’re engaging in pornography, you are directly hurting your marriage and family, or your future marriage and family if you’re not yet married. Such activities desensitize you to the problem of sin. We have to remember that our time on this earth is not guaranteed, and that death is the destiny of everyone (Ecclesiastes 7:2).

While death is something we all deserve because it is the “wages of sin," we have been given the gift of God, which is eternal life (Romans 6:23). So, death is an end, but it is not THE end. You’ve probably heard people talk about the afterlife at funerals, but maybe you’ve never thought about what it might be like. Paul talks about it in 1 Corinthians 15:12-19. Evidently, some people were saying that there is no resurrection of the dead even while claiming to be believers in Jesus and his resurrection. Paul says they don't realize the ramifications of such a faulty belief. He's basically saying that changes everything. Paul viewed his life as something he couldn’t wait to get done with so he could go hang out with Jesus forever. He always had an eye on the afterlife, so it’s not surprise that he wrote, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied” (v. 19).

Paul was driven by his belief in not just the resurrection of Jesus, but the resurrection of all his followers into another life. I've seen those things on Facebook that say that if you live your life as if there is heaven and you turn out to be wrong, you've lost nothing. Paul says that's a bunch of malarkey! He's saying if he found out there was no resurrection, it'd be the biggest disappointment of all time. In 1 Corinthians 15:32, he writes, “If the dead are not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die”! Paul basically says that if our bodies will not be resurrected for a new life, we might as well get everything we can out of this body right now.

The knowledge of the resurrection can motivate us to keep going in the midst of terrible circumstances. Paul was constantly persecuted, yet he got to a point where it didn’t matter to him what happened to his body because he knew he’d be getting an upgrade. In the Old Testament, Job, who suffered as much as anyone, had a surprising revelation in the midst of his complaining to God. He says in Job 19:25-27 that even though his flesh is failing now, he knows his redeemer lives and that he will one day see him in his own FLESH! Like Paul, Job had an upgrade in mind, like going from a Kia to a Chevy Corvette!

Here’s the thing though: spiritually, the resurrection has already happened if you have received Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. Paul says in Ephesians 2:1-7 that we were dead in or transgressions but have been “made alive with Christ” and are seated with him in the heavenly realms. Yet, Paul also says that God is going to reveal the “incomparable riches of his grace” to others through us. So, what does that mean for us? It means we live in this dual reality of having already been spiritually made alive from our spiritual death, while also knowing that our physical bodies are wasting away every day and someday, we’ll be given a new and better one. It means that our bodies are tools for the Lord to use to accomplish his work here, and we ought not focus on saving what will fade away anyway. Of course, we take care of our bodies so that we are more available to do God’s good work, but we don’t worry about self-preservation. Will you surrender your body to God today, allowing him to use it in whatever he wills? Romans 12:1 tells us this is true and reasonable worship. It makes the most sense. Christ gave his body up for us then received a new one. We can follow his lead by giving of ourselves and putting our faith in the promise of an eventual resurrection of the body.

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