“The Resurrection of the Body”


Long before God came into the world in the person of Jesus, the Scriptures indicated that there would be a Day of Resurrection (Ezekiel 37; Daniel 12:2; Hosea 6:2). The resurrection of God’s people would be of a kind with the resurrection of God’s Messiah (Isaiah 53:10-12). Jesus taught that this resurrection would coincide with the final judgment of all people, that believers would be raised to everlasting life while unbelievers would be raised to everlasting condemnation (Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:28-29).

Jesus himself was “raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures… the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:4, 20). Jesus had said, “I am the resurrection… whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25), and, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). When Jesus returns, “the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them… [to] always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). On the Day of Resurrection, those who are in Christ by faith will be, bodily, “raised imperishable… raised in glory… raised in power… [having] a spiritual body… [in] the image of the man of heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:42-49). This is meant to be encouraging (1 Thessalonians 4:18)!

The Gospel is that what is true of Jesus Christ is true of those who are united to him through the Spirit by faith and baptism. So, if Jesus is risen from the dead bodily, then we too will be resurrected bodily, and made like him. This is because he has united himself to us, and made us such a part of his own identity that he would not be himself if he did not bring us to resurrection glory with himself. This resurrection reality is, therefore, a greater certainty than death itself, for not all will die, but all will be raised (1 Corinthians 15:51) and “super-clothed” with immortality (2 Corinthians 5:4). And the most significant, most wonderful thing about our resurrection is that it is a facet of the life of Jesus Christ himself. Based on some fascinating aspects of Jesus’ resurrection body, we could speculate about the physical ramifications and benefits of our future resurrection, but the prospect is really only interesting at all because of the sure hope of being with Jesus. “What we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

What do you imagine the Day of Resurrection will be like, and why? What do you imagine your resurrection body will be like, and why? What are you looking forward to most of all about it? Do you have any reservations about the idea of a universal resurrection as Jesus describes it? How does knowing that a resurrection is coming affect the way you view the world today? How does it affect the way you see your own present life and circumstances? Can you think of people who need to hear the encouragement and embrace the hope of the resurrection?

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