John 20

Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed— for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead. 10 Then they went home.

I have always thought that for our Lord to be resurrected and escape the tomb it would not depend on the stone being rolled away. Just as Thomas had to see the hands and side of Jesus to believe, the visual conformation of the empty tomb was necessary. They were then as we are now “…oh Ye of little faith”. Without the Resurrection and the empty tomb there would be no story here except that of a great prophet, a story teller and man who became a problem for those of power, the Roman Government and the leaders of the Jewish faith. The rest of this story is the beautiful truth about the significance of that empty tomb. The tomb was empty but in the mist of nothing was a promise kept and to this day we struggle to understand it.

 Resurrection is the concept of a living being coming back to life after death. In a number of ancient religions, a dying-and-rising god is a deity which dies and resurrects. The death and resurrection of Jesus, an example of resurrection, is the central focus of Christianity.Resurrection – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Read over once more the Wikipedia statement above. I may be on the wrong train here but that’s a solid definition… the secular world.  First a couple of thoughts. There is only one God that has the power to restore life. Jesus is not an example of resurrection, he is the resurrection; also as it is written …”the first of a great harvest of all who have died…” (1st Corinthians 15:20) I wish to simply state the beautiful truth about the resurrection relying on what I refer to as the resurrection chapter, 1st Corinthians 15. So let’s get right to it.

As we read 1 Corinthians 15:19-20 we see Paul finds little comfort in that there is lacking a triumphant and joyful assurance that Christ “had in fact risen.” Paul does not seek to argue but rather in verses 21 through 34 sets out his reasoning that the resurrection is real and justifies all we as Christians endure. As a layman I have missed the other side of the resurrection story. The question asked in verse, 35 “But someone will ask, How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” The answer Paul gives provides the most glorious prospect which can be exhibited to dying, yet immortal man.

In verses 36 – 41 Paul addresses the nature of those bodies and in verse 39 the fact that there are different kinds of flesh. He speaks of celestial bodies and earthly bodies in verse 40 and closes out in verse 41 pointing out that there is a difference between the sun, and moon, and stars.  Paul continues in these next verses 42 – 50 and makes a direct statement for which the mind is prepared by the illustrations of the previous verses, of the important changes which the body of man must undergo, and of the nature of that body which he will have in heaven.

It will be a body that is Incorruptible, Glorious, Powerful, A spiritual body and finally, it is like the body of the second man, the Lord from heaven. Yes, amen, is that not worth dying for! Oh the power of the written word, Paul’s explanation of the greatest promise ever made.

How extraordinary is this? Well for those of us in the pew that grew up hearing about the streets paved with gold, all our family and friends meeting us there and the beautiful unceasing music and praise to God, it is a picture painted in words that hold a reality we understand. Sitting in the pew requires that we listen but to hear and understand we must read, study and pray. Mark this book and chapter down and when you are faced with death remember these verses also.

1st Corinthians 15

53 For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

55 “O death, where is thy victory?

O death, where is thy sting?”

 Thanks for coming back and hope to see you in the pew next week.


Reference Material – Albert Barnes Notes – 1st Corinthians 11: 1 – 58