Episode 1. Reunited with Jesus
Now that I’m over fifty – even though I’m pretty fit and strong – I’ve noticed that the old body isn’t working quite as well as it used to. But here’s a promise from God that I am really looking forward to. One day, He’s going to give me … and you … a new […]
Now that I’m over fifty – even though I’m pretty fit and strong – I’ve noticed that the old body isn’t working quite as well as it used to. But here’s a promise from God that I am really looking forward to. One day, He’s going to give me … and you … a new body. One that won’t get sick. One that will last us forever.
Body image seems to be everything these days. And sure, our bodies are amazing gifts from God – so complex and intricate and finely balanced. It makes good sense to look after them. But … one day, we will return to dust. And then what?
Eternity as things turn out is rather a long time. Right now the oldest person I know in my circle of friends has just turned 100 years old. This woman is a great lady, with a sharp wit. I love her dearly. But at age 100, her body is starting to show the signs of her age, you’ll understand.
She walks with a walking frame and she’s kind of stooped over. Her eyesight isn’t as good as it used to be and of course she has a few more wrinkles than the rest of us. Her body is in pretty good nick for her age, but as you’d expect, age is taking its toll.
One day, she, like you and me, will return to dust. That amazingly complex, finely tuned body that we’ve all been given to look after, one day – will be no more.
So the question then arises, okay we die. So what happens then? The Bible promises us resurrection. That’s the point of Jesus rising from the dead. The writer of the book of Hebrews puts it this way:
He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. (Hebrews 1:18)
So how does that work? You’re dead. You’re body has decayed either in a coffin, or through cremation. And then one day Jesus returns … you and I are raised with Him – but what do we do for a body?
It might on the one hand seem like a bit of a strange, esoteric question for us to ask and answer. But it’s a very real question. Because this resurrection thing isn’t a theory. I know, I know, most of us think of our death as being a long way off, unless I guess we’ve just had our hundredth birthday.
We push these things way, way off to the side – because it’s all about living life today, and the things we can buy, the fun we can have, the things we need to tick off our to–do list today and tomorrow and all that busyness of life. But friend, listen to me, one day that will stop dead … if you’ll pardon the not so gentle pun. One day none of those things will matter and indeed the only thing … the … only … thing … that will matter is our relationship with Jesus. Full stop. End of story.
So on that day, what are you and I going to do for a body? Well, here’s the answer the Apostle Paul writing in 1 Corinthians 15:35-58:
But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?’ Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory.
So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living being’; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first, but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we will also bear the image of the man of heaven.
What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.
So you and I, if we believe in Jesus will receive an imperishable, spiritual body through which we will inherit the kingdom of God. A body that won’t age like the one that we have today. We see that in Jesus – His resurrection body, the body He had after He was crucified and rose again, He had a body, He ate food, His body bore the scars of His crucifixion, and yet He didn’t seem to be particularly bound by physical constraints like locked doors and distances.
Will our bodies be exactly like His? Will we look the same as we look now? Those things we don’t know. But this we do. That the body we receive will be a new body and one that will be good enough to last us for all eternity. So those of you with a few aches and pains, I think that’s pretty good news, don’t you? A new body that is imperishable, one that won’t decay of the years, decades, hundreds of year, millennia, billions, trillions of years … Eternity … that you and I are going to need it for. My friend that’s just brilliant news in my book.
I’d like to tell you about the second oldest person I know – he’s a man who is about to turn 97 years old. He’s blind, he’s incontinent, he walks very slowly, feeling his way along the walls from room to room in his home in which he still lives. If you took a look at his physical presence, you’d think to yourself – not much left there.
But of all the people I know, he has one of the strongest fires of faith and hope burning in his heart that I have ever seen. His passion for the lost is amazing. His faith–filled prayer I have no doubt moves mountains around the world on a daily basis.
I think of him often and pray for him. And I imagine what is going to happen when God gives him this new body, this imperishable, immortal resurrection body that He’s promised us here in His Word. That’s going to be an awesome day.
And my friend, if you’ve put your faith in Jesus – that awesome day is around the corner for you to. In your future is a day when you will receive your resurrection body. Your imperishable body. Your forever, never get sore or sick or sorry body.
Why am I harping on about this – because this is the stuff of the certain hope that we have through our faith in Jesus Christ. Not some pipe dream. But a certain hope. And the problem is that most of us just don’t spend a lot of time thinking about this. We should. Go grab a Bible. Read 1 Corinthians 15. Don’t read anything else for a week. Just that Chapter over and over again.
And then tell me what sort of difference your hope in Jesus Christ, is making to your life here and now. I’ll eat my hat if it doesn’t make a world of difference as you take your mind off the immediate, and rest it in the certain hope of Jesus Christ.