When the Seeds Come Up
The new life of our heaven-ready bodies
Someone hearing for the first time that the dead will be raised—physically—from the grave could easily picture something from a horror movie: corpses climbing out of graves, ghastly and ghostly. Or maybe they'd picture zombies of some kind, frightening shadows of what people had once been.
I suspect most people imagine immortality, but very few (apart from Christians) really imagine the reality of bodily resurrection. After all, if these bodies are a pain before we die, they are surely not going to be an asset after we die!
We've been studying the Bible's most important chapter on the Resurrection: 1 Corinthians 15. Among the Christians in the ancient Greek city of Corinth, there were some who could not imagine the resurrection of the body as a good thing. In verse 35, Paul repeats what he had heard from people: "But someone may ask, 'How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?'" These people were picturing something out of The Night of the Living Dead. And Paul's response is, to put it in the vernacular, "That's really stupid!—How foolish!"
Paul has already in this chapter established that Jesus Christ literally rose from the dead and appeared to many different people, and that everything we believe as Christians rests on that historical event. Now he turns his attention from Christ's resurrection to our resurrections. What will our bodies be like when they are raised from the dead? I'll divide up the rest of this chapter into a couple parts, but Paul is driving toward the statement he makes in verse 50: "I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." In other words, you cannot get into heaven wearing what you're wearing. That old body ...
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Lee Eclov is pastor of Village Church of Lincolnshire in Lake Forest, Illinois and author of Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls (Moody Publishers). Eclov also leads a gathering of pastors for mutual support and learning called Pastors' Gatherings. To find out more about these Gatherings visit his site www.leeeclov.com.