11th October 2007 Year C - 3 Before Advent/Remembrance
Luke 20:27 Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question. 28 "Teacher," they said, "Moses wrote for us that if a man's brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and have children for his brother. 29 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died childless. 30 The second 31 and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died, leaving no children. 32 Finally, the woman died too. 33 Now then, at the resurrection whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?" 34 Jesus replied, "The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. 35 But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, 36 and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are God's children, since they are children of the resurrection. 37 But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord 'the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' 38 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."
The Pharisees believed in the resurrection whereas the Sadducess did not. That is why they were sad, you see!
Their question showed that they had no idea what the resurrection life is like. Jesus corrected them. He pointed out the resurrection life is new. It not simply a continuation of what has been started.
Jesus was resurrected and is alive. Proof:
We need to establish this before we move on to what the resurrection will be like. In the New Testament:
A] We read how the risen Christ was seen by over 500 people ( 1 Cor. 15:6 ).
B] Encountering the risen Christ and inspired by His Spirit the disciples changed from being frightened of the authorities ( John 20:19 ) to boldly declaring to these authorities that they crucified Jesus but God raised him from the dead ( Acts 4:10 ). Even cynical Thomas had to admit to the resurrection and the divinity of Jesus ( John 20:28 ).
C] The authorities never came up with Jesus body or proof that it had been stolen.
D] All but one of the disciples ( John ) died because of their faith.
If Jesus had not conquered death why would they endanger themselves for a lie? The only logical conclusion is that not only that they died because it was true, but they died in the certain knowledge that they would receive resurrection bodies and go to be with God in heaven.
E] We have 2,000 years of history with billions of people's lives transformed by an encounter with the risen Lord Jesus. We can meet some of those people today.
F] We can meet the risen Jesus today by trusting in Him. Them He will come and live within us by His Spirit and give us new, resurrection life that will start in the her and now and transform us for eternity.
What about the resurrection of other people?
There is no concept of a us raising from our bodies as spirits without a physical, material body. The idea behind this, of a separate body and soul is a Greek philosophy dating back to Plato around 400 B.C. When Jesus returns those who have believed in Jesus will rise to be with him, immediately followed by believers who are alive. 1 Thess. 4:16-17
Everyone will be resurrected and have to face judgment. Heb. 9:27 John 5:28-29. Those who have not accepted Jesus will be condemned and live without God.
Jesus' followers will be resurrected and have, transformed resurrection bodies.
1 Cor. 15.51 We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed - 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
Our resurrection bodies will similar to Jesus. I Jn 3:2 Phil. 3:21 By his power to rule all things, he will change our humble bodies and make them like his own glorious body.
These bodies are not resuscitated earthly ones! They will last forever and not be subject to decay, injury, sickness, death or sin. Rev. 21:4. They will be material bodies yet different to our earthly bodies with some continuity. Paul uses a seed and the plant it produces to illustrate this. 1 Cor. 15:37ff.
Some things such as sexual relations Mk. 12:25 and eating will not be needed in heaven 1 Cor. 6:13.
How should this affect the way we live?
1] It should bring us a certain hope. That there is an everlasting, perfect life waiting for those who trust Jesus. In the light of that the challenges and difficulties of life we face as Christian today pale into insignificance.
2] It should bring a new focus.
Colossians 3:1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
This should be linked with a determination to follow Jesus. This is not something we have to do in our own strength. God gives us His Spirit to enable us to live for him.
The resurrection of Jesus secures the resurrection of those who are His and demonstrates what we will be like.