1 Corinthians 15:35-58
(New International Version)
The Resurrection Body
“To die will be an awfully great adventure.”
–Peter Pan (J. M. Barrie)
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. 41The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. 42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, “Christ is risen,” but “I shall rise.”
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46 The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven. 48 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
The Watergate cover-up reveals the true nature of humanity. Even political zealots at the pinnacle of power will, in the crunch, save their own necks, even at the expense of the ones they profess to serve so loyally. But the apostles could not deny Jesus because they had seen Him face to face, and they knew He had risen from the dead. No, you can take it from an expert in cover-ups — I’ve lived through Watergate — that nothing less than a resurrected Christ could have caused those men to maintain to their dying whispers that Jesus is alive and is Lord. Two thousand years later, nothing less than the power of the risen Christ could inspire Christians around the world to remain faithful — despite prison, torture, and death.
–Charles (Chuck) Colson
50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: 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. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.”
–Clarence W. Hall
55 “Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
We live and die; Christ died and lived!
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
from Whispers of His Power,
by Amy Carmichael
The king of Egypt who tried to do most for his people, and utterly failed, was the last of his dynasty (the 18th dynasty). He died in 1350 B.C. cursed by his people, and his palace was abandoned and the records of his reign were flung on a rubbish heap and left there as worthless.
Hundreds of years later this old rubbish heap was found. When the records were read, much that had been laughed at in the Bible as “impossible” was proved to be true, for there were allusions to those very things in these records.
So God used a “failure” to help to do one of the greatest things that can be done—establish faith in His Book. That king, Akh Naten, was His servant, and He never wastes the lives of His servants. Their very failures are gathered up and used.
Even when we feel we have failed, God writes Not in vain over everything we have tried to do in His name.
“If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.”
Here is some advice you haven’t asked for! Whenever you feel anxious or fearful about death, come back here, to 1 Corinthians 15, and to Handel’s music put to these words of St. Paul — and put your heart and mind to rest. Death is the final enemy, but YOU HAVE THE VICTORY through Jesus Christ!
Alastair Miles sings from Handel’s Messiah: “Behold, I tell you a mystery” and “The trumpet shall sound.” Crispian Steele-Perkins is the trumpet soloist. Stephen Cleobury conducts the Brandenburg Consort.