The whole idea of living again after dying is a challenge to the rational mind.

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The resurrection of Jesus is a foundational belief of the Christian faith.

We are told this in the book of Hebrews.

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity,
not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,
and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands,
the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
Heb 6:1-2

Long before Jesus was crucified there was skepticism about any kind of resurrection from the dead.

The skepticism then, and the cynicism now both arise from humans trying to understand a spiritual reality with their natural mind.

This is made plainly evident in Luke’s gospel account about the Sadducees.

There came to him some Sadducees, those who deny that there is a resurrection, …
In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be?
For the seven had her as wife.”
Luk 20:27, 33

They were setting up a hypothetical situation to try to trap Jesus on the concept of the resurrection.

We are told they did not believe in the concept.

The Sadducees were different from the Pharisees.

The Sadducees were the party of high priests, aristocratic families, and merchants—the wealthier elements of the population.

They were also what we would call more liberal in their views, as you can see from this verse of scripture where they denied the resurrection.

The Sadducees tried to use the Law of Moses to make the resurrection an unbelievable farce by positing seven brothers.

According to the Law, if a man died without child, his brother was to marry his sister-in-law to produce a child.

The Sadducees proposed seven brothers each dying without a child by the same woman.

They wanted Jesus to tell them whose wife would she be in the resurrection.

They were applying human understanding to a spiritual reality, which is a common problem I must deal with on a regular basis for many different concepts of scripture.

It is also a problem I will illustrate toward the close of this message.

In Matthew’s account of this story, Jesus said,

“You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.”
Matt 22:29

These men whom Jesus scolded were students of the Law, students of the Jewish scriptures, but Jesus said they did not perceive the meaning of the Word.

They were well-read in the Torah, but they did not understand it.

Many people today are well-read in the Bible, but have little understanding of the power of God.

So, Jesus set the men straight about married life on the other side of the veil.

And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,
but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,
for they cannot die anymore,
because they are equal to angels and are sons of God,
being sons of the resurrection.
Luk 20:34-36

We see from this passage that marriage is not something we will experience on the other side of this life.

From that, we can extrapolate that life itself will be very different.

However, the Bible does not give us much insight into what life will be like over there—wherever ‘there’ is.

And even though we may not be able to describe or define anything about it, we know that the resurrection of the body is a foundational belief for our Christian faith.

if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord
and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead,
you will be saved.
Rom 10:9

Challenges to the resurrection were still prevalent in Paul’s day.

He used the Sadducees disbelief to set up a quarrel which resulted in his being released from Jewish custody.

Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees,
he cried out in the council,
“Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees.
It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.”
Act 23:6

Then a great clamor arose,
and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply,
“We find nothing wrong in this man.
What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?”
Act 23:9

The disagreement between the Jewish parties was not about Jesus, but about the future resurrection of the body for humans.

We can see that vehement arguments about opinions like we experience today is nothing new.

A fight broke out between the dissenting parties of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the Roman guard became concerned that Paul would be torn apart by them.

So, he had Paul removed, which eventually led to his being brought to Rome.

Most of our understanding concerning the resurrection of the body comes from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, the 15th chapter.

He begins that chapter by reminding his readers of the gospel which he preached.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received:
that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
that he was buried,
that he was raised on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures,
1Co 15:3-4

Notice that Paul included the resurrection of Jesus as a part of his good news message.

He then goes into his defense of the resurrection as a fact and what it means to us as believers.

Apparently, there were believers in the new church who also rejected the teaching of the resurrection of the body.

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead,
how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
1Co 15:12

Their objection was not to the resurrection of Jesus but to the resurrection of the human body.

Paul pounces on this with a statement which also reveals the humanity of Jesus.

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
1Co 15:13

If there is no such thing as the resurrection of the human body which has died, then Jesus could not have been raised from the dead, because Jesus was very much a human being existing in a physical body.

We also know that things changed after His resurrection.

His body took on a different quality.

He was able to pass through walls into a room which had the door locked.

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week,
the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood among them and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
Jhn 20:19

This appearance disturbed the already fearful disciples.

They thought they were seeing a ghost.

Yet His body still had the same outward appearance as before.

See my hands and my feet,
that it is I myself.
Touch me, and see.
For a spirit does not have flesh and bones
as you see that I have.”
Luk 24:39

I need to be clear, though, that this appearance of Jesus, and the others like it, occurred before His ascension into heaven.

Apparently, things changed again once this happened, because we do not see Him on the earth anymore.

Once He ascended, He was no longer visible to the natural eye.

This has given rise to all the speculation about what we will be like after we die.

If we return to our story in Luke, we will see one of those imaginations that have taken hold on the minds of people.

for they cannot die anymore,
because they are equal to angels and are sons of God,
being sons of the resurrection.
Luk 20:36

Mark and Matthew say it somewhat differently.

For when they rise from the dead,
they neither marry nor are given in marriage,
but are like angels in heaven. Mar 12:25

We have no clear description of angels in heaven, yet for some reason, many people think we will be floating around on clouds playing a harp

I guess this is because it is a sweet image of a baby-like innocence.

People have also said we will live in our own little cabin in the corner of glory-land, which is also based on something Jesus said.

In my Father’s house are many mansions:
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
Jhn 14:2

Hopefully, you can see that neither the cloud nor the cabin have anything to do with our experience on the other side of the veil between this life and the next.

Paul argues with anyone who would try to describe what that life will be like.

But someone will ask,
“How are the dead raised?
With what kind of body do they come?”

You foolish person!

What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
And what you sow is not the body that is to be,
but a bare kernel,
perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.
1Co 15:35-37

He first argues from the natural with which we are familiar.

He shows that death is not only natural, but a necessary part of life.

The necessity of death is followed by a resurrection from the dead.

And that new life is not the same as the former.

There is very little similarity between a grain of wheat and a wheat plant with a full head of grain.

This is the logic Paul applies to our resurrection.

So is it with the resurrection of the dead.
What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. …
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. …
Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust,
we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.
1Co 15:42, 44, 49

That is the closest we will ever come to a description of what we will be like after we die.

Even those who have a near-death experience do not report about lifestyle on the other side.

So, while we may want to have answers to our questions about life after death, it seems that we must wait until we get there to fully understand.

Not having those answers should in no way hinder our belief in the resurrection of our bodies at some future time.

This resurrection is foundational to our faith and without it, we are living a lie—or, at best, a fairytale.

Paul said it this way.

If in Christ we have hope in this life only,
we are of all people most to be pitied.
1Co 15:19

What he is saying is that our hope in Christ must transcend this natural plane of existence.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead,
the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1Co 15:2

The resurrection of Jesus is the proof of the resurrection for everyone else.

He is called the firstfruits, which in ordinary language indicates that there is more to follow.

What is the purpose of this message?

What should be your take-away?

Simply this.


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