In the events of Passion week, today is a silent day of mourning. The disciples went home with the horrible reality that Jesus was dead and his body was in a tomb. Now what? But the resurrection gives us hope! In Part 1, we learned that Christ’s Resurrection Guarantees the Christian’s Resurrection, and in Part 2, we saw that Christ’s Resurrection Reverses the Curse of Humanity. But the Apostle Paul gives at least two more reasons for us to draw hope, even on this day of grief as we await Resurrection morning. The third reason is…
Christ’s Resurrection Gives Hope for the Future (v. 23)
“But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:23, ESV)
Right now, we all see the effects of sin all around us. We feel it in our bodies. Sickness, disease and death are constant reminders of our fallenness.
Sin has a corrosive effect in society that has plunged us into spiritual darkness that it seems we will never recover from. Crime, war, famine, hatred, and all sorts of human suffering is never far away. We see it in our news feeds every day. We can’t ever seem to get a day of relief from the bad news.
We are desperate for some good news. The resurrection of Christ is the best news. It tells us not only that Jesus is alive, but that he is coming back to judge the world and he will raise us up from the dead and glorify our bodies to never die again.
Verses 50-57 describe this even in the future that we as Christians look forward to when we will be made imperishable and immortal. These verses say:
“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall 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 shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where 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.”(1 Corinthians 15:50–57, ESV)
In 2015 the UC Berkeley Alumni magazine California ran an article about cryonics. Not sure what that is? Let me quote a small portion and you’ll understand,
“Before launching the first cryonaut, they had sandwiches and coffee. It was a Thursday afternoon in January 1967, in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale. The ad hoc medical team—a physician, a chemist, and Bob Nelson, a voluble TV repairman and president of the newly minted Cryonics Society of California—huddled around the dead man’s bedside. In front of them lay the body of James Bedford, who earned his master’s degree from UC Berkeley in 1928. A retired psychology professor and vocational guidance expert, the 73-year-old had died of liver cancer an hour earlier. All of them, living and dead, were about to make history.
The team went to work. Adapting techniques from the field of cryogenics, which studies materials at low temperatures, they injected medical-grade antifreeze into his neck, diluting his blood. To minimize damage to his brain, they kept oxygen pumping through his system with a machine called an iron heart. Then they slipped the professor into a coffin-shaped capsule filled with dry ice. (Later, the capsule would be placed in a cylinder cooled by liquid nitrogen for permanent storage at -196°C.)
Four hours later the task was completed: They had frozen the first man.
At a triumphal news conference a few days later, Nelson, the TV repairman, explained the purpose of the professor’s “cryopreservation.” Bedford, he told the assembled reporters, “will be kept frozen indefinitely until such time as medical science may be able to cure cancer, any freezing damage that may have occurred, and perhaps old age as well.”
Here we are, over 50 years later, and that Berkeley professor’s body still awaits the cure for cancer, and the science to be able to bring him back to life and heal him of his cancer. If it had been done before, then maybe there would be more hope in cryonics. But this has never been done before. Not even once. Not even close. We don’t have that sort of hope as Christians.
The hope we have is assured. It isn’t a shot in the dark. It’s not a gamble or a pipe-dream. Church, Jesus Christ is alive today! Jesus Christ went through death for us, and he rose again before us. He will come again and we shall be raised from the dead just as he was!
Christ’s Resurrection Gives Hope for the Future to those who follow Jesus Christ as Lord. But what about those who do not believe in Christ and do not follow him? What about death itself?