'When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body...So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory;it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.'
1 Corinthians 15v37-38, 42-44 (NIV)
It’s inescapable and unavoidable, it will happen. It may come as a surprise through illness or an accident. It may come at the end of a long and healthy life.
But sooner or later we will all die. Diets can’t prevent it, Gym routines can’t restrain it. Medication can’t stop it. The painful reality is we will all die and we will be buried or cremated. Have you ever stopped to face up to the reality of your impending death? It’s an unsettling thought. Well for the Christian death is not the end. It’s the beginning of something wonderfully new: 'For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.' (verse 22). Just as we follow the pattern of the first man Adam who died, so all who are united to Christ will be raised to a new life. Christ was raised with a new body and so we will be raised with a new body.
First Our bodies will be wonderfully changed. Our dead bodies are just like a seed. When you put a seed into the ground it is wonderfully changed: 'When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be...But God gives it a body as he has determined.' When you put an apple seed into the ground it is changed into an apple tree. You don’t plant an apple seed and expect it to produce another seed just like the one you put in the ground. The seed becomes something different:'so will it be with the resurrection of the dead.' Just as a seed changes into a tree, so our present physical bodies will wonderfully change when we die. They will become something better and greater.
Second Our bodies will be totally transformed. Live long enough in this present body and you will experience just how fragile we are. Our physical body is 'perishable' is does not last. We get sick, we develop cancers, we can contract a virus. Our physical body is 'dishonourable' (or in a state of humiliation). There is nothing pleasant as our bodies become dysfunctional. No longer able to control our bladder, we need to be fed and washed. Our physical body is 'weak' and only gets weaker. We lose strength, we get arthritis, we no longer have the energy to stand, we struggle to breathe. We can’t stop the process of decay.
But what starts off as perishable, dishonourable and weak will be transformed.
It will be raised imperishable – we will never get sick or feel pain or die.
It will be raised in glory – we will always have our full and complete faculties.
It will be raised in power – we will always be strong and will enjoy life in all it’s fullness.
Our new bodies will be raised for a brand new world. This present world will one day be renewed and restored by God and we will enjoy it forever. That means we will not need hospitals or doctors or pain management or carers. No funerals to attend. No tears to shed. No struggles to endure. No pain to bear. We will be raised with a new body.
Thank you Father God for our physical bodies and the life we have today. Thank you for health and strength to walk, enjoy food and the company of friends. Thank you that because of Jesus' resurrection we can look forward to a new physical and spiritual body, in a world that will also be made new.