I guess that most of us, when we talk about resurrection life, mean resuscitation. Let’s face it; we tend to love our lives, with their relationships, dreams, hopes, possessions, health, and so many other facets that give them quality. When part of us dies we want it back—exactly as it was. We have little or no concept of anything different or better. Resuscitation will do just fine.
When Jesus claimed to be the resurrection and the life (John 11:25-26) He had more in mind. Other people had returned to life. Jairus’ daughter, a widow’s son, Lazarus, Dorcas, and a body thrown into Elisha’s tomb all came back. But they died a second, natural death. Jesus’ resurrection was different.1
[The two disciples’] eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:31-32)
When the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord. (John 20:19-20)
While they still could not believe it for joy and were marveling, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” And they gave Him a piece of broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them. (Luke 24:41-43)
Jesus’ resurrection body clearly spanned two dimensions. On the one hand, He had scars and could participate in normal life activities like walking, talking, and eating fish. On the other hand, He could materialize in a room with closed doors and disappear from a dining table before the main course was served, let alone dessert.
God doesn’t offer resuscitation; He gives resurrection life. In Him we become new creations. He’s not withholding it until we die; we can start now. But our ordinary lives can get in the way. We should hold familiar things loosely, but we cling to our lives, don’t we? Why are we so careful to defend what we have? Why expend our limited strength to guard what we fear losing? The present and past are clear; the future only an uncertain investment. Receiving resurrection life requires faith and a careful assessment of its immense value. Unless something is given life by God, it is not worth fighting for. Releasing every facet of this lesser life to God frees us from their potential power as idols and makes room for His resurrection life to burst from the grave of our ordinary lives.
“Whoever seeks to keep his life shall lose it, and whoever loses his life shall preserve it.” (Luke 17:33)
- Mark 5:42; Luke 7:14-15; John 11:43-44; Acts 9:40; 2 Kings 13:21. [↩]