Summary: The Resurrection of the Dead involves the here and now.
“A Resurrected People”
In her book “The Hiding Place,” Corrie Ten Boom—a Christian woman-- tells about how her family used to hide the Jews from the Nazi’s during the Holocaust.
Eventually, Corrie and her family were caught by the Nazi’s for doing this and sent off to one of those horrendous Concentration Camps.
At the Concentration Camp, Corrie saw some of the cruelest acts imaginable perpetrated by one group of humans onto another.
Her entire family died…including her dear sister Betsie.
After she had been freed from the camp, Corrie would often speak in churches about Jesus and His love and forgiveness for humanity.
Corrie’s faith had been challenged and strengthened during her horrible years of torment…
…but another real test confronted her afterwards…
In her book Corrie writes:
“It was at a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at” the concentration camp.
“He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time. And suddenly it was all there—the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s pain-blanched face.”
“He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing.
‘How grateful I am for your message, Frauline.’ He said.”
“To think that, as you say, [Jesus] has washed my sins away!”
Corrie writes: “His hand was thrust out to shake mine. And I, who had preached so often to the people the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.”
“Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them.”
“Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more?”
“Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.”
“I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand.”
“ I could not.”
“I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity.”
“And so again I breathed a silent prayer: ‘Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.’”
“As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened.”
“From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.”
“And so I discovered,” writes Corrie, “that it is not our forgiveness any more than our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on Christ’s.”
“When Jesus tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.”
That’s the kind of radical discipleship that Jesus is talking about in our Gospel Lesson for this morning:
*Love your enemies
*Do good to those who hate you
*Bless those who curse you
*Pray for those who abuse you
*Turn the other cheek
*Do to others what you would like them to do to you
*Be merciful just as God is merciful
*Forgive as Jesus forgives you
That is not normal behavior is it?
These are not things which come easily for us…
…in our heart of hearts we know them to be the “right way to live.”
Boy Scouts, is this the way you and your classmates generally interact with one another?
Adults, is this the way we normally interact with one another?
Do we love and pray for those who hate us and curse us and mistreat us?
In our Epistle Lesson from 1 Corinthians that the boys read for us earlier Paul is talking about the Resurrection of the Dead, and generally when we talk of the Resurrection of the Dead we are talking about something which will take place when Jesus Christ returns to earth…at the end of time.
But the Resurrection of the Dead does not simply refer to the Resurrected Bodies of believers at the last day.
It also, is something which takes place here and now in those of us who put all of our faith and trust…our entire lives into the hands of Jesus Christ!!!
Remember when Jesus’ really good friend Lazarus died?
Well, Lazarus’ sister Martha ran out to meet Jesus Who was on His way to Lazarus’ house.
“Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘If you had been here, my brother would not have died.’”
And then Jesus says to her: “Your brother will rise again.”
To which Martha answers: “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
And then Jesus tells her: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
My friends, those of us who live and believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord…
…well, we have already been resurrected from the dead!!!