Summary: Easter series
BUILT TO LAST (1 CORINTHIANS 15:42-44)
Aging is no smiling matter when you are past middle-age. When my wife’s nephew from Hong Kong stayed with us for his two years of junior college, my age and status hit me hard. When we were heading home one day, we ended up behind an annoying man who was driving at snail’s pace. When I finally passed him, we had a good look at the driver, to which the nephew commented, “No wonder, he’s an uncle!”
I glanced at the man and remarked to my wife, “Hey, he’s our age. He’s calling us that!” He was quiet going home. Probably he saw us in a new light and a different age category from that point on. Gray or white hairs started creeping onto and encroaching upon my hands, my sideburns and even chest hair at that time, too.
Also, there is the problem of reading. At age 45, I officially jumped from using a 10- point to a 12-point font for my sermon notes. At 47, I had to wear bifocals and I found a gray hair while shaving!
When you are in middle age and advancing, you cannot help but wonder what the resurrection body looks like. Most Bible readers have come across 1 Corinthians with Paul contrasting the regular “body” with the body of resurrected believers. I have read it many times but have never gotten around to discover what it means.
What is the glorious resurrected body like? What shape and form does the body take?
The Resurrected Body is Free of Death
42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; (1 Cor. 15:42-44)
I read an interesting USA Today article on what aging does to the heart, brain and other body parts:
Heart, arteries: Blood vessels stiffen with age and can become clogged with fatty deposits.
Brain: The aging brain is lower at processing information, has more trouble multitasking and might have difficulty remembering things such as names.
Lungs: Lung tissue gets less elastic with age, but even at age 80 and beyond, people still have the lung capacity to go about their day-to-day activities.
Muscles, joints: People lose muscle mass as they get older, a process that can be slowed by regular workouts, including weight training.
Sight, hearing: Starting at age 40 or so, many people have trouble reading the fine print or making out the menu in a dark restaurant. And starting around 60, many people experience age-related hearing loss. They might have trouble hearing higher-frequency noises or hearing all the words in a conversation, especially if there’s background noise (“Don’t Let Age Get the Best of You,” USA Today 10/24/06).
Golda Meir said, “Old age is like a plane flying through a storm. Once you’re aboard, there’s nothing you can do.”
The Greek word for “perish” (v 42) occurs nine times in the Bible. NIV translates it four times as “perishable” (1 Cor. 15:42, 50, Col 2:22, 2 Peter 2:12), twice as “destruction” (Gal 6:8, 2 Peter 2:12) and once each for “decay” (Rom 8:21),
“corruption” (2 Peter 1:4) and “depravity” (2 Peter 2:19). Strong’s suggests it indicates “pining and wasting away.” Properly speaking, the word means “to shrivel or wither, i.e. to spoil (like food)” and generally it means “to ruin.”
But make no mistake, when the context refers to the body, flesh and blood, specifically the two times the word appears in 1 Corinthians, it means “to perish” (1 Cor. 15:42, 50). Our body is nice to look at and beautiful to behold, especially when you are young, but it bends out of shape and takes a different shape when you do not exercise, when you have a baby, when you have an office job, when you eat fast food, when you drink soda, when you approach middle age, when you watch a lot of TV, when you play a lot of video games and when you inherit fat genes. Some even suggest that a time comes when your body gains weight just by drinking water!
As years go by, the body spoils like a rotting piece of meat and a decomposing piece of flesh, fermenting like a piece of stinky tofu. There is no holding it back, turning back the clock or going back “somewhere in time.” No writing says it quite as eloquently and passionately as Psalms 90:10: “The length of our days is seventy years-- or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” In no time, man feels and acts his age; they look and talk like their parents. Soccer, basketball and running give way to aerobics, walking and swimming. Before you know it we return to dust.