Summary: Transforming effect on the living and on the dying (Material adapted from Alexander MacLaren at:https://biblehub.com/sermons/auth/maclaren/remaining_and_falling_asleep.htm)
Orexin is a neuropeptide that regulates arousal, wakefulness and appetite. Studies are being done on what an increase or decrease in orexin will do to a person’s appetite and sleep. Focusing on sleep this morning (Stay with me, don’t go to sleep!). In one study, monkeys were deprived of sleep for 36 hours and then given either orexin or a placebo before taking cognitive tests. The sleep deprived monkeys given orexin in a nasal spray scored about the same as alert monkeys, while the group of sleep deprived monkeys given the placebo were severely impaired in functioning. The study found orexin not only restored monkey’s cognitive abilities but made their brain look “awake” in PET scans. Jerome Siegel, the lead scientist of the study, said that orexin is unique in that it only had an impact on sleepy monkeys, not alert ones, and that it is “specific in reversing the effects of sleepiness” without other affects on the brain. Going to be handing out orexin and force people to spray in their nose to stay awake this morning.
Good to get 8 hours of sleep. Not good to rely on caffeine or orexin to help us stay awake during the day. In our Scripture reading this morning, it mentions that some of the 500 witnesses have fallen asleep. The Holy Spirit here is not talking about 8 hours of sleep, this is talking about death. In our day, we might say that someone has passed on- meaning that they have died. Death is an unpleasant subject and so we use euphemisms to describe it. The Bible is no different- literally this phrase means to fall asleep as in at night while we are unconscious. However, this euphemism was used, “fall asleep” to speak about death so the word did not have to be mentioned. Jesus even used this phrase to speak about death. Speaking of his friend Lazarus Jesus said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,” John 11:11-14, NIV. Getting back to 1 Corinthians 15 we find that most of the 500 witnesses are still living. Amazing- probably about 25 years after this event and most of them are still living. God’s Providence to keep many of them to witness to Jesus’ resurrection alive such a long time.
The Lord did not appear to everyone all at once- some complain. Well, I say this is amazing- 500 of the brothers at the same time. Lee Strobel, author of the Case for Christ, put it like this, “If we were holding a trial to determine the facts concerning the resurrection, and if we were to call to the witness stand every witness who personally encountered the resurrected Jesus and we cross examined each of them for only 15 minutes, we would be listening to first hand testimony for more than 128 hours, that is over 5 days.” One psychologist even said, “Over 500 people having the same hallucination would be more of a miracle than the resurrection itself.” Trust the many witness and the personal accounts recorded in Scripture
I digress again, go back to our Scripture 1 Corinthians 15:6: 2 phrases here, “Still living” and “fallen asleep.” We see here the transforming effect upon life and death of those who have faith in the risen Lord. Yes, we have not seen with our physical eyes, but with eyes of faith. “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,” 1 Peter 1:8
Thesis: Transforming effect on the living and on the dying
A. The sight of the risen Christ will make life calm and peaceful.
Think of those disciples seeing the risen Christ and then going back to their villages in Galilee. Lives so small and insignificant but having the assurance that “this child can face uncertain days because He lives.” This Resurrected One is the same one who walked on the water and calmed the seas with just a word. “So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.” Isaiah 28:16, NIV. KJV- “He that believeth shall not make haste.” No worrying or fretting because “I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.” In the Upper Room, Jesus said, “Before long, the world will not see me any more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” John 14:19, NIV. Confused them so “Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:22, 23, NIV. “You ask me how I know he lives, He lives within my heart”