Summary: Modern day Sadducees still teach that a bodily resurrection is unbelievable. For what 3 reasons do they reject a teaching that is so obviously Biblical?
(This was the last in our series "The Upside Down Teachings of Jesus" and to emphasize that theme, we played the video "Blindness" found through sermoncentral. If you’ve not seen it it is worth the time to prevue it’s powerful message).
OPEN: His name was Roger Williams and he was a famous 17th century religious leader.
He died in 1683 and was buried in a poorly marked grave in the backyard of his home.
Nearly 200 years later (in 1860) one of his descendents ordered his body exhumed and moved to a more suitable location. But when they excavated the grave they didn’t find a body. All they fond were a few badly rusted coffin nails and few scraps of rotten wood.
But they did find something else in the grave that amazed them.
It seems an apple tree had grown up next to the burial site and one of roots had grown into the spot where Roger Williams had been laid to rest, taking the shape of William’s body – from its head to its heels.
As it grew, the root apparently had encountered Williams’ skull and followed the path of least resistance inching down the side of his head, backbone, hips and legs, molding itself closely to the contours of his body.
The corpse itself was gone, absorbed into the tree through its roots.
The tree had eaten Roger Williams
And over the years, it had produced numerous apples that had been eaten by people in the community.
Now, the Bible tells me that – when Jesus returns - we’ll all rise from the dead and have a new body… but HOW is God going to put Roger Williams’ body back together again?
It’s a mystery to me. But it’s not a mystery to God.
ILLUS: Back in 1994, Brian Kelly, a fireworks handler, went out with a bang during the grand finale at a convention of fireworks technicians near Pittsburgh. As he was dying he told family members he wanted his ashes loaded into a fireworks shell and exploded - scattering his remains across the sky
Now how is God going to piece that man back together again?
I don’t know. I’s a mystery to me. But it’s not a mystery to God.
ILLUS: Years ago, a painter died and was cremated. His friends mixed his remains with white paint and the paint was used to paint the white lines along U.S. 50 somewhere between Cincinnati and St. Louis.
Now how God is ever going to get that man up out of that paint?
It’s a mystery to me! But it’s not a mystery to God.
When the trumpet sounds and Jesus descends – if need be He’ll come down with a celestial scraper and scrape that man up off of the pavement and – if he’s a Christian he will zoom up to meet Jesus in the air. But if he’s not – he’ll go someplace else.
(With grateful acknowledgment to Ed Bousman)
The idea that our bodies will be resurrected from the dead - even hundreds of years after we’ve died - is difficult for some people to accept.
ILLUS: On my computer, my home page is msn.com.
Since this was the Easter season, they decided to run a couple of articles on the resurrection of the dead and their articles seemed to be in agreement that Christians down through the ages have had difficulties accepting the bodily resurrection of the dead.
One of the articles was by senior religious editor of Newsweek magazine - Lisa Miller (the article was posted on March 25th to be published in Newsweek April 5, 2010). Commenting on the idea of the physical resurrection, Ms. Miller called the idea a “conundrum” for believers. “Conundrum” was a $20 word she used to express her sentiment that “You really can’t believe this!”
Several times in her article she said that the idea of a physical resurrection was
· It “strained the credulity of even the most devoted believer.”
· It “presented credibility problems”
· And, she concluded: “For my part, I don’t buy it.
Now, this was from an article by Newsweek’s senior editor of the religious section of magazine” and she blatantly rejected the belief of that there would ever be a bodily resurrection.
Now to be fair – she’s not the first to have problems with the idea.
· The Sadducees of Jesus’ day rejected that anybody’s body would rise from the dead
· When Jesus spoke to His disciples and told them that He would die, be buried and rise again, Peter couldn’t believe it (Mt. 16:22)
· And when the other disciples heard the news “they were filled with grief” (Mt. 17:23)
· After Jesus rose from the dead, when Peter and John raced to the tomb and found it empty, John 20:9 tells us “They STILL DID NOT UNDERSTAND from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.”