Sermons

Summary: Jesus was the most radical personality whoever walked this planet, and He made the most radical claims, and did the most radical things, and at the center of it all is the radical resurrection.

What is the most radical thing that could happen to you after you die? Death is not the

last chapter in the biography of anyone. Things have a way of happening even after you are

dead. Pastor Leland Botjen of Spokane, Washington almost left the ministry after his first

funeral. The family of the deceased was poor, and a pine box was all they could afford. As

the pallbearers carried the coffin up the stairs, the bottom fell out and the body rolled down

the steps. The mourners were screaming, and the undertaker fainted. He was frozen in a

state of shock.

That was a radical after death experience, and history is full of them. Just because the

body is dead it does not mean that it cannot yet have a history. Bodies have been stolen from

their graves and sold. Bodies have been moved from one country to another, or one

cemetery to another. Dead bodies are still things, and a lot of things can be done with things

like bodies.

My Christian aunt donated her body to medical science, and so part of her are still

having a history. At her memorial service I saw what I had never seen before. There were

balloon bearers rather than pallbearers. They hung in large bunches across the front of the

sanctuary, and after the service everyone gathered outside and they were released to ascend

into the sky and out of sight. In each balloon was a piece of paper with her favorite Scripture

which read, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own

understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths." Prov. 3:5-6.

She wanted her memorial service to be a celebration, and to be a time when even the last

event of her life would be a service to the kingdom of God. Her body will go on serving, and

the balloons were an act of service to convey the Word of God to others. It was a beautiful

experience, and a radical new experience for me. But it does not come close to being the most

radical thing that can happen to someone after death.

The two thieves that died along side of Jesus were likely cast into the city dump and

burned to ashes. Cremation is certainly a radical thing to happen to a body. Others have

been left to be eaten by birds and animals, and this is a radical reality that has been the fate of

many thousands. But none of these come close to being the most radical after death

experience. That honor has to go to the experience of being resurrected. All of the after

death experiences of people who see lights, and who see loved ones are all kids stuff in

comparison to the experience of being resurrected. To be truly dead and then to have your

body refilled with life, and renewed by the Spirit, and revived to consciousness to walk again

in the land of the living-that is the ultimate in radical.

This means that the resurrection of the body of Jesus is the most radical event in history,

for He was the first to be resurrected never to die again. All others who were raised from the

dead had to endure a rerun of dying all over again. Their resurrection was only temporary,

but the resurrection on that first Easter was the beginning of the end for the reign of death,

for the resurrection of Jesus was a permanent victory over death. Paul says in Rom. 6:9,

"For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again, death no

longer has mastery over him."

If resurrection is the most radical thing that can happen to one after death, and the

resurrection of Jesus was the first permanent resurrection, then we can see why Easter is the

world-wide focus that it is, for we are celebrating the most radical event that can be

conceived. Before Easter there was a sort of dualism in the universe. Satan and his rebel

forces had been cast out of heaven, but they had considerable power on earth. Their control

of the realm of the dead seemed to be secure. To rob the enemy of this stronghold someone

had to penetrate this fortress of death, and then escape to prove that life is superior to death.

Easter is the celebration of the success of just such a radical military maneuver.

By means of his radical resurrection Jesus defeated man's greatest enemy. Now a

follower of Jesus does not need to fear entering the realm of death, for it is no longer under

the control of Satan, but is under the Lordship of Christ. Paul makes this clear in Rom.

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