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
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.