Summary: An encouraging look at the reality of the coming Resurrection and its nature.
The Resurrection of the Dead
John 20:19-20, 24-29
In our text, we see that Thomas had a difficulty in believing in the resurrection of the dead. Until he obtained proof (could see the Jesus with his own eyes and feel Him with his own hands), he would not believe. Jesus provided Doubting Thomas with that ‘proof’ and then said how “blessed” those would be who would believe without having such physical proof presented to them but would believe on the basis of the Apostles’ testimony - the Gospel.
2 Timothy 1:10, “our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
1 Corinthians 15:1-8, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.”
Amazingly, there were some at Corinth - Christians - who questioned the resurrection!
1 Corinthians 15:12, “Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?”
Paul tries to deal with their doubts by answering a couple of major questions presented in Verse 35:
(1) “But someone will say, ‘How are the dead raised?’” How can life come from death?
Paul answers this question with an example from daily life, in verse 36 - “You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies.” Whenever a seed is planted in the ground, it must first die before it can germinate. (Jesus spoke of His Own death and resurrection using this illustration, in John 12:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”)
The process by which a dead seed is transformed into a living plant is not understood by scientists, but it happens. God causes life to come from death. It is a foolish thing to question God’s power to raise the dead when we see it every day quickening and reviving seeds that are dead.
Psalm 104:30, “Thou dost send forth Thy Spirit, they are created; And Thou dost renew the face of the ground.” Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”
(2) “With what kind of body do they come?” What is the nature of the resurrection body? What are they like?
Continuing to use the example of the plant kingdom, Paul instructs us that the resurrection body will be different than the body we have now. Verse 37 - “that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.” In planting, that which is produced is very different from that which is planted. A grain is planted, a plant is the result. A change takes place!
Verses 38-41, “But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.”
We had seen how that a change takes place between the planting of the seed and the emergence of the plant. We can understand that God can cause a change to take place between the body that is planted in the grave and the body that will rise from the grave. The fact that God is able to make a change of body traits is shown in all of Creation.