Thursday’s Bible Study

April 18, 2009


Unlike Sunday’s, we don’t usually record Thursday night’s Bible studies.  Since I taught this week–and really enjoyed it!–I thought I’d pass it along to you.

Normally Thursday night’s Bible study serves to augment our Sunday studies, generally going deeper in to areas we don’t have the time to cover in the text.  So, since, Stan taught on the resurrection this Sunday, I decided to take a deeper look in to it.  Here’s what I found (and pretty close to my message notes).

Many of us this past Sunday met the greeting “He is risen!” with a respondent  “He is risen indeed!”–but what does resurrection really mean?  We know it is important, even central to the faith (I Cor 15:12-20), but what is resurrection really about?

Many times resurrection serves as a kind of theological gateway: Jesus resurrected and one day I will too.  Or, Jesus’ resurrection reminds me that my sins were paid for on the cross.  Or, resurrection can also be the ultimate proof that Jesus was right.  Though I think all these things are true, they don’t really seem to be truths we find only in the resurrection.  In II Tim 2:8-9 Paul admonishes Timothy to “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David; such is my gospel, for which I suffer hardhsip to the point of imprisonment as a criminal, but God’s message is not imprisoned!” (NET).  With nearly the same ending as Acts, Paul says that the Gospel is going forward regardless of his own personal situation.  And what is this Gospel?  That Jesus the son of David has been resurrected.  That’s it!

So, what Gospel do we find communicated in Jesus resurrection?  We could look at a lot of things here, but I want to start with something so basic it seems too obvious: Jesus rose in a body.

Jesus rose bodily

Not Jesus the friendly ghost.  Not Jesus the good dream, but Jesus wrapped in flesh.  “Duh” right?  Why then does Luke find it so important to “waste” time on so trivial a point?  Following Jesus’ appearance to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, Jesus appears to the disciples in Jerusalem, where he is forced to prove his bodily existence.  “Look! Feel!” he tells them.  As the final proof, he asks for fish to finally prove to the incredulous disciples that he isn’t a ghost.

Scanning Jesus other appearances in the NT he always appears in a body.  Paul, Stephen, John–doesn’t matter.  Jesus has a body, because when salvation comes, he comes wrapped in flesh–restored, pre-Fall, glorified flesh.

Unlike the Gnostics, Jesus has no interest in saving you from your flesh.  Rather, he is restoring physical creation.  More than just saving souls, Jesus’ bodily resurrection shows us that bodies matter, that if we are going to follow faithfully, we must only care for souls, but for bodies as well.

Jesus bodily resurrection happened on earth

Secondly, Jesus resurrected on the earth.  Another “Duh.” I know, but think about it: he could have sent a message.  Text message or angel, he didn’t have to rise here.  This is going to take a quick survey of Scripture.

I Cor. 15:20 “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” reminds us that Jesus goes before us and that we will follow him in resurrection.

II Tim 2:11-12 “This saying is trustworthy: If we died with him, we will also live with him. If we endure, we will also reign with him” speaks of the sometimes surprising reality that those who follow Christ will one day reign with him.  Its not a surprise that Jesus is going to reign (“kingdom” is mentioned over 100x in the Gospels!), but as long as we’re looking forward to spending eternity in heaven, I think reigning with Jesus is surprising.  So, where is this kingdom of Jesus’?  More than a few of you of course have already anticipated the answer: His kingdom is going to be here on earth.

Think back to the Old Testament.  Why the emphasis on “the land” (cf. Lev. 26)?  Why does the earth rejoice at the Lord’s judgement?  Think of Romans.  Why is the earth said to be “groaning for redemption”?  Finally, remember the Bible’s ending in Revelation 21:1-5 and 10 when God’s dwelling is finally made among men and the new Jerusalem descends out of heaven to earth (cf. Is. 65 and Hag 2).  Finally Genesis 3 has been totally reversed and fellowship with God has been totally restored here on earth!

So, bringing it all together: Jesus resurrects here on earth because this is where his kingdom will eternally reside.  So, how are we treating our King’s great kingdom?

Long one today I know, but I wanted to pass on to you the same stuff I enjoyed studying so much this last week.

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