44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high." 50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them. 51 While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
It has been said that Jesus' resurrection is not a reversal of death (resuscitation) but a victory over death. In other words, when Jesus was raised from the dead, God did not reverse the process of death in his dying body--he was given a spiritual body that superseded the old one--one that can no longer dies! The resurrection body is a physical reality with respect to earthly existence: Jesus proved it by eating broiled fish! Spirits or ghosts cannot eat. The food offered to the roaming hungry ghosts during the Chinese Seventh Month Hungry Ghosts Festival alway remains uneaten by the roadside. Spirits and ghosts have not physical bodies to eat the food left behind by the praying people.
Thank God Jesus has demonstrated that immortality is not boring. We will have a physical body and the best part is we can still enjoy our favourite food--char kuay teow. durians and roti prata! I heard last Saturday at an Alpha session that someone thought Heaven would be dreadful if we are just spirits in Heaven because she would miss her greatest physical pleasure on Earth--eating! Thank God that Jesus ate the broiled fish and it went down--not through, like the ghost-pirates of the Caribbean who could no longer enjoy food anymore.
But Jesus' resurrection body is unlike the earthly body we have now--for it is not confined by space and time. In a moment Jesus could disappear. In another moment, he could re-appear in another place. At first he was with the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. The next moment he went through the walls of the house where the disciples were gathered and said, "Peace to you!" He was not trapped by what the physicists call the Space-Time continuum. The resurrection body is an eternal one--it could exist comfortably within the Space-Time continuum (eating and being touched) but it could also escape the Space-Time continuum in a blink of an eye. We will no longer need planes to move from one place to the next on earth. We only need to think--and we are there! Amazing--all within the reality of spiritual fact, and more exciting than the realm of science fiction!
Amazingly, Jesus did not say that the Law and the Prophets are passe, instead He affirmed its relevance: "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled" (v.44). Christ's suffering, death and resurrection has been prophesied in the Old Testament (Law, Prophets and Psalms). When Jesus was with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, he explained his death and resurrection thus: "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." (v.27). If the Law, Prophets and Psalms speak about Christ, why do some people say they are no longer relevant under Grace? Is not Christ the heart of God's Grace?
The goal of salvation is deliverance from sin and its effects: diseases, demonization and death. The resurrection body is the final end-point of God's salvation for it is a body that cannot be sick or demonized or die. It is also the only dual-reality body that can enable us to live in the coming Kingdom of God when Heaven and Earth fused into one Realm:
- Rev 21:1-4 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
Father, thank You for the hope of salvation--which is an immortal body that cannot get sick, demonized or die. Better yet, it is the body that enables Your people to live in the new Dual-Reality Heaven-Earth Fusion. Amen.