I\’ve had loved ones die, pass on, leave this world. Funerals, interments, memorial services–I\’ve been there, done that. One thing I have a hard time imagining, though, is one of them knocking on my door in the near future, giving me a great big bear hug and saying \”Hello Jodi!\”.
Yet, something similar happened to the people of Jerusalem the day of Jesus\’ resurrection (the first Easter). It says in Matthew 27 that upon Jesus\’ death that \”graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep [died] were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.\” Yeah, dead people were resurrected in the flesh (like Jesus) and went to visit loved ones! I don\’t know about you, but I\’ve never heard a sermon on this tidbit…but there it is. It must have blown away the whole community!!!! I know if a deceased loved one ever landed on my doorstep, I\’d be blown away with more joy than is possible to imagine!!
What was the point of this radical happening? I mean, what was God doing by popping dear old grandpa or grandma out of the grave fully alive and having them come for a visit? Was it simply an exclamation point on Jesus\’ resurrection? Was it to make sure that people later believed the teaching that Jesus had arisen from the grave? Was He providing a snapshot of firstfruits Jesus with a sampling of His harvest? The Bible does tell us that Jesus is the first of those who are resurrected; He is the firstborn of the children of God, the head of redeemed humanity. These grave popper uppers helped hit that point home, no doubt.
Is there anything else at hand here? I mean, what about us, you and I? Do we get to be grave popper uppers too? In the Bible\’s apocalyptic prophecy, it says we will be resurrected in the flesh. At Jesus\’ Second Coming we will be raised from the dead (spirit reunited with the body) and brought into His glorious Kingdom, His new heaven and new earth. We\’ll be like Jesus is now and like those who were resurrected on His Resurrection Day.
Look at your hand, observe it…after death, it will \”be\” again…all of your flesh will \”be\” again. Gaze on a deceased loved one\’s picture…they will \”be\” again, in the flesh bear hugs will again happen. A resurrected body is a spiritual body, a body where death is defeated; where dying is no more…life is forever. (1 Corinthians 15)
Shortly after this reunion of body and spirit, the Bible tells us Judgment takes place…those raised will either go to heaven or be cast in the lake of fire. Both heaven and hell will be places where physical bodies will eternally breathe easily or gasp for air, writhe in agony or dance with glee, scream horrors or sing praises. Today, in this time and space, we get to choose our eternal resting place. Christ died, defeated death and was resurrected so we may eternally live like He is living today. Much is at stake; much is to be gained…a simple leap of faith, a confession, a turning, a surrender…small change for a future grave popper upper…