[Rector]

Resurrection

 

I often get asked what evidence there is for the resurrection of the dead. Of course, if we confine ourselves to our own experience, then there is little. The poet Tennyson was right when he noted that just because we think we were not made to die, proves nothing in itself. In the end, only God can tell us what is in store for us after death. He alone has knowledge of the hereafter.

Jesus taught clearly that for believers, death will not interrupt our fellowship with the heavenly Father. On the Thursday evening before his crucifixion he told his disciples, "in my Father's house are many mansions..... I go to prepare a place for you... I will come again and take you to myself that where I am there you may be also", Jn.14:1. A little earlier he had told his friend Martha, as she grieved for her brother's death, "I am the resurrection, and the life: whoever believes in me, though they were dead, yet shall they live", Jn.11:25. The Apostle Paul is equally explicit when he says "the time of my departure is at hand, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of life", 2Tim.4:8.

Of course, doubts are many about the resurrection. Professor Lampe, who was the Regis Professor of Divinity at Oxford some years ago said, "We clearly cannot expect to be raised in our fleshly bodies, and our resurrection from death which will not be physical, cannot be different in kind from Jesus." For the Professor to say that because he cannot believe in his own resurrection he therefore cannot believe in Christ's, is a rather strange piece of inverted reasoning, especially as Christ's resurrection has a historical basis. In fact, if Jesus did not rise physically then the Christian faith is worthless. We might as well walk away from it as a joke. There is little point talking about spiritual resurrections when the clear teaching of the Bible is for the physical resurrection of Christ and of those who follow him. So, if Christ didn't rise from the dead on the first Easter morning then our faith is worthless.

"It is a very strange fact, as strange as strange can be, that whatever Miss T. eats turns into Miss T." Actually it is something more than strange, it is miraculous. The growth of a human being from the minutest speck, steadily growing according to a regular pattern without any guidance from anything outside, is something more than remarkable. Yet, it is so common and ordinary we rarely consider how extraordinary our life really is. God is the author and power of life. He brings it about, and it is well within the ability of the author of our nature to raise us after death with our bodies, even though we cannot see how such is possible.