To call the resurrection of Jesus “groundbreaking” is an understatement. It changed everything. It is the basis of our faith. There is debate in the church about whether the resurrection was a physical event. The Gospel stories make it very clear that it was physical (John 20:27; 21:9, 15; Luke 24:30, 40–43), but with some very big differences – Jesus would suddenly disappear, or appear in their midst though the doors were locked. Paul addresses this in our passage from 1 Corinthians 15 above: the resurrection body is a spiritual body not a natural body – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t physical. Quantum physicists are discovering that physicality and spirituality belong to the same continuum, so perhaps we might see the resurrection body as a fulfilled body, one which has reached its full potential.
The resurrection was a wonderful event that revolutionized the whole cosmos, but it was not complete until Jesus had ascended to the Father and poured out the Spirit on us at Pentecost. In ascending to the Father and being absorbed into the Godhead, Jesus became not remote but universally accessible. In the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost he became not just accessible but fully present in our lives.
These three linked mysteries are central to the Christian faith and make it possible for us to actually, personally, experience the living Jesus literally present with us in our hearts in everyday life, in all his power and joy.
Theologians have been arguing for centuries about the physical resurrection and the resurrection body of Jesus. What do you think about it?
In what ways do you experience the presence of Jesus in your daily life?
How do you see the Holy Spirit manifest in the church today?
God of life and power, we marvel at the mystery that you have come to live with us – actually inhabit us – in the Holy Spirit, the presence of Jesus. May his indwelling of our hearts day by day work the miracle of grace within us, filling us with his joy and kindness, transforming us into the likeness of his loving face, setting us free from all that warps and diminishes us, and bringing us into the fullness of abundant life. Thank you, Father, for this mind-boggling gift of salvation; may we prove worthy of what you have entrusted to us, in Jesus’ holy name; Amen.