Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.

1 Corinthians 15:43

“Our bodies…will be raised in glory.” (1 Corinthians 15:43) – read verses 42-44 as a unit.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow tells the story of the Headless Horseman, a soldier killed in battle when an enemy cannonball tore off his head, with his comrades only able to retrieve his decapitated body from the field of battle. He arises at night as a ghost from the cemetery of Sleepy Hollow, sporting a Jack O’ Lantern in place of his head, haunting the town’s inhabitants in his furious search for the head he has lost.

It is a common depiction of what many people think the afterlife is like. The dead are portrayed as disembodied spirits or ghosts and usually appear as they died – headless, missing an arm or a leg or in the hospital gown they were wearing when they died.

The Greeks did not hold to a physical resurrection of the dead. They believed in the immortality of the soul, living a shadowy existence in Hades, free of corruption.

On the other hand, the Jews did believe in the resurrection of the body, but some taught it would be raised in the form it was when it died. It was not all bad news, however. Whatever form your body was in, once raised it would then also be healed.

Paul speaks to this type of thinking with the wonderful words of the hope of the complete transformation of our bodies.

When raised, our bodies will be indestructible and free from all corruption (v42). The dead will not be raised as they died!

When raised, our bodies will be glorious and powerful (v43). A body buried in brokenness is dishonourable because, from God’s point of view, there is nothing honourable about a body decaying in the ground.

When raised, our bodies will be spiritual (v44). This does not mean we will be raised as ghosts. Paul is contrasting our present bodies with those we will have in the Age to Come. Our present bodies are natural ones, well suited and adapted to our present existence. But our future bodies will be spiritual – well suited and adapted to the Age to Come, an Age governed by the Spirit of God.

Instead of spending eternity in a fruitless search for a missing head (or any other body part), we will be raised in newness of life, possessing bodies that are gloriously made for the Kingdom of God.

What a transformation this will be!

For further reflection: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.

 

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow tells the story of the Headless Horseman, a soldier killed in battle when an enemy cannonball tore off his head, with his comrades only able to retrieve his decapitated body from the field of battle. He arises at night as a ghost from the cemetery of Sleepy Hollow, sporting a Jack O’ Lantern in place of his head, haunting the town’s inhabitants in his furious search for the head he has lost.

It is a common depiction of what many people think the afterlife is like. The dead are portrayed as disembodied spirits or ghosts and usually appear as they died – headless, missing an arm or a leg or in the hospital gown they were wearing when they died.

The Greeks did not hold to a physical resurrection of the dead. They believed in the immortality of the soul, living a shadowy existence in Hades, free of corruption.

On the other hand, the Jews did believe in the resurrection of the body, but some taught it would be raised in the form it was when it died. It was not all bad news, however. Whatever form your body was in, once raised it would then also be healed.

Paul speaks to this type of thinking with the wonderful words of the hope of the complete transformation of our bodies.

When raised, our bodies will be indestructible and free from all corruption (v42). The dead will not be raised as they died!

When raised, our bodies will be glorious and powerful (v43). A body buried in brokenness is dishonourable because, from God’s point of view, there is nothing honourable about a body decaying in the ground.

When raised, our bodies will be spiritual (v44). This does not mean we will be raised as ghosts. Paul is contrasting our present bodies with those we will have in the Age to Come. Our present bodies are natural ones, well suited and adapted to our present existence. But our future bodies will be spiritual – well suited and adapted to the Age to Come, an Age governed by the Spirit of God.

Instead of spending eternity in a fruitless search for a missing head (or any other body part), we will be raised in newness of life, possessing bodies that are gloriously made for the Kingdom of God.

What a transformation this will be!

For further reflection: 2 Corinthians 5:1-10.