Reflections on the Resurrection, Part 1: What will it be like?

We know that a day will come when all who have died will be raised from the dead. We are certain this event shall happen because of the historically verified resurrection of the miracle-working, bi-vocational rabbi from Nazareth, Jesus. He was crucified somewhere around the 3rd of April in the year AD 33. His resurrection made him “the firstborn out from the realm of the dead” (Col 1:18, Rev 1:5). His resurrection “declared him to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness” (Rom 1:4). His resurrection also assures us that our creator has appointed him as the Messiah of Israel and of all nations. He will “judge the world in righteous on the day God has fixed.” (Acts 17:31). 

If you desire to research for yourself the truth of Christ’s rising, I recommend On the Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. Wright and two works by Craig Blomberg, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels and The History Reliability of the New Testament.

The Apostle Paul understood that there was a direct albeit mysterious corollary between wholeheartedly obeying Christ’s commands in this life and the kind of resurrection we will experience. (Phil 3:10) Saint John also understood this. “When Jesus appears, we will be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:3 )

Here are twelve thoughts about that Day:

  1. Every secret thing, both good and evil, will be revealed.
  2. Every generation and every people group, from Adam to the final person born into the world, will be gathered in one place at one time.
  3. Every individual person will have opportunity to render commentary on everyone else without the possibility of deceit, conceit, or error.
  4. Unfinished conversations will be completed and unfinished business will be assessed.
  5. People will have opportunity to pronounce last words and final goodbyes to one another.
  6. Those who did wrong will face those they did wrong to.
  7. Those who benefited from the kindness of another will face those who were kind to them.
  8. Each person will inherit the role they were designed for; the role they matured into; and the role that corresponded to the suffering they endured on earth. Cab drivers may become kings, and vice versa.
  9. Each person will be revealed for who they really are. Glory will be transferred to where and to whom it belongs, including glory to God for glorious lives not realized or recognized during earth’s history.
  10. A realm of responsibility in the new heaven and new earth of God is given corresponding to the degree to which a person was faithful with what (and with whom) he was given in this life.
  11. A weight of the glory of God is given corresponding to the degree to which a person endured suffering with a spirit of grace upon their lives.
  12. A degree of intimate friendship with the living God is given corresponding to the degree to which a person leaned upon and obeyed Jesus in this life.

May the Lord graciously pour out on us His Holy Spirit us as we reflect on these twelve things, that they would lead us to life and a more complete maturity for that Day. Amen.

Painting: A rendering of Fortunino Matania’s  The Last General Absolution of the Munster Fusiliers at Rue du Bois. Commissioned by Jessie Louisa Rickard, the original of which was destroyed during the bombing of London in World War II.
From Michael Parsons of the Irish Times, 4 April 2015, writes, “The painting depicts one of the most poignant events in the history of Irish involvement in the first World War. Soldiers from the Second Battalion, Royal Munster Fusiliers, commanded by Lieut-Col Victor Rickard (also depicted on horseback in the painting), stopped at a wayside shrine near the village of Rue du Bois in northwest France on Saturday evening, May 8th, 1915.
“Fr Gleeson performed the ritual “general absolution” – granted under Catholic canon law when there is a risk of imminent death and no time for individual confessions. The following day hundreds of the men – including Rickard – died on the battlefield.”
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