Is the Resurrection Mysterious?

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Resurrection of the Flesh
Artist: Luca Signorelli

The resurrection of Jesus secures our salvation, but it is also connected to something else: Jesus’ resurrection is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).  The Apostle Paul uses an agricultural metaphor to describe our future resurrection.

The first crops that farmers gather from a harvest are a sure sign of the full harvest to come. Obviously, the full harvest is more abundant, but the firstfruits are not radically different than the harvest to come.  If tomatoes are the firstfruits, there will be a full harvest of tomatoes, not corn. In describing Jesus’ resurrection as firstfruits (1 Cor. 15:20, 23), Paul tells us about our own future resurrection. Like Jesus, each of us will have a resurrected physical body. Like Jesus, each of us will possess this body forever.  Both the firstfruits and the final harvest are physical, bodily resurrections.

There are many mysteries to our faith.  But when I think about gardening, the future resurrection of the dead doesn’t seem to be quite as mysterious.

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About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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4 Responses to Is the Resurrection Mysterious?

  1. Birdie Cutair says:

    but the men on the road to Emmaus didn’t recognize Him immediately…

  2. Janice says:

    Just as the first part of the harvest was brought to the Temple as an offering, Christ was the first to rise from the dead. Jesus is our forerunner, the guarantee of our eventual resurrection to eternal life. This not only gives me hope, it gives me peace and understanding of the great gift from God of his son Jesus.

  3. Ann Denbow Simmons says:

    Good morning:
    Janice, I love your explanation of Jesus as the representative of the first fruit. I honestly had not put his resurrection in the concept. BRAVO!!
    In order to fully comment on this topic I feel it is important to read Paul’s writing on the resurrection of Jesus found in Chapter 15 of Resurrection of Jesus For example verses 16, 17, and 18 of the same chapter. “For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.”
    In the Gospel of Thomas number 43 states: “His disciples said to Him: Who are you, that you said these things to us? Jesus said to them: You do not recognize who I am from what I said to you, but rather you have become like the Jews who either love the tree and hate its fruit, or love the fruit and hate the tree.” This is also found in John 8:25 and Matthew 7:16-20. Also Jesus parable about the good seed found Matthew 13:24-30
    Also found in the Gospel of Thomas number 73: “Jesus said: The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the workers are few. As the Lord to send workers for the harvest.” This is also found in Matthew 9:37-38
    In reference to Birdie’s comment: The encounter of Jesus with His two disciples on the road to Emmaus perhaps they did not recognize their master because of their own self pity and nostalgia. In reading the story one notes that the disciples were so trapped in their past and even filled with self pity that there was no way they could ever recognize Jesus. Is this not the same thing that happens to us as Christians sometimes that we get so caught up in the past and our own self pity that we do not recognize Jesus and his place in our life.

    • Birdie Cutair says:

      good comments Ann on the reason the men might not have recognized Jesus. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but so true.

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