God's End Game - Part 33

Series: God's End Game

August 04, 2019
Brad Shockley

Episode Notes

We are now 33 messages into the series God’s End Game. That makes me think of the words of that great theologian and philosopher, Jon Bon Jovi, who said…

Woah, we're half way there

Woah, livin' on a prayer

Take my hand, we'll make it I swear

Woah, livin' on a prayer

Some of you may just be keeping it to yourself, but I haven’t heard anyone say, “I’ll be glad when this is over.” If you are keeping it to yourself, thank you.

God’s End Game is his strategy, his plan to set his creation, and the pinnacles of his creation, back to rights, back to the way it was before shame and evil and sin and death came into the world.

We are dialing down hard into the most important play of God’s End Game strategy: the resurrection of Jesus. Once again I remind you everything else God is up to with us and the world flows out of that event. You might, in a way, say it’s all about the resurrection.

In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul went to a lot of trouble squashing the idea running around that there was no resurrection. In so doing he revealed something important about the resurrection, something that when rightly understood and applied, pertains directly to us…

1 Corinthians 15:20 (ESV) — 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Firstfruits had to do with a special offering Jews would make to God, the firstfruits offering. They took the first fruit of the coming harvest and offered it to God as a way of acknowledging him as their ultimate provider and thanking him for the coming provision.

There are two implications with firstfruits. One, if there are first fruits, then there must be an eventual harvest (more fruit to come). Two, whatever is true of the firstfruits is true of the harvest.

If Paul is talking about the resurrection of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15 and Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection, then those who have fallen asleep (saints who died in Christ) are the coming harvest. That’s the Last Day when all of God’s people are raised you see mentioned in the Bible.

And if Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection, then whatever is true of his resurrection will be true of ours and our lives following.

That’s why we are examining all the events surrounding that first Easter looking for clues about what our future resurrection will be like.

As I said last week, if you had a smart pastor, he’d organize all these appearances — these clues — in a clever way to artfully paint a beautiful picture to behold. But you do not have a pastor like that.

So we are approaching this the way we would a puzzle. Kind of randomly looking at what we can glean from the resurrection appearances, pieces of the puzzle, and putting those pieces together along the way. When you’re done with a puzzle you get to see the picture no matter the method you used in putting it together.

We’ve looked at the Easter morning resurrection appearance of Jesus to Mary Magdalene. She stood right in front of her Lord and didn’t recognize him. The same thing happened to the two disciples walking toward Emmaus.

When Mary saw the resurrected Jesus she thought she saw a simple gardener. The two disciples thought they were walking with a random guy who knew a lot about the Scriptures. It was when Jesus did something familiar — speaking Mary’s name, breaking bread with the two disciples — that he was recognized.

This demonstrates for us the truth that…

Jesus’ new resurrection body was the same yet different from his old body.

Now if Jesus is the firstfruits of the resurrection and whatever is true of his resurrection is true of ours, then that means our resurrection bodies will also be the same yet different.

Which tells us our heavenly bodies won’t be unfamiliar to us. This also gives us a taste of our future heavenly experience, what life in the new heavens and earth will be like BECAUSE if our resurrection bodies are familiar to us then they must be made to exist in a familiar place as well, a place the same yet different. More on that as we put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Let’s keep going in Luke’s account of what happened after Jesus was raised from the dead. To do that, let’s back up two verses…

Luke 24:33–35 (ESV) — 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

Now, here’s what happened next…

Luke 24:36–42 (ESV) — 36 As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. 

Just as Jesus dematerialized in front of the two disciples after breaking bread, he materialized in the room where the disciples had gathered. Because of that, they thought he was a ghost, a spirit.

Now if Jesus had never really been here in the flesh as some have believed and taught and if he had only been raised in spirit as some have taught, this next part is really confusing…

38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 

STOP. This is big. This accomplishes a lot. First, it destroys any argument claiming Jesus came in spirit or died in spirit only. I mean, if Jesus was going to clarify that’ he’d have done it here, right? But what does this text tell us?

He rose again in a real, live physical body. That body, according to Jesus himself, was “flesh and bones.” It was a body you could touch.

Apply the firstfruits principle here. Whatever is true of the firstfruits is true of the coming harvest. If Jesus had a resurrection body of flesh and bones, what kind of body will our resurrected body be? Flesh and bones. Physical NOT ethereal. 

Do the math here. If, on the Last Day, our new resurrection bodies are physical - the same yet different. Then what kind of place must the new heavens and earth be? Physical, material, the same yet different as well. More on that later.

Those are some big puzzle pieces coming together. Let’s keep going…

41 And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them. 

Let me connect this with another account to flesh out the puzzle piece hiding here…

John 21:1–14 (ESV) — 1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. 4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off. 9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

Circle verse 12 where Jesus said, “Come and have breakfast.” And draw a line from it to Luke 24:42-43 where it says, “They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.”

Jesus, in his resurrected body, ate physical, material food. Further confirming what we’ve already pieced together. Physical bodies are meant for physical sustenance. Apply the firstfruits principle. We will eat food in the new heavens and earth.

So the Great Marriage Supper of the Lamb we’ll look at  in the book of Revelation isn’t symbolic!

We’ve covered Luke’s account of these events. Now let’s connect it with John’s, who adds details as he did with Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Jesus.

John 20:19–20,  24–27 (ESV) — 19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord… 24 Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 

There’s that materializing thing again. Doors and distance are not an issue for Jesus in his resurrection body. There’s a strong possibility the firstfruits principle applies here as well!

27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 

Did you catch the puzzle piece in that text? Jesus, in his resurrection body, retained the scars of his crucifixion. Just as our personalities won’t be obliterated neither will our recollections of our old life.

Conclusion: I think now we’re ready to go back to our theological statement about Jesus’ resurrection…

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is that central moment in human history that serves as the foundational doctrine of Christianity. After having truly assumed human nature and submitted to an agonizing and shameful public death, the eternal Son of God was truly raised from the dead in his glorified physical body, no longer subject to decay and death. His resurrection validates his identity as the divine Son of God, demonstrates his irrevocable victory over death and the grave, and secures both the present salvation and future physical resurrection of believers.

Now let’s focus on one distinct phrase: the eternal Son of God was truly raised from the dead in his glorified physical body

Jesus came back in a body that was the same yet different. How was it the same? Physical. Made of flesh and bones. Made to exist in a physical place. How was it different? It was glorified. Made to exist in a physical place forever. Incapable of decay, corruption, or death.

The firstfruits principle means we will one day have a glorified body just like his. One day we will live forever in his presence. We’ll get to walk roads with him and have our hearts burn within us. One day we will almost forget there ever was such a thing as death and corruption. 

Still not convinced?

Philippians 3:20–21 (ESV) — 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

1 John 3:2 (ESV) — 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

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