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The Divine Promise of Your Bodily Resurrection

We hope you are blessed by this study of one of the fundamental doctrines of our Christian faith—the resurrection of your body. It was written by the Reverend William Pascoe Goard (1863 - 1937). He was a Methodist minister, born in England, and later moved to Canada.

THE MAN

The time of the great crisis in earth’s affairs was approaching. We refer to the crisis wherein the Son of God, who had become also the Son of man, should die upon the Cross. This is, after all, the pivot of time; the fulcrum of all history.

It is not necessary for us at this stage to reproduce the details of that great event. Some six days before the event there came certain Greeks saying to a disciple, Sir, we would see Jesus.”

The man broke out into a very rhapsody of triumph that the time had come when Europe, cultured Europe, should come to see Him. In His triumph, He called upon the Father, and the Father answered Him, with audible voice.

So the Greeks heard the voice of the Father, responding to the cry of the Son. The passage is short and is as follows:

And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: the same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. lie that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again. The people, therefore, that stood by and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.

Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die” (John 12:20-33).

Jesus did not grant the desired audience at that time. He had not yet progressed in His great work to the point of being lifted up as the object of the faith of the nations. That was yet to come.

There then followed the events which are so clearly set forth in the four Gospels. The reader should lay this aside and take up the Book and once more read the transactions there recorded. Gethsemane — the Judgment Hall — Calvary — The Tomb.

So the great transaction was done, and The Man had died.

THE LAST STAGE OF CHRIST’S TEACHING

The great Teacher now takes His disciples another step forward. This is the last stage of His personal teaching; and as usual, they are to see His teaching enacted in His Person.

What a stupendous thing this is which we are now called upon to investigate with as hardheaded minds as the world will produce. It is a study of life beyond the grave. It is the story of the activities of Jesus Christ of Bethlehem and Nazareth, of Calvary and the garden tomb, in the affairs of this world after His death and resurrection.

Think of it in the light of all that we have known and read, and try to realize the matter-of-factness of it all. There is nothing of the mystical here; on the contrary, everything is real. Especially is The Man real.

The occasion was the first Sunday evening gathering of the Christian Church. It was the evening of that Easter Sunday on which our Lord arose from the dead. The gathering in the upper room at Jerusalem was in a state of uncertainty. What had happened? What was going to happen?

As they were gathered, there came hurrying in, the two who had made the journey to Emmaus. They came with their testimony that the Lord is risen indeed. The women were full of their experiences in the garden.

Others were concerned at the frantic questioning the Jews were making as to the body of the Christ, and were wondering what action the Council would take regarding the whole matter, and those involved in it. While they were in this condition of uncertainty, Jesus appeared in the midst of them.

THE NECESSITY OF CHRIST’S BODILY RESURRECTION

We must take note of certain general things now known to us, but not at that period of their development known to the disciples.

As there are many things to be done for us and in us and through us by the Holy Ghost, untrammelled with the limitations of humanity as to time and place; so there remain many things to be done for the world which must be done through the instrumentality of the humanity of Jesus the Christ.

We can scarcely think of the Holy Ghost as seated upon and administering the affairs of the throne of David. We are plainly told by our Lord Himself that all judgment is committed unto the Son, because He is the Son of man.

As Sir Edward Grey said in the first days of August, 1914, regarding Britain and peace: There is much stern work to be done before peace can be secured,” so on an infinitely higher plane there is much stern work for the Son of man to do before the world is settled into the peace and prosperity of the Kingdom of God under His rule.

Indeed, there has been continuous work for The Man to do in heaven during the Christian dispensation, and for as long as that dispensation shall last. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

THE FACT OF BODILY RESURRECTION

Because of these things and all that go with them, it was necessary that Jesus Christ should again clothe Himself with His bodily form and take up his personal work in the realm beyond the grave.

He now appeared among the first Christian congregation in the upper room at Jerusalem. The Jews had rejoiced in the possession of the dead body of the Christ. The dead body of the Christ was their justification.

If He were what He claimed to be, even the Son of God, and equal with God, His soul would not remain in hell, neither would His body see corruption; for thus the Psalmist had declared ages ago of the Messiah of God. But now the Jews, in spite of watch and seals on the tomb, had lost the body of Jesus; their justification was gone; their confusion was complete.

But while the Jews bewailed the loss of the dead body of the Christ, the Church was to be endowed for ever with the living Person — yes, bodily Person — of the Christ of God. Their first reaction was that they beheld a disembodied spirit, but Jesus met this by physical demonstration.

Now came forty wonderful days in which, by every test known to men, He demonstrated the fact that He was indeed risen from the dead. It was a hard lesson for them to learn.

It took forty days for the actuality of the truth to be established in their minds so that they could go out and bear testimony to this fact that God had raised Him from the dead. They saw Him; thus they had visible demonstration. They heard His voice; thus they had audible demonstration.

They handled Him; thus they had tangible demonstration. They provided Him with food and watched Him eat it; thus they had another type of physical demonstration. Thomas demanded further proof, and he was invited to put his finger into the print of the nails, and to thrust his hand into the pierced side. Then he and the others believed.

THE LIVING MAN

It is necessary, and always has been, that this link in the chain of our Lord’s activities should be clear. There is more to follow, even after our own day, which depends on the fact that Jesus is alive to carry forward His great work to the end. It was not, then, a disembodied spirit that the disciples met in the upper room but The Living Man.

As a fact this is interesting and amazing. In doctrine we, with many others, believe in the resurrection from the dead. This is a very, very widespread belief. It always seems to have been so. It is to be classed among the instinctive knowledge of certain of our race. But to meet a resurrected man; that was very wonderful; that was the fact at which the disciples wondered.

The implications are also very wonderful. Jesus acts for the race of man and stands as Representative of them. It is so in His having vanquished death and brought life and immortality to light. He came up from the grave on the other side and cries to us still, I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” What a fact! What a message!

HIS CONTINUED INCARNATION

He was careful to convey to them the knowledge of His continued incarnation. He ascended from among them clothed in His body. The two angels immediately testified that He should so come in like manner as they had seen Him ascend.

During all the time of the Christian era, clothed in His resurrection body, raised in glory and power, it is true He has been seated at the right hand of the Majesty on High. His nail-pierced hand has been held out to those who have gone across the flood. When we arrive on the other side of the veil the strong, warm hand of the risen Christ will be outstretched to grasp and welcome us.

He is living to come again! That is the lesson we need every day to learn anew. Grasped in His hand the rod of iron will be used to rule the nations. Order will be brought into the House of God and into the Kingdom of God by the strong, stern hand of Christ.

Shall we esteem this lesson learned? Shall we esteem the questions which might arise answered?

Then is the education of the disciples complete as far as Jesus would personally conduct them. Henceforth the Holy Ghost will take up the task. There awaited one step more, namely, the endowment of them with power for their ministry to the world.

Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

This was the instruction which Jesus gave to His disciples before He ascended from among them. Let us consider this for a moment: The endowment with power from on high.

It is a pity that in these later generations we have been so sure that this power is purely spiritual, and applicable only to spiritual uses. We have not at all visualized what it was the Lord meant His disciples, and means us, to understand.

NATURAL POWER

Steam power has been in the world as long as fire and water have been present. Yet it was not until the eighteenth century that men began to realize the practical importance of that form of power. Electricity has been in the world from the beginning, yet it was not until the nineteenth century that men began to realize that it might be utilized.

Scientists are now probing for the power which hides in the atom; and they will probably learn how to release and harness it after a while. It has been present since the creation of the material universe. Scientists are also investigating and endeavouring to harness cosmic rays and to utilize their power. Neither are these searches vain. As a Press Association writer said recently in a widely-published item regarding the uses of new powers: Anything seems to be possible these days.”

Now as to the power with which the Lord is prepared to endow His Church and Kingdom, we believe that no more has been done with it than Faraday did in his day with electricity; we still stand at the threshold of its utilization. If we take all the forces known in nature, such as steam and electricity, atomic power, etc., and mass them all, they will fall into insignificance before the power with which the Lord has endowed His Church and Kingdom.

-END-

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