Tim Keller | April 20, 1997
Jesus Christ is teaching us in this passage about the nature of the resurrection, that if we believe in him there’s a future for us. He says there’s a resurrection in the future we wait for and there’s a resurrection in the present we can experience now. It’s an understanding of both of those that radically shaped the early Christians, and it’s a disorientation to those that’s behind the fact that the Christian church looks different from that today.
The concept of the resurrection of the future that Jesus talked about is revolutionary. It’s paradigm-busting, but it’s only an intellectual concept. It’s only the knowledge of something in the future, and it isn’t operative in our lives unless the knowledge of the future resurrection becomes operative through the experience of a present resurrection, a spiritual resurrection now. So let’s look at those two.
The stories of Jesus’ resurrection in the Bible teach us about two types of resurrection: one that will happen in the future and one that’s happening right now in our spiritual lives. It’s this belief that helped the early Christians face both happiness and pain, making Christianity attractive to many. As the saying goes, “The blood of the martyrs is seed.” But if a church isn’t showing these qualities, it might not fully understand the resurrection. It’s not just a future promise, but also a current spiritual reality that invites us into a new life.
1. He passes through walls
After Jesus came back to life, he appeared to his friends, even though the doors were locked. He just “stood” among them. This shows that He’s not limited by physical things, proving the divine nature of His resurrection.
2. He has sensory engagement with the world
The disciples were invited to touch, see, and hear Jesus, showing that His resurrected form was physical and tangible. He wasn’t a ghost, but had a body of flesh and bones. Even eating food confirmed this, showing that He could still interact with the physical world, despite His supernatural abilities.
3. It is still him
Even though Jesus was transformed, He was still the same person. The fact that the disciples were willing to give up their lives for their beliefs shows how believable the resurrection stories are. This mix of physical and spiritual realities in the Bible challenges our usual way of thinking, showing us how important both aspects are in Christianity. The resurrection is central to our faith and shapes a unique lifestyle filled with struggle, peace, love, and courage.
1. It leads you to fight
Being a Christian means actively working to heal the world’s hurts. For example, a missionary in Cambodia showed this by serving others selflessly. We’re encouraged to take risks and make sacrifices to improve our communities, just like Jesus did. Our faith also appreciates the physical world and interacts with it, which has even helped to shape modern science.
2. It leads you to rest
In places like New York City, people are often busy chasing material wealth and experiences. But understanding the resurrection can bring peace. It promises a future filled with physical and sensory experiences, even for those with physical challenges. This belief helps us live without regrets, knowing that the best things on earth are just a glimpse of what we’ll experience through Jesus, giving us a sense of rest and peace.
3. It teaches you love
The resurrection gives us a unique view of life and death. Jesus promises a place in His Father’s house where we’ll continue to exist, love, learn, and be loved, keeping our identities and recognizing others. This ongoing existence highlights the endless value of relationships and the joy they bring, inspiring us to invest in them with hope and love.
4. Don’t be afraid
Jesus tells his friends that His resurrection means their life’s debts are paid. Death isn’t something to fear, but a way to grow. Being innocent and a substitute, He gives Christians a life free from fear, filled with love and peace. This fearless life comes through personal encounters with Jesus and His saving actions, which might seem scary at first, but ultimately lead us towards him and offer peace and redemption through the Bible’s stories.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
February Book Offer