Our theme for this month: “Understanding Salvation”
Our Bible verse for today: “Then he appeared to over five hundred brothers and sisters at one time …” 1 Corinthians 15:6 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Jesus walked the old earth in His resurrection body; we will walk the new earth in our resurrection bodies.”
The primary reason Jesus remained on earth for forty days after His resurrection was to provide physical proof of His resurrection. His followers in those days had the almost impossible task of spreading the new Christian faith and planting churches in communities all across the land, and they were to do it in the face of tremendous skepticism and opposition. So they needed to have their faith bolstered by having personal physical encounters with the resurrected Jesus.
But that’s not the only reason He stayed on earth for that time. As was true of Jesus’ entire earthly life, one of His purposes on earth was to teach us lessons through His personal example. That’s true of His forty extra days on earth too.
In his wonderful and very helpful book “Heaven”, author Randy Alcorn proposes that, “Jesus walked the earth in his resurrection body for forty days, showing us how we would live as resurrected beings. In effect, he also demonstrated “where” we would live as resurrected human beings – on Earth.”
The resurrected Jesus walked the earth. His feet actually touched the dirt road and the dust got between His toes. He walked on a beach and felt the sand beneath His feet. The resurrected Jesus talked to people, and they talked to Him. He started a campfire, he cooked a meal for His friends, and at one point we even see Him eating. His was a resurrected body that was both physical and spiritual, and in it He experienced physical earthly things. That’s a picture of what eternity will be like for us in our resurrection bodies.
But this is different from what people normally assume will be true about our existence in eternity. We assume that eternity means a non-earth, that it is some kind of mystical spiritual ghost-like existence. But that’s not the picture the Bible gives us. Instead, the Bible describes a new earth, not a non-earth, and it is a new earth that is like the current earth in many ways and which will be familiar to us. In John 14:1-3 Jesus seems to be telling us that we will feel right at home there.
Spending eternity in our resurrection bodies on a new and redeemed earth is going to be fascinating and exciting. There will be much exploring and learning and activities to keep us occupied. What kinds of exploring, learning, and activities – and with whom? That’s a good question and we will talk more about that in the days to come.