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Posts Tagged ‘resurrection’

John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.””

In the Marvel comic book The Avengers, there was a storyline in Avengers Annual #14 called “The War to End All Skrulls” (the Avengers part of this story was called “Fifth Column”). It had the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, out in space, converging on a plot by a member of the shapeshifting Skrull alien race to use a “doomsday” weapon. A renegade named Zabyk was threatening to use a galactic bomb to take command of the Skrull race in the aftermath of the destruction of its throne world by Galactus. He used the genius of an old compatriot, a scientist named Myrn, to fuel a hyperwave bomb through a dimensional interface on the old Skrull power asteroid to “change the Skrull race forever”. The Avengers had allied themselves with a Skrull contingent under General Zedrao (originally to stop Thanos’s self-proclaimed granddaughter Nebula), and partnered with Zabyk’s old rebel ally, Prince Dezan, to try and stop him. To activate the bomb, Myrn had Zabyk shapeshift his form into insulate-armor, needed due to heavy radiation leakage during the bomb’s powering up. In his moment of seeming triumph, Zabyk slew Myrn and activated the bomb. What the bomb did, though, was not what everyone thought. The dimensional radiation from the bomb stabilized the Skrulls’ deviant DNA throughout the galaxy, thus removing their shapeshifting abilities! As Myrn said, “it would change the Skrull race forever”.

Once the Avengers and the Fantastic Four had broken through the chamber to confront Zabyk, he was pitifully whimpering that he couldn’t get out of the armor! As Reed Richards commented to Zabyk and to Captain America, they had found the dying Myrn when they entered the space station. He confirmed what Reed suspected the device to be. “Ironically,” Reed commented, “Zabyk killed the only person who could have possibly helped him get out of the armor”. No one else could.

In the passage above, Jesus is at the tomb of Lazarus, who had died days earlier. In talking with Lazarus’s sister, Martha, Jesus assured her that Lazarus would rise again. When Martha answered that she knew he would rise in the resurrection on the last day, Jesus said to her directly, “I am the resurrection and the life”. Only through belief in Jesus as Savior and Messiah, would a Christian never die. Our old bodies may pass, but our spirits will be forever with Him! Jesus goes on to demonstrate this by physically calling Lazarus back to life.

Only one Savior can give us that promise of resurrection and life. Not Mohammed, not Buddha, not any other prophet of any other religion in the world. Only Jesus gave Himself on the cross as the perfect offering for our sins, and only Jesus died and rose again to conquer sin and death’s power…forever! On this evening before Easter, think on that thought…and rejoice!

Happy Easter! He is Risen indeed!

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Verse 6: “But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!””

In French Rarebit, Bugs Bunny is in Paris and walked right between two French cafés, whose chefs, Francois and Louis, were both determined to make Bugs the main entrée that day. Bugs pulled a typical maneuver and got both chefs arguing with each other over who owned the rabbit. This led to physical insults (nose tweaking, beard pulling) and, of course, led to cartoon violence with frying pans and the like. Bugs just calmly watched, noting the “terrible display of temper”.

You might say Paul pulled the same maneuver. He knew about the simmering rivalry between Sadducees and Pharisees, especially when it came to religious doctrine. All he had to do was claim honestly that he was a Pharisee and what he stood for (resurrection of the dead). Non-cooperative minds and partisan defenses did the rest. Soon, the council wasn’t even debating why Paul was brought before them, but back to common infighting. The Pharisee scribes, not fans of Paul, nevertheless claimed in council that they could find no fault with this man.

I find it remarkable that God blessed Paul to use the gifts and training he had to not only stand for Christ, but to also point out the hypocrisy of religious leaders of the day…much like Jesus did.

Something to think about.

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Verse 19: “And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak?””

I once went on a once-in-a-lifetime trip as a high-school band student. I toured with the United States Collegiate Wind Bands, one of several ambassador bands comprised of musicians from across the United States. During our 3-week European tour, we got to stay in the homes of Dutch families in the village of Oud Beijerland. Now, in the Netherlands, English is taught as a mandatory second language; still my fellow Alabama roommate and I were careful not to let our “Southern accents” slip when we talked with our host family. One evening, as we were enjoying the sunset of a beautiful Dutch day, I asked our host family’s 16-year-old daughter Rachel, “what time do y’all eat supper?” She blinked several times, pondering what I said before innocently replying, “what time do…what?” Embarrassed, I restated, “um, what time does your family eat dinner?” She smiled, answered “around 5pm…in fact, I should go inside and help my mother.” With that, she excused herself. My roommate Drake picked at me, “you idiot.” I said, “I know! I know! She had no idea what “y’all” means!” 🙂

The Athenians were bewildered by Paul’s talk of resurrection…some thought he was a “babbler” while others thought that it must be some new god he was describing. Long before social media, most Athenians’ favorite activity was chatting about the latest intellectual pursuit or new philosophy. So, quite fittingly, they brought Paul to the Areopagus, the local center of all discussions, to ask, “what’s it all about”?

Unlike my question to Rachel and her response, Paul figuratively rolled his sleeves up as if to say, “I’m glad you asked!”

More to come!

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Verses 15-18: “He is the image of the invisible God; the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”

Remember taking vocabulary tests in school? I always enjoyed learning a new word, especially if I could use it in poetry or other writing. I remember learning the term “primogeniture”: the rights and privileges assigned to the eldest of children, especially concerning inheritance or succession. Since I was born first in our family, I kind of liked that term for obvious reasons. However, I have learned in life, that being the first one born doesn’t always guarantee you get everything. (For example, my son, who is taller than me, certainly didn’t get his height directly from me! 🙂 )

The passage of Scriptures that Paul wrote to the Colossian church regards Jesus’s place in things, and that is firstborn. It doesn’t mean here that Jesus was created (a misconception); Jesus is God, one of the Trinity (see John 1), and Paul writes here of Jesus’s rank: He is the preeminent firstborn over all creation. He existed before creation. Jesus is before all things, and in Him all things consist. He is like the linchpin…pull out the linchpin holding things together and everything falls apart. Paul here is countering an argument by other false religious teachers in the area that Jesus was one of several important spirits. Folks, there can only be one true holder of the title and rank of firstborn…and the title-holder is Jesus.

Also, the passage mentions “the firstborn from the dead”. As the Holman New Testament Commentary on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, & Colossians nicely states on page 283-284: “Again, firstborn here has nothing to do with time. Others preceded Jesus in rising from the dead. Lazarus is one example (John 11:38-44). Jesus is first in rank. Others were raised only to die again. Jesus was the first person to rise, never to die again. He is the first person to conquer death, and all other resurrections are based on his. The glorious truth for us is this: because of his resurrection, we are assured of our own resurrection (1 Cor 15:20-23).”

Something to think about today.

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