29th May 2014

The Resurrection and Ascension 

“Having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”
Colossians 2:12 (NIV)

Some time ago I read a news article with the headline, “Why flatworms may hold the secret to immortality.” The article began by stating that “British scientists believe they may have identified how humans could potentially live forever – and it’s all about flatworms. Experts at Nottingham University have been examining how two species of flatworms are able to regenerate themselves again and again – raising the hopes – that scientists could find ways of alleviating the effects of ageing in human cells.” The article concludes with a quote from one of the scientists involved, “The next goals for us are to understand the mechanisms in more detail and to understand more about how you evolve an immortal animal.” 

But the Bible does not define immortality or eternal life in terms of longevity of earthly life. Although the Bible records several individuals who have had their earthly life extended by being brought back from the dead through a miracle, for example Lazarus of Bethany, the resurrection of Jesus Christ was not simply the resuscitation of a corpse back to an earthly life only to die again; it was more like a restoration. On the eve of his death Jesus prayed to the Father, “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (John 17:5) That which the Word had from the beginning and put aside for some 30 years was restored by the resurrection and ascension of Jesus. The Word of God that came from God to dwell among us conquered death and returned to God: what God begins he completes. 

But that is not all, that glory he now has he shares with us. As the apostle Paul explained, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:6) This eternal relationship with God in Christ Jesus is defined by him as eternal life, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3) 

The birth, life, ministry and death of Jesus can only be understood in the light of his resurrection and ascension. Until the resurrection even the disciples could make no sense of his unjust ignominious death at Calvary and today the risen ascended Christ is present in the church through the Holy Spirit. 

The Greek word “anastasis” which is translated resurrection literally means “a standing up again.” The good news of the resurrection is that humanity that has fallen through disobedience now stands up again as a new creation through God’s grace. 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you.” (1Peter 1:3-4)

Study by Eddie Marsh


About the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends the Sheffield congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, Grace Communion, Sheffield.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion, Sheffield
Please email for Meeting Place

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

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