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Jesus’ Promise and Ascension
Luke 24.36-53

Luke’s closing scene, for all its joy and excitement, brings into focus for us the real problem of what happened at Easter. What sort of a body did Jesus have? How could it at the same time be solid and real, with flesh and bones, able to eat baked fish, and to demonstrate that it wasn’t a ghost – and also to appear and disappear apparently at will, and at the end to be carried into heaven? Just what sort of a body are we talking about?

That, I think, is the hardest thing for us to grasp about the resurrection. It takes St Paul a long chapter to thrash it out (1 Corinthians 15), and many misunderstand it even then. People often think that ‘resurrection’ simply means ‘life after death’ or ‘going to heaven’, but in the Jewish world of the first century it meant a new embodied life in God’s new world; a life after ‘life after death’, if you like. But the new body which will be given at the end is not identical to the previous one. In an act of new creation parallel only to the original creation itself, God will make a new type of material, no longer subject to death, out of the old one. In Jesus’ case, of course, this happened right away, without his original body decaying, so that the new body was actually the transformation of the old one. For the rest of us, whose bodies will decay, and whose bones may well be burnt, it will take a complete act of new creation...

Taken from Luke for Everyone – by Tom Wright

Publisher: SPCK - view more
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