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Written by David Reim

"And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, 'We will hear you again on this matter.'" (Acts 17:32)

Paul was speaking to the Greek philosophers at the Areopagus in Athens. They gladly listened to him because those philosophers loved nothing more than "to tell or to hear some new thing." (verse 21) They listened eagerly—until he mentioned the resurrection of the dead. When they heard that, the mocking began. That was too much to believe or even to listen to any longer. This guy is clearly off his rocker. Resurrection from the dead? Don't be ridiculous! What kind of fools do you take us for?

Have you run into similar reactions today? In our world that worships science and believes only what can be explained in naturalistic ways, the idea of the resurrection from the dead is laughable. The world can hardly believe anyone could be so naive and foolish as to actually believe that there will be a mass resurrection of all the dead.


Even many so-called Christian churches have given up on the idea of a physical, bodily resurrection from the dead. They also understand, as Paul points out, that if there is no resurrection from the dead, then Christ is not raised. However, they don't seem to pay attention to the rest of what Paul says, their faith is empty and futile. They are still in their sins. They "are of all men the most pitiable." (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17-18)

However, for all of us who know that the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and that the Spirit has created a new spirit within us, we know that "since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe." (1 Corinthians 1:21) This we know for certain: "Now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep." (1 Corinthians 15:20)

For us this is the most joyful news. Our faith is not empty or futile. We are not still in our sins; they are forgiven! We are not the most pitiable of all men, as the world suggests. Rather we are the most blessed of all men and receive a promise that is so great that the rest of the world considers it ridiculously impossible—but with God all things are possible. The physical bodies of all who have died, no matter if they have long ago decayed into dust, or been burned to ashes, or eaten by wild beasts; those bodies will be raised to life again. For Christians, that will be a resurrection to eternal life, made sure by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:22)

Christ's resurrection not only guarantees our own resurrection to eternal life, but it also gives us the power to live a whole new life here on earth—a life of joy and peace in serving God. For our old Adam was crucified with Christ and we have been "buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:4) Yes, we can live the resurrection life: a life of peace in God's presence with His forgiveness, a life of joyful service to Him, keeping His commandments which are always for our own blessing, a life of love lived together with one another.

The world may say, "Resurrection—really?" May we answer, "Absolutely!" and live with the joy and confidence of our new life in Christ.

			We thank Thee, Christ; new life is ours,
			New light, new hope, new strength, new powers:
			May grace our every way attend
			Until we reach our journey's end! (TLH 369:6)

David Reim is pastor of Saint Paul Lutheran Church in Vernon, British Columbia.