Thoughts for the Day

Friday, 5th April 2024: Life eternal

Eternal Life 1 Corinthians 15 Resurrection Dead Jesus

Reading : Verses from 1 Corinthians, Chapter 15


But someone will ask, ‘How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?’ Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; indeed, star differs from star in glory...

So it is with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.

What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


We quite often use this passage from 1 Corinthians as a reading about our resurrection at funerals, but it's not always easy to understand, for St Paul is trying to describe impossibly difficult things concerning our faith. We should imagine one of his opponents asking him, with a smirk on his face (believing that Paul cannot answer him): "You believe in the resurrection of the dead, so how will it happen?" This is followed up by "What kind of body will they have?" With that the opponent sits back, satisfied he has stopped what he considers to be a ridiculous idea in its tracks.

But Paul takes something we all understand - a seed - and explains that a seed disintegrates and so dies in order to produce a new plant. It is a mere husk of what it was, and it is nothing like what it will become. So it is when we die, we are a husk of what we were, but for those of us who believe in Jesus, God will give us a spiritual body as He chooses, one that cannot decay. He will also give us a touch of His glory.

In Chapter 11.25-26 of John's Gospel we saw Jesus say to Martha, just before he raised Lazarus from the tomb:

"I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

This question is one we need to constantly ask ourselves as children of God. Will our answer reflect that of Martha: "Yes, Lord, I believe!"?


Almighty God,
Your Apostle Saint Paul,
unswervingly believed in Your
message of redemption -
that Your Son came to rescue us
and re-unite us to Yourself.
May we confess our sins;
remain strong in the belief
that You offer us eternal life;
and continue to live a life
of love and service
as befits Your children.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to read this:

Or play (or sing) this hymn. The words explain the theology perfectly.

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