Sundays | 9am & 10:30am | The Woodlands, TX

In Fact: 1 Corinthians 15:35-49

The Prophetic Resurrection
Rick Wilcox

Sunday’s message is Part 2 of our IN-FACT series leading up to Easter. Last week we focused on the historical fact of Jesus’ resurrection, and now we focus on the prophetic fact of our resurrection. As you prayerfully consider the members of your Group, be mindful of those in particular who have recently experienced the death of a loved one. Indeed, this lesson will make everyone (including you) think about precious friends and family members who have passed away.

Ask the Group to talk about their first experience with death as a child. Was it something in nature, or perhaps a beloved pet? Some will mention a loved one like a grandparent. Give the Group plenty of time to tell their stories. Ask them about their first impressions of death and how those memories have evolved.

Sermon Summary
If death has no respect for people, it is certainly no respecter of childhood. One of the earliest aspects of every child’s loss of innocence is their first encounter with death. It is revolting to us, and we know death is our enemy in the depth of our hearts. The Corinthians knew Jesus was their Savior, but they struggled, as we do, to understand what that meant beyond this life. Paul pointed them to God and taught them how Jesus’ historical resurrection ensures our future resurrection.

Using three analogies, Paul described God’s work In nature as consistent with His design for us as everlasting souls. He created us for life In His Image, but we destroyed that gift by our sin. In Jesus, God became one of us and rescued us from death by His death on the cross. His resurrection became ours as well In the restoration of creation.

Our bodies are currently subject to the broken world In which we live, but the resurrection will make them whole and enhance them to be like that of Jesus.

Group Discussion Questions
  1. Paul uses three analogies at the beginning of the passage. Get the group to name them (seeds, animal life, and astronomy). In the sermon, these represented continuity, distinctiveness, and diversity as attributes of our resurrected bodies. Discuss each. Ask the Group which one resonates with them the most and why.
  2. By mentioning Adam and plants, animals, birds, fish, and the sun and moon, Paul is calling to mind Genesis 1. What is he trying to communicate about the resurrection by doing so?
  3. Read John 20:19-22. What does this passage teach us about Jesus’ resurrected body? How was it similar to and different from the body laid in the tomb after his death? What are the implications on our resurrected bodies?
  4. In 1 Corinthians 15:49, Paul references Genesis 1, this time to 1:26–28, the climax of creation. What does Paul mean when he says we will bear the likeness or image “of the man from heaven”?

Dig Deeper: Breath and the Holy Spirit
Hebrew, Greek, and Latin all use a single word to mean both breath and spirit. God’s breath in man evokes that primal image in Genesis of God breathing the breath of life into humanity, the moment of our wakening as living beings, a moment of tender closeness to our Maker. But after that inspiration comes the equally decisive moment of expiration. We have to trace our history through fall and alienation, pain and sin and death at last to the foot of the Cross, where a Second Adam, one in whom also the whole of humanity is bound and involved, stretches out his arms to embrace the pain of the world and breathes back to God that gift of life:

“Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit! And having said this, he breathed his last.”—Luke 23:46

Then we must look beyond the Cross to the Resurrection and the new breath of life that comes with the sending of the Holy Spirit. John’s account consciously parallels the first gift of the breath of life in Genesis:

“And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.”—John 20:22

Contained in the pattern of our breathing is the whole story of our salvation.

For a Christian in prayer, the very act of breathing can become a return to our birth, a receiving of original life from the breath of God as we breathe in with Adam in the garden of our beginnings; an offering of all that needs letting go and redeeming as we breathe out with Christ on the Cross; a glad acceptance of new life in the Holy Spirit as we breathe in again, receiving our life and commission afresh from the risen Lord.

Guite, Malcolm. Faith, Hope and Poetry (Routledge Studies in Theology, Imagination and the Arts) (pp. 21-22). Taylor and Francis.
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