If you are reading this then it probably means you have lived long enough to know that life is hard, painful and rarely works out how you plan it. Recently a friend of mine died, in fact, as I write this we have one hour before we jump into the car to go to the funeral. Another reminder that life is not as cool as we would like, that one day you will have the mother of all bad days and die.
The Acorns Tomb
The Bible often talks about how dead people will one day rise from the dead. Through the eyes of an acorn, we will explore what the Bible teaches about rising from the dead (known as resurrection) and what that means for all of us.
The empty tomb of Jesus is a key moment in the Bible. It is so essential that if Jesus did not rise from the dead then Christianity becomes the biggest waste of time ever. That, dear reader, is how central the empty tomb of Jesus is to the truth of the Bible.
In looking at an acorn you'll observe that it's really hard but if you place it in the ground with a bit of water, something amazing happens, the DNA is activated and the hard shell gets soft and small tendrils grow out. This is pretty insane if you think about it, give it a few decades and it becomes a huge oak tree. It's mind-blowing and remarkable to see an acorn before being planted in contrast to what it becomes when it gets the opportunity to grow into a giant oak tree.
So before we plant our little acorn, is it an oak tree? No. Is the fully grown oak tree an acorn? No, but in a way deep down yes; there is a continuity between the two. An acorn is an acorn and a tree is a tree, they have the same DNA sequence but once it begins to grow, the new life of that tree emerges, it becomes a new creation.
At the back of my house is a large oak tree, the acorns fall and land inside the garages back room. The door does not close properly so these acorns land in the room on the hard cement floor. There they sit and get mouldy and cannot grow into what they ideally should become.
We are like these acorns, what we need is for God to pluck us up and plant us in what is in the soil of the fear of God. This soil allows us to truly know and love God and we start to grow and become what we are supposed to be. As acorns we have no idea what we are supposed to become, we cannot even imagine the potential. We have to be buried and die in order to have new life. Jesus said in Matthew 10:39 - Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. The acorn has to die to itself, so to speak, then from that dark tomb of soil, a miracle of new life emerges.
What Is Resurrection?
In the Bible, 100’s of people encountered the risen Jesus. When the early Christians tried to explain the resurrected Jesus they used similar metaphors as the acorn. Did the risen Jesus eat? Yes. Is it the same Jesus as before? Yes and no. Is he now different? Yes. He can move through time and space at will. He cannot die anymore, ever again. Jesus rising from the dead is a category shattering moment, it’s remarkable. The cross doesn't even mean what it means without Jesus rising from the dead.
The acorn helps us see what the reality of this is like and Paul in the letter to the Corinthians, shows us through this idea of planting a seed. The human body is like an acorn, it decays and it dies and what goes into the ground does not come back the same as it was but grows into something much more amazing. God is going to do for you and for me what he did for Jesus if we are trusting in the salvation that God has provided through Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:42 says, so is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.
So there is a future that God has planned for the world and for us. We currently exist in the form of flesh and blood that is perishable, decaying and dying. In the future that God has in store for us, in the kingdom of God, we will become imperishable. The kingdom of God is where His love and presence permeates, and in such a world things are imperishable and eternal as they are with God. Immortality is life, true life but this life is something that starts in Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:50 - I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
A Real Tomb
Luke 23:1-8 Tells us of the moment when they found the tomb where Jesus had been buried empty. The large stone had been rolled away and they found two angels in bright shining clothing, who said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.”
A day is coming when God will weigh up your life and all the things that are rubbish will be burned up, only what is eternal will remain. There are things in our life and character that we want to be burned away if they carried on into eternity that is what will become your hell.
Jesus is the ultimate demonstration of God’s commitment to saving the world. The most well-known verse in the Bible must be John 3:16 which says, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. The fact that God has made ‘a way’, for sinners to be saved is amazing and beyond imagination. He proves that he loves us by sacrificing Himself to take our punishment for us.
So, God loves us enough to make ‘a way’ but note He does not tolerate anyone to reject that way or try to make another way. On the cross Jesus does all the work, when you look to Him you are saved by grace and not by any good in you. You having nothing you can give to God, He is the one that gives you everything, all He asks you is to put your faith and trust in Him and you will be saved.
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Amyand Park Chapel, Amyand Park Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 3HY
Sunday Services at 11am and 6:30pm