Paul continues with his summation of the two crucial points of the gospel; Christ died for our sins, and He rose from the dead. In our reading today he focuses on the “now what” of the resurrection.
There were those in his audience that doubted that we would be raised from the dead. Paul dealt with that in our last time together. He provided a list of witnesses and a well-reasoned argument. They say, ‘Ok. What body do we get then in the resurrection?’ ‘What will it look like?’
That is a question that a lot of people wonder about. It also factors into what is done with our bodies after we die. Some believe that cremating a person’s remains is a problem because of the resurrection. I personally believe that if God doesn’t have a problem with bringing a body together that has been “worm food” for centuries than He shouldn’t have a problem with one turned to ashes. If God needs my physical body some time down the road, He can figure out where to find it, scattered on the wind or not.
Paul uses the analogy of a seed to explain the change that we undergo when moving from this life to the next. “What you sow does not come to life unless it dies” (verse 36). This brings to mind a vision of a flower. One little seed, planted in the ground becomes a beautiful flower.
The seed holds no resemblance to the beauty of the flower. It is plain and simple. It needs special conditions to grow; water, soil, sunlight, and time. It lies dormant until it is finally placed in the ground. Once buried, it begins to change. First there is a tiny crack in the outer shell. Then a hair-like protrusion emerges. As the protrusion begins to lengthen and thicken, it works its way through the surrounding soil. When it finally reaches the surface it is still white and fragile. Sunlight strengthens this tiny emerging life and it begins to reach towards the source. Gathering strength from the nourishments around it (water, soil, and sun), it lengthens and thickens even more until leaves begin to appear. After the leaves are established the new plant begins to form the flower. It starts out safely enclosed in the pod the plant created. But the pod can’t hold the flower in forever, no matter how safe it might be.
With determination and a force all its own the flower pushes back the surrounding pod. Slowly the petals begin to unfurl. Stretching and expanding to take in every ray of light they can. Fully extended and basking in the glory before them the flower exclaims its joy by producing a radiant fragrance.
My body is that seed. Before the seed is ready to go into the ground it has to go through several processes. It is not ready to plant as soon as it comes out of the plant. It has to be cleaned, dried, abraded, soaked, and sanitized before planting.
My “seed” goes through the steps of Jesus’ forgiveness, learning to follow Him, absorbing His word, and living a life pleasing unto Him (including all the sanitizing moments to return me to the clean state He gave me). So when I die, my “seed” is ready for “germination.” My flower within is anticipating its moment in the glory of the Son. This is my resurrected body. The “flower” that turns its face to the Son and follows Him wherever He goes. The flower that grows more beautiful each day it spends in His presence. The flower God created me to be eternally. And it was only possible because of the care that was taken of the seed before its planting.
Father God I want to be Your beautiful flower. Thank You for all Your hard work in preparing me, Your seed. I don’t know exactly what I’m going to look like when I stand in Heaven’s garden but I know it will be glorious to bask in Your light. Thank You for giving me this word picture today. I will gladly undergo the work necessary to “germinate” into the new life that awaits.