1 Corinthians 15:35-36
35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body.(ESV)
When you think of the future resurrection of the dead, what do you picture? For a long time, if I thought about it at all, I think I pictured a scene from the Michael Jackson “Thriller” video. Silly I know.
Or, if my imagination ran towards more biblical imagery, I think I pictured a global experience similar to that of Lazarus. When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead his post-death self wasn’t noticeably different from his pre-death self. He wasn’t sick anymore. He needed a change of clothes. Other than that he was the same old Lazarus. In this sense, Lazarus’ experience wasn’t so much a resurrection as a resuscitation. After Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead he continued to age. His skin wrinkled. His hair turned grey. He eventually died and they buried his body as before. And there his body remains to this day.
But the future resurrection is not like that. Paul here uses the metaphor of planting and harvesting to illustrate. When you put a seed in the ground you don’t expect to get merely a seed from the ground. A seed planted produces much more than a seed. One day if Jesus tarries I will die and my body will be planted int he ground. At the resurrection I will be raised, but not simply as a resuscitated version of what I was before. That which is raised is connected to that which was planted in very definite ways but the harvest is different than the seed also. Greater. More. Different.
I wonder what that will be like?