What’s your Christian topic that shuts down the people you’re talking to? I’ve got a few of them. For example, if I just toss out a statement like, “This one time I was casting out a demon…” mostly everyone goes quiet and nods nervously, trying to decide if I’m insane or not.
Paul also had a few such topics, but the one that outsiders thought he was most insane for wasn’t “Jesus as the Messiah,” but “the resurrection”—that is, the idea that one day all the dead will be brought before God and judged, with some being given immortal bodies to live forever on a re-envisioned planet where heaven and earth meet and become one unit.
Greek philosophers followed everything Paul said up until he mentioned the resurrection, then they mocked him. Likewise, a bunch of politicians were fine with what Paul had to say until he started talking about the dead coming back to life, at which point a politician exclaimed, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.”
Many Christians today would agree. When we talk about resurrection in the evangelical church, we often mean dying and going to Heaven in a spiritual state. But the Bible describes resurrection as leaving Heaven to come back to the earth in a physical-spiritual hybrid state. Think I sound crazy? Then you understand why people thought Paul was crazy too, and perhaps why this version of resurrection doesn’t come up in our churches very often. This is quite unfortunate, since Biblical theology makes way more sense when you know the ending of the Bible.
*This devotional was created out of the themes of Acts 26 found in today’s reading at CommonPrayer.net.