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Christian Hope: Physical Resurrection 



Over Christmas I was talking to Ruth Hill. She’s a nurse up on Manitoulin Island. She told me about a recent experience with a patient. A man was in some sort of distress and fire fighters and an ambulance came to help him. Once he was loaded into the ambulance, he went into cardiac arrest. That is, his heart stopped beating. The heart monitor that does the “blip, blip” went “beeeeeep.” He had “flat lined.” Since there are only 2 people in the ambulance, the medic and the driver, they had to stop the ambulance to do CPR. So a firefighter who was on the truck following them jumped off the fire truck and got in the back of the ambulance to help with CPR so the driver could keep driving the ambulance to the hospital, 45 minutes away under normal circumstances.

Ruth described how they would drive at break neck speed towards the hospital, where she and the staff were waiting. But, as part of the CPR, they had to check his breathing every 2 minutes. You can’t do that when the ambulance is moving! So they would drive really, really fast for 2 minutes, then stop the ambulance to check his breathing, then race on again for 2 more minutes! Ruth talked about it’s not anything like on TV when they do CPR. The patient turns blue or even purple because of the lack of oxygen in their system! So there, in the back of the ambulance, this man was turning blue while a fire fighter and an EMS worked did CPR on him and the ambulance driver alternated between full speed and stop. Ruth said this sort of thing is quite traumatic to be involved in and I believe her!

Thankfully, in this case, when the ambulance got to the hospital, the staff there were able to save him. They brought him back to life after his heart had stopped beating! That’s amazing! It required team work between a number of highly trained medical staff along with, I’m sure, some pretty high tech equipment.

This amazing sort of technique, the amazing knowledge that makes this possible, is quite impressive. It is called “resuscitation.” As awesome as resuscitation is, it is not resurrection. Resuscitation brings a person back to life, but to the same kind of life they had before they died, or “flat lined” or whatever you want to call it. The man in the ambulance that day still had whatever medical difficulties he had which caused the ambulance to be called in the first place. Someday, down the road, that man will die again, and it will be more permanent. He won’t be resuscitated again.

Similarly, in Scripture, there are a number of examples of miraculous resuscitations. In the OT, Elijah and Elisha were both involved in bringing young men back from the dead. In the first case, the boy was the son of a widow. In Elisha’s case, the boy was a son promised to an elderly couple for being generous hosts to Elisha. Jesus was involved in bringing 3 people back from the dead: a girl, a widow’s son and Lazarus! Paul, too, was involved in bringing a man back to life who had fallen out of a window while Paul was preaching. In all of these cases, it was a great miracle that someone was brought back to life. Yet in all of these cases, the person was resuscitated, not resurrected. The person brought back to life was subject to death again. They would continue to live, to get old, and, eventually, would die again.

That is not the case with the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection Christians look forward to. With the resurrection, our new, physical bodies will not decay, get old or die again. There is a fundamental difference between resuscitation on the one hand and resurrection on the other.


Categories | Sermon Video


Filetype: MP4 - Size: 124.71MB - Duration: 51:09 m