Take a moment to become still, aware of God’s presence, and then pray.
O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we long to know yet more of your boundless love and grace. Beyond the written word we seek the living Word, Jesus. Reveal to us by Your Spirit the glories of Your incarnate Son so that we might more perfectly love and follow Him. Amen
But our citizenship is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transform the body of our humiliation so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.
Ask any child how many days until Christmas and they will immediately and eagerly tell you. You can feel an even greater excitement in today’s scripture as the apostle Paul looks forward to the Second Christmas, the Second Advent, as the Son of God comes again: “we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul assures that when Christ returns our bodies will be “conformed to the body of his glory.” This is the glory we catch sight of on the Mount of Transfiguration where Jesus’ “face shown like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white” (Matthew 17:2). This is that stunning glory that shone on Paul on the road to Damascus, forever changing his life (Acts 9:3). It is the glory of Christ in the Book of Revelation that made the apostle John fall at His feet as though dead (Revelation 1:16-17). John describes the glory awaiting us, as “when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
I will always remember the comforting words of Rev. Buckner at my father’s grave, assuring us that the body in which we came to know and love my father would be the body in which we would see him again. He explained that God loved the body He had created and cared for, so that He would raise it up to be like Jesus’ body. “For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53).
This means that we can forget fabrications like The Da Vinci Code, ancient Stoics and Gnostics, and New Age gurus, for whom the body is a prison house from which we will be released. The Bible does not demean or depreciate the human body, but treats it as sacred and a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).
False teachers, ancient and modern, say that Jesus was raised in spirit but not in body. But Jesus asked startled disciples to confirm that He was raised bodily: “touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bone” (Luke 24:39). Jesus’ bodily resurrection is so central to the Gospel that Paul declares that without it, “your faith is futile and you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17).
What an incomprehensible contrast there will be between “the body of our humiliation” that we wear now, and the body we will have in glory. Our earthly bodies, subject to weakness, pandemic, new variants, and decay, will be made heavenly without any loss of identity. “As Christ’s glorified body was essentially identical with His body of humiliation; so our resurrection bodies as believers, since they shall be like His, shall be identical essentially with our present bodies.” (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on the Whole Bible)
I will know my father when I see him again, but be in awe of heaven’s glory bestowed on him. That is precisely why the Word became flesh and dwelt among us; so that we might be like Him and share His life and glory! This is the sure confidence that the suffering Job had in the oldest book of the Bible: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25).
Think back over the past 24 hours and note when you experienced a “high” and a “low”. Share with God how the humanity of Jesus might speak to you in what you experienced.