the ultimate transformation: this family is forever
1 Corinthians 15:51-57
The belief God will transform each of His people’s bodies and fit them out to live eternally is a Christian fact of life. The Old Testament taught this to those who lived before Jesus (see Job 19:25; Psalms 17:15; 49:7–12; 73:23–26; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2). Jesus claimed it as a fact of life as well (Matthew 22:29-32). He gave people a taste of what is to come with Lazarus (John 11). Lazarus’ case was not the same as the total transformation Jesus promises when He returns. Jesus merely restored Lazarus’ life for a short time here.
What things does this section tell us we have to look forward to (15:35-58)?
The physical transformation Jesus promises means the laws of nature that we now live under will be over. Verse 49 promises we will “bear the likeness of the Man from heaven.” What was Jesus’ body like after He came back to life? Jesus Himself mentions He had “flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39). Why not flesh and blood (15:50)? Is it because “the life of a creature is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11) and a resurrected person has a different kind of life? Jesus materialized in a locked room (John 20:26). Is this teleportation? Will this be a feature of our ultimate transformation? We know our bodies will not need air, food, water, or sleep. There will be no limit to what we can do.
Why does it call these things “a mystery” (15:51)?
The pattern of the old body will always remain the seed for the new body (15:37-38).
Who is the “we” in verse 51?
Jesus promised believers an inner transformation. It happened. Believers found striking changes taking place – within themselves, and in each other. They were becoming new and different persons. The day Jesus returns, the transformation will be complete. We will be perfect.
What is “the last trumpet” (15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16)? Why use that term (see Matthew 24:31)?
The Bible ties Jesus’ return to life so tightly to our own that doubting either constitutes a denial of the Gospel message itself. The Gospel is not the Gospel is there is no resurrection. “In a moment” comes from Greek atmos, “something that you cannot cut,” from which we get the word atom.
How does “in the twinkling of an eye” help us envision this snapshot of the future (15:52)?
What is “perishable/mortal” (15:53)? What kind of imperishable clothes is the same verse talking about?
Bodies dead and decaying will become incorruptible; bodies still living but mortal will become immortal (15:50–53).
Where does this saying that 15:54 references come from?
Is the Bible saying that people don’t/won’t die (15:55)? How come we still have funerals?
The work of the Lord doesn’t make sense if there is no resurrection. When people don’t buy into Jesus’ return to life and His promise to us, they don’t buy into being God’s workers. What kind of work do you do for Jesus because you believe in the resurrection? Think of how different our lives would be if there was no Easter.
What victory did Jesus earn for people (15:57)?
No wonder Satan has tried to quash the truth of Jesus’ return to life. Despite his lies, we can live with the sound of that “last trumpet” ringing in our ears. At times, life here may mute it. Troubles, fears, and doubts can never silence it, as long as God’s Bible promises remain.
1. What is the most comforting thing here for you as you consider the reality of your own death?
2. What here is hardest for you to understand?
3. How does this section connect to Matthew 28:1-10? What’s the connection to Jonah 2:2-9?