God as Resurrected - Resurrection 4

"They beat Him until He no longer looked like a man, and God took that and brought it back to life."

THE MUTILATED BODY laid in the tomb was not the one raised from the dead. When Jesus returns and the dead rise first, the remains of their bodies will be reformed, no matter how scattered on the earth they may be. Jesus’ resurrected body was flesh and bone. His blood, ALL OF IT, is on the altars of heaven, where it ever-liveth. It’s not dark and dried, coagulated. It’s alive. There’s no death in heaven.

God reformed His body from what remained of it. It’s not only that it was dead, but that men had destroyed it. We read that His legs were not broken and breathe a sigh of relief, but His back and side, his extremities were torn beyond physical recognition. The prophet Isaiah said He didn’t even look human. The size of this miracle is beyond our ability to reconcile. He didn’t have a few cuts and bruises or marks where a few thorns had been, nor only giant nail holes in His hands and feet. They beat Him until He no longer looked like a man, and God took that and brought it back to life.

“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” (Isaiah 53:2)

Three days. In three days, a body in that condition wouldn’t be approachable. Mary and the other women went to the tomb to place spices on it, they could not do so on the Sabbath, the day before, and arriving there, had no idea how to roll away the stone. They saw Him die. They knew how bad it was. They went to anoint His body anyway. This wasn’t a nice act on their part but one of great stature. He was buried by a rich man and a priest. He was anointed by a woman with an alabaster box, prior to His death. He was wept over by one which dried His feet with her hair. There was no recovery from this. The Spirit had breathed into Adam and made him a living soul. But, from all viewpoints, there was nothing of Jesus left.

Ezekiel had a vision of a valley of dry bones whose sinews returned to them, and life filled their hearts and lungs. From what no longer lived, from dry ground, a nation arose. Israel was, for all intents and purposes, dead when Jesus came. An empty temple filled with arrogant priests ignored the overtaxed populace held under the thumb of Rome. A Roman governor killed all the children under 2 years of age just to snuff out the rumored Messiah. God sent Joseph and Mary to Egypt to escape it. In a culture unfamiliar to them, they had to walk and talk and eat, and even when they returned to Israel, they chose Nazareth to avoid Herod’s son. By the time Jesus was condemned to die, Rome had become the greatest power in existence. That God’s people, His priests, would go so far as to send one of their own to crucifixion by Rome is beyond belief.

We shade our eyes from the fullness of the truth. We adore King Jesus. We worship Him as Savior and God. We praise the Him as Alpha and Omega, the Lamb of God of the gospels and Revelation. And justly so. But we must see the extent of His Resurrection to fully understand what God has done. He tricked the devil into his own condemnation, though He had to die to do it. But He did not simply pass away with an expelled breath. The Levitical sacrifices were elegantly planned, the actions of the Law followed in spotless fashion. The priest gave His blessing over the blood on the altar and the presence of God surrounded it. But what happened to Jesus was an ugly version. No beautiful temple, no gold and silver, no altar finely decorated by craftsmen of great work. No sweet incense lifting from it as the priests waves it aloft. For washing, He had vinegar. For prayers, they mocked. And rejoiced over the cruelty of it, bathed in their sins. With filthy hands and blackened hearts, they danced beneath His feet, and He cried out forgiveness anyway.

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:34)

They made Resurrection that much more impossible. In that He was mutilated. In that He was despised and rejected. In that, His promise was decried. Raise the temple in three days? Is this a joke? They expected a Savior on a white charger, but when He rode in, His body remade, glorified, when Mary recognized Him and reached for Him, there was no multitude, no shouts of Hosanna, no worshiping throng. Life had changed forever in a kingdom made without hands, invisible in the heavens. God’s will had come to earth. Meanwhile, the disciples crouched in a room, terrified of the crowd. And the stone rolled away, the few soldiers stationed at the tomb, face down from the power of it, the priests crafted a new lie.

“And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.” (Matthew 28:12-13)

When Cain killed Abel, his blood cried out from the ground, and though Cain lied about it, God knew the truth. This was far, far bigger than that. His only-begotten Son had become the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, a messy world full of wolves and thieves, the broken and maimed, deficient. All unaware of their spiritual state and the Redeemer that had walked among them. His body was something to be discarded, and His memory forgotten. He was just another voice gone from their midst like Elias, like John. What was placed behind the stone was no more, and certainly no consideration was taken for His blood. The system created to signify Him continued on, only now, without meaning, the veil rent from top to bottom as no man could ever do.

Believe something wrongly, and you may look like a fool. Christopher Columbus believed he could sail west and find land. Most were horrified. Benjamin Franklin believed he could harness lightning. Turns out, he was right. Jesus prophesied His Resurrection. No one believed Him. His disciples mourned, until He showed Himself to them, not remembering His words. And given the state of His body, who would? What could God do with it in such a crushed state? They’d forgotten the miracle of the bread, as well. Twice Jesus made a few loaves and fishes into enough to feed thousands. Yet when He warned them about the leaven of the Pharisees, they berated themselves for not having enough bread on the boat. Not the point.

No one believed He would rise from the dead. He’d told them. They’d forgotten. The Spirit raised Him from the dead anyway and made no worldwide announcement. Mary spoke to an angel clothed in white then thought Jesus the gardener. The two on the road to Emmaus walked and talked with Him, not seeing who He was until He blessed the bread. Thomas doubted He was alive though a room full of witnesses said otherwise. None of their confusion and unbelief stopped His victory. Victory in that He lived, but bigger than that, that because He died, He’d defeated death and sin. He died not simply to die but so that the people could be free forever of the enemy that’d deceived them into crucifying Him. He’d not lain in the grave for three days inert. He’d become King. Then the Spirit took what was broken and made it better than ever. His spirit lived. His kingdom thrived. His humanity rose again.

It was a complete work. It is a complete work.
The salvation He provided includes the new birth, eternal life, healing, wholeness, prosperity. Why would God send His Son to be mangled beyond recognition then refuse to give us what He Himself received? What was dead, beaten, flailed, what man had torn, what had been shattered within, His organs distorted in His struggles to breathe, His heart swollen, His flesh ripped, was made whole, above and beyond any power of death. This is our Savior. The Spirit of God within us did this. The Father who so loved the world has made Him new.

“And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.” (John 14:16-19)

God as Man
God as Sacrifice
God as Father

Image by DONGHWAN KIM from Pixabay

Suzanne D. Williams, Author