Scripture Text: Hebrews 11:35
Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection.
I want to plant two words in your mind “better resurrection.” Think about what this implies. If there is a better resurrection, there must be more than one resurrection to choose from.
Actually, there is more than one resurrection.
I. There is a spiritual resurrection
This resurrection that takes place upon regeneration. Paul said….
- Romans 6:4-5… Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17… Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
- Ephesians 2:11…For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
So there is a spiritual or metaphysical resurrection that takes place at conversion. I am not making light of this resurrection; it is essential. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you need to make an appointment because something is terribly wrong. Every believer experiences this spiritual resurrection in Christ.
II. There is the resurrection from the dead
Women received back their dead by resurrection. [Verse 35:a]
I can think of five women who received back their dead by a literal resurrection…
- The widow of Zarephath–I Kings 17, Elijah raises her son from the dead
- The woman at Shunem–II Kings 4, Elisha raises her son from the dead
- The widow at Nain–Luke 7, Jesus raises her son from the dead
- The wife of Jarius–Luke 8, Jesus raises a daughter [child] from the dead
- The sisters of Lazarus–John 11, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead
All these resurrections are miraculous and rare. They do not represent the norm. They do serve as examples of Christ’s power of death but they do not represent the best resurrection: there is something better because all these people had to die again. Lazarus suffered the trauma of death twice. I don’t really have a desire to go through it twice.
Just this past week, I saw a friend depart. He had been battling cancer for a couple of years. He had been attending our church for about three years. He was a servant, a skilled servant who knew how to motivate and lead. When a pastor sees a person of this caliber, they get excited. He told me a few months ago…”Bro. Jack, I am joining the church the next Sunday I am present and I want to rededicate my life.” He wanted to spend his retirement years helping our church minister to the hurting. I was so excited but he never got to come back; his chemo kept him too low to be in crowds and then the cancer spread. As I looked at him laying in the hospital bed, I had mixed emotions…”Lord if you raise him up, he will have to go through all of this again…not my will be thine be done.” My last prayer with him was “Father, give my friend Gary the best; don’t give him what I want, give him your absolute best.”
III. There is a better resurrection
They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection [Hebrews 11:35b]
This is not just a resurrection as in the case of Lazarus. He was raised to the same old life but the better resurrection is to a brand new life. Paul said, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” I have always translated this verse, to live is Christ to die is a promotion. In the great resurrection, the better resurrection, we are going to be raised with perfect bodies, not subject to sickness or death.
I Corinthians 15
42 It is the same way with the resurrection of the dead. Our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. 43 Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. 44 They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.
45 The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. 46 What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. 47 Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. 48 Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. 49 Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.