There are three instances in the gospels which narrate Jesus resuscitating dead persons, the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:14-15), the synagogue leader’s daughter (Matthew 9:25) and Lazarus (John chapter 11). Then we have the Resurrection of Jesus. In the first three instances what Jesus did was resuscitating the three in their own physical bodies. All of them died again, hoping to resurrect on the second coming of Jesus. This was not the type of the resurrection Jesus had on Easter Sunday and what he speaks when referring to the day of our resurrection.

On the day of resurrection the body Jesus assumed and the bodies we shall assume are different from what we have in our physical existence on earth. They will be no more perishable as it happened to the above three resuscitations. The new bodies we will assume will be ones that surpass the limitations of time and space, pain and suffering, etc. The relationships we enter into in the resurrected life also are likely to be different as Jesus clarifies to the Sadducees. While discussing the resurrection of the dead, Jesus also said, “In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven”. Then Jesus quotes from the Old Testament “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’. He is God not of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22: 29-32). Jesus is telling that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are living!

It signifies that after our physical death, we live in God’s presence. Regaining of life soon after death is what we celebrate in our funeral liturgies and in our prayers for the dead. Jesus also hints at the changes in the nature of our relationships with each other in heaven. On earth the basis of our relationship used to be family consisting of parents and children, husband and wife, siblings, in-laws, friends’ circle, etc. In heaven this structure is also likely to be gone, “but are like angels in heaven” (Matthew 22:30). All these mysteries we may not understand now with our limited intellectual power. The most beautiful and reassuring thing that happened in the whole incident of Lazarus’ resurrection is the declaration of Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25). Let us trust in this declaration and cling to this Lord of the resurrection.

Fr. George