*Intro* – How would you like to pick up the paper and read you died the day before?
Happened to Mark Twain in 1897.
Someone confused him with a cousin who was ill in London.
Twain responded: “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
Well, that phrase could apply equally to the death of any true believer in Christ.
Gone here, but more alive than ever over there!
God wants that hope to inform our whole earthly existence.
He urges, invest there, not here.
But misconceptions about what comes next cause many to hang on tight to now.
Our text can help.
The main point of this passage is that Jesus’ death is not incompatible with the kingdom – in fact, is critical to it!
Even Moses and Elijah can’t stay in heaven without Jesus’ death.
That’s the main message.
But peripherally, we see kingdom conditions.
Portents of the Preview (hints of kingdom characteristics)*
Is there really an afterlife?*
Is heaven real, or just a fairytale to get us thru funerals?
Moses and Elijah provide living, breathing proof.
There is a life to come for believers.
What is the best thing about the kingdom?
He is the key to entrance.
He lights the whole universe.
Everything revolves around Him. Jesus is central to the whole thing.
But what about us?
What will we be like?*
This preview shows we will be a lot like we are now.
Moses and Elijah “stood” with Jesus.
They were “talking” to Him.
They spoke of His departure.
They displayed all the characteristics of body and mind that we have.
Phil 3:20-21 adds: “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
In heaven, we will have a body -- a transformed body.
It will be like and yet not like now.
Paul names it in I Cor 15:44: “It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”
It’s an oxymoron.
In this world you are either body or spirit, but you can’t be both.
But in the kingdom we will have spiritual bodies.
So what is a spiritual body like?
Never seen one of those!
Phil 3:21 says it is “like his glorious body.”
There is a clue.
Our body will be like His after His resurrection; it models ours.
Are you sure?
Look at I Cor 15:20, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
Jesus’ body is the prototype for ours.
So what was it like?
Turn to Luke 24:36.
It’s Jesus with the disciples right after resurrection.
“As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit.
38 And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
39 See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.
Touch me, and see.
For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
Look at this!
A spiritual body can talk.
It can be seen.
It can be touched.
It can hear.
It can sense the needs of others.
It has flesh and bones.
It’s a lot like our present body, isn’t it?
We’re not going to spend eternity like Casper the Ghost.
We’re going to have substance; self-consciousness and identity.
I like that.
But Jesus isn’t done.
Let’s go on.
Lu 24:40, “40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.
41 And while they still disbelieved for joy [were afraid to believe for fear it was an illusion] and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 and he took it and ate before them.”
As further proof of His substance, Jesus asks for food.
A spiritual body eats!
I see some fist-pumping “Yes!”
In the kingdom, spiritual bodies will do a lot of eating.
The Bible shows that.
At the last supper Jesus told His disciples in Mt 26:29: “I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
In Luke’s account He mentions eating as well.
Later that evening, Jesus told His disciples in Lu 22:28, “You are those who have stayed with me in my trials, 29 and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, 30 that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.”
In Rev 2:7 Jesus says, “To the one who conquers [believers] I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” We’re going to eat from the tree of life!
Spiritual bodies are good, right?
They share many of the same physical, mental and emotional attributes of our physical bodies.
But there are differences as well.
John 20:26: “Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them.
Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
Can you appear through walls and locked doors?
Acts 1:9: “And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.”
A spectacular ascension.
He entered a sphere we cannot enter, let alone survive.
We don’t know exactly where or what heaven is.
It’s called New Jerusalem.
Heb 13:14, “For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.”
That’s the place Jesus has gone to prepare.
According to Rev 2:12 it will come down to a new earth.
As our bodies have substance, so must this city.