HEIDELBERG CATECHISM, LORD’S DAY 22
How does “the resurrection of the body” comfort you?
Not only my soul will be taken immediately after this life to Christ its head, but even my very flesh, raised by the power of Christ, will be reunited with my soul and made like Christ’s glorious body.
How does the article concerning “life everlasting” comfort you?
Even as I already now experience in my heart the beginning of eternal joy, so after this life I will have perfect blessedness such as no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no human heart has ever imagined: a blessedness in which to praise God eternally.
Monday, May 22: 1 Corinthians 15:35-58
The gospel answer to human death is Jesus’ miraculous resurrection. Intellectually, we know that life is not supposed to end in death. Emotionally, death makes us grow tired and weary. Spiritually, we honestly lament: “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart” (Psalm 13:2)? We know that death is an enemy, and we know it is the last enemy to be destroyed by the Risen One (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). Yet, says the Catechism, Christ’s resurrection victory over death is a comfort and joy that we may already begin to experience today: “My soul will be taken immediately after this life to Christ its head” (cf. Luke 23:43, Philippians 1:21-23). Carefully read those words again. They direct our hearts to the only source of true comfort. Is there comfort in the phrase “he is in a better place,” in the thought “God needed another angel in heaven,” or in a reported experience about seeing a beloved family member during an excursion “to heaven and back?” Of course not. The Catechism is a Biblical and necessary corrective to these cheap gospel replacements. The first person we meet when we die is Christ, the One whose death brought death to death (2 Corinthians 5:17). He is the only true comfort and joy available as we stand by the horror of a casket. The Catechism’s teaching on the resurrection of the body is drawing us back to the most important of all spiritual questions: “What is your only comfort in life and in death” (Lord’s Day 1)? I hope it is Jesus, the Risen One, because there is no other eternal hope or joy (Acts 4:12).
Pastor Calvin Hoogendoorn