“For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53).
I bumped my knee rather hard recently. There was a bit of pain at the point of contact, and then the bruise formed. My bruise was amplified because of blood thinner in my system. The blood thinner keeps my blood from making clots around a mechanical valve in my heart. I am able to get a clearer view of that bruise when I put on my glasses. I have a perishable knee, perishable blood, and perishable eyes. We all deal with perishable tissues, organs, and all that is part of our physical makeup.
However, “This perishable body must put on the imperishable.” Have you ever thought about, speculated, and/or dreamed what this will be like? In our present condition, perishable is the norm. No, it is the law, for on the day that the Lord returns, “The heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2 Peter 3:10).
The stages of a butterfly can be useful when attempting to understand part of the Divine truth that “this perishable body must put on the imperishable.” First, the caterpillars that are intent on their work in this world--receiving nourishment; but they have bigger and better things to come. Following the consumer stage, they enter into a stage of rest in a cocoon, and after that rest, they will burst forth as a beautiful butterfly.
Our present existence is a fallen-in-sin stage in which we need nourishment. Our present body has been “sown perishable” in “dishonor,” that is “weak”; it is “natural” (1 Corinthians 15:42-43). Much of our effort is put into receiving the provided nourishment to support this body and life. However, mankind is more than just a collection of perishable, dishonored, weak, and natural matter. Mankind does “not live on bread alone, but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Scripture assures us that human existence is more than just this present temporary stage. There will be a time of Divine rest, in which we pass from a body of death to life. Jesus often referred to this stage as “sleep,” which is a peaceful concept. We understand this as heavenly peace, at Abraham’s side, in paradise; a blessed assurance of being in God’s care as we leave this world. The resurrection of the body is yet to come. This final phase is “…the resurrection of the body” as we confess in the creeds. “What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body there is also a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44).
The butterfly bursts forth as a beautiful creature yet remains perishable. This is not true for mankind. “But, in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). We have a natural body, and the spiritual body is yet to come in glory, power, and it will be imperishable. Let us nourish our present body to receive of God’s peaceful eternal care. As we are nourished with God’s Word, we will find that our cups overflow with the nourishment His instituted Sacraments offer.
The Lord be with you,