But He whom God raised up did not see corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this Man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by Him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the Law of Moses. Acts 13:37-39
"My, he looks good for his age."
That is a comment which may frequently be said by those folks in Russia who make the pilgrimage to see the body of Vladimir Lenin. This year marks 91 years since Lenin died and his soul went to wherever the souls of atheistic, communist leaders go.
Even so, Lenin looks pretty good for his age.
He ought to look good. Over the years there have been as many as 200 experts dedicated to making sure Lenin's body remains well preserved. Dedicated to that purpose they have used plastic as a replacement for parts of his skin and flesh; given him false eyelashes; replaced his fat with various molded chemicals, and re-embalmed him every other year or so.
They want people to visit the leader's corpse and say: "My, doesn't he look good for his age?"
What a total disparity there is between the dead corpse of the communist leader and the glorified body of our risen Redeemer. The truth is all the king's horses and all the king's men can't put Lenin back together again. Not only can't the experts breathe new life into his dead body, they are hard pressed to give even his cadaver a sense of timelessness.
In contrast to Lenin's decaying corpse, we have the living Lord Jesus Christ. Beaten, whipped, spit upon, crowned with thorns, and crucified, Jesus was murdered on a Roman cross. His lifeless body was placed into a borrowed tomb where it should have decayed and decomposed. That is what dead bodies have always done. It's what they still do today.
But Jesus' body was different.
Having resisted temptation and carried our sins to the cross, the body of God's innocent and only Son never saw corruption in that grave. On the contrary, three days after Jesus was declared "dead," in glorious resurrection victory, He came out of that tomb and showed to the world that death had been defeated and there was salvation for all who believe on Him as their Redeemer.
Shortly after Resurrection Sunday, Jesus -- in His glorified body -- entered the locked room where His disciples were and showed Himself. He said, "See My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve, but believe" (see John 20:26-29).
Thomas' timeless response, "My Lord and my God!" is right and appropriate for all of us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, I give thanks You have defeated death. Grant that the Holy Spirit may comfort those who mourn. May they look past death and grave to a reunion in heaven, which is made possible by Your life, death and resurrection. In Your Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries